ENGAGING THE FUTURE ASTC 2023 Annual Conference

ASTC 2023 Annual Conference

October 7–10, 2023
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions

What are the official dates of the 2023 ASTC Annual Conference?
The official conference dates are Saturday, October 7 through Tuesday, October 10, 2023. Preconference experiences will generally take place on Friday, October 6, 2023. See more information on the schedule overview.

Where will ASTC 2023 be held?
The conference will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. All plenary, concurrent, lightning, and poster sessions—as well as registration and the exhibit hall—will take place at the main venue, the Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St., Charlotte, North Carolina, unless otherwise noted. Selected events will be held at our local host—Discovery Place—conference hotels, and at other locations around the city.

Will this be a hybrid conference?
The ASTC 2023 Annual Conference will be an in-person event that will prioritize sessions and experiences that benefit from our ability to be together safely in the same physical space.

When does the conference begin?
The main conference will begin on the morning of Saturday, October 7, 2023, with optional preconference experiences to be held on Friday, October 6, 2023. See more information on the schedule overview.

When does the conference end?
The conference officially concludes at 1:00 pm on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 10 following Museum Experience Day. See more information on the schedule overview.

What is the conference theme?
The theme for the ASTC 2023 Annual Conference is Engaging the Future.

What’s special about this year’s conference?
In addition to all of the valuable sessions, experiences, and networking you’ve come to expect at the ASTC Annual Conference, this year’s conference will be extra special since we will be celebrating ASTC’s 50th Anniversary, meaning that there will be even more opportunities to come together as a community to reflect on where we’ve been and look forward to our future. The anniversary events will be spread throughout the conference, including a special event on Saturday, October 7.

What forms of payment will be accepted on site?
All on-site transactions with ASTC (including registration payments and ASTC 2024 exhibit booth purchases) will be cashless and must be paid via credit card, check, or ACH. This requirement applies to transactions with ASTC and doesn’t necessarily apply to all vendors at the conference (including those at the Charlotte Convention Center).

How do I become a volunteer?
The host institution is responsible for selecting and assigning volunteers through its own network.

What is the dress code?
Attire is business casual. Feel free to be comfortable in slacks, polo shirts, sweaters, blazers, blouses, and, most importantly, comfortable shoes. We do recommend you dress in layers as temperatures in meeting rooms can vary. We also encourage you to pack gear from your institution so you can show your science center spirit.

What health and safety precautions does ASTC encourage for participants?
As always, ASTC prioritizes the health and safety of our community. We encourage all conference participants to practice good health and hygiene practices everywhere they go, including staying home when sick, keeping up-to-date with vaccinations of all kinds, monitoring the local public health situation, testing for COVID-19 as warranted, and frequently washing your hands. We also encourage anyone to wear a well-fitting mask, especially if you are part of a sensitive group.

Will there be a vaccine requirement this year?
Although we encourage all participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and other communicable diseases, we will not be asking for vaccine verification to participate this year’s conference.

Will I be able to obtain Continuing Education Credit?
No, ASTC does not offer CE credits.

Will my photo be taken during the conference?
ASTC may take photographs and videos during its meetings and events for use in livestream and session recording, advertising, newsletters, and other promotional materials, whether in print, electronic, or other media, including the ASTC and conference websites. By participating in this conference, you grant ASTC the right to use your likeness for such purposes.

Are there accommodations for people with disabilities and those requiring special assistance?
We ask about needed accommodations as part of the registration process. If you require special assistance, auxiliary aids, or other reasonable accommodations to fully participate in this event, please indicate during registration or email conference@astc.org. Information regarding disabilities and special assistance will remain confidential.

Will childcare be provided during the conference?
ASTC does not provide childcare services during the conference. Attendees requiring assistance with childcare should contact their hotel concierge.

Does the convention center have a nursing room?
Yes, a nursing room will be available on the Meeting Room Level near the Richardson Ballroom of the convention center.

I am bringing my family with me to Charlotte. Will there be activities for them to enjoy during the conference?
ASTC does not have specific activities designed for guests or family members, although we will be providing a curated list of things you may want to see and do, curated by our hosts at Discovery Place. In addition, we invite you to contact your hotel concierge to help plan activities and day trips during your stay or consult information from Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority to get some additional ideas.

Can my group host a meeting or event at the annual conference?
Potentially. ASTC traditionally allows selected groups to host meetings or other events during the Annual Conference, including at the convention center and at conference hotels. Please note that all costs for these events will be the responsibility of the organizer. Stay tuned for additional information or contact us at conference@astc.org with any immediate questions.

I am interested in sponsorship opportunities.  Whom should I contact?
ASTC has published a prospectus with information about sponsorship opportunities. Contact exhibits@astc.org with any questions or to inquiry about custom options.

I am interested in exhibiting at the conference.  Whom should I contact?
Booth sales are open! Don’t delay in securing your spot in the exhibit hall as booths continue to fill up. Contact us at exhibits@astc.org with any questions.

I am interested in advertising opportunities.  Whom should I contact?
Please contact exhibits@astc.org to discuss opportunities for advertising in the conference app, printed materials, emails, or on-site signage.

Will the attendee list be shared with others?
As part of registration, you can determine which information will be shared with other conference attendees. ASTC does not work with any third-party list broker. Please do not engage with and/or acquire/purchase any list from any company claiming to have access to the ASTC conference database, attendees, or contact information; even responding to these inquiries may put your and others’ information at risk.

Registration Questions

What are the registration fees?
Complete information about registration is available on the registration page.

What is included in my registration fee?
Full conference registration for the 2023 ASTC Annual Conference includes:

  • Access to all Keynote and Plenary sessions
  • Access to all Concurrent, Lightning, and Poster sessions
  • Access to the Exhibit Hall during open hours
  • Access to networking and community experiences
  • Included meals, snacks, and receptions throughout the conference

Is there a special rate for students?
Yes! Full-time students are welcome to register for the full conference at a discounted rate of $360. A valid student ID and/or proof of enrollment is required, which you will be asked to provide during registration.

Does ASTC offer any scholarships/assistance for conference?
ASTC is pleased to be able to provide financial support to assist those who would be unable to participate in the conference otherwise. Additional information will be provided soon about applying for financial support, including the Todd Happer Memorial Scholarship and the Lee Kimche McGrath Worldwide Fellowship.

What if I can only attend one day of the conference?
There is a single-day registration option for those who are unable to participate in the full conference. Single-day registrations permit access to conference sessions, meals, and events for the selected day only. If you would like to attend more than one day, please purchase a full conference registration; multiple single-day registrations are not available.

Is there a discount for group registration?
ASTC is once again offering the opportunity for individuals associated with ASTC-member organizations to receive a discount on registration if at least five individuals sign up.

Once five or more individuals (including full-time and part-time staff members, interns, volunteers, board, and trustee members) from a Member Organization register at the Early Bird, Advance, or Regular rates for the full conference, additional registrants associated with that organization will receive an automatic five percent discount on the applicable registration fee.

Please note that all registrations do not have to be done at the same time in order to receive this automatic discount.

Who is eligible for the member rate?
The ASTC-member registration rate is available to individuals currently affiliated with an ASTC-member organization in good standing, as indicated in your myASTC profile. This includes full-time and part-time staff at the organization, committed volunteers (including board members), and close partners.

If your organization is not currently a member, we invite you to join as a Science Center and Museum Member or an Allied Member. See complete information about ASTC membership.

Do presenters need to register?
ASTC greatly appreciates the time and commitment of all presenters. In order to ensure that all contributors are fully integrated into the conference and the larger ASTC community, we expect session leaders, presenters, poster leaders, facilitators, and others to register for the conference at the normal rate and to participate in as much of the conference as possible. In addition, presenters are responsible for any fees associated with the session/workshop in which they present.

Do exhibitors need to register?
All exhibit staff must submit an individual registration for the conference, whether as part of the complimentary registration that comes with the booth or as an additional registration. Each 10′ x 10′ exhibit booth includes two complimentary, full-conference registrations, and additional registrations can be purchased separately.

I am a member of the press.  Do you offer a special press registration rate?
ASTC welcomes the professional editorial staff of print, online, and broadcast media—as well as freelance reporters with a track record of relevant publications. Complimentary registrations are extended to the “working media” with the same benefits as other full conference registrations.  Other publication staff (non-editorial positions, such as advertising directors and advertising representatives) may attend by registering at the applicable conference rate.  For more information, please contact communications@astc.org.

What if I need to cancel my registration?
All cancellations must be made in writing to conference@astc.org. Cancellations received on or before August 7, 2023, are entitled to a full refund of registration and event fees. Cancellations received August 8–September 11 will be subject to a $200 cancellation processing fee. No refunds will be granted for cancellations (to include Preconference Intensives) after September 11. Cancelled registrations cannot be credited to a future conference.

Travel Questions

Where should I stay while attending the conference?
ASTC has contracts with several hotels within close proximity to the Charlotte Convention Center, where most activities will be held, offering special discounted rates to conference attendees. Please see the hotel information page for details about conference hotels and to book your stay.

We strongly encourage you to book as part of the conference room block. Not only will you be close to conference activities and other participants, you will help ensure that ASTC meets its contracted commitments, which holds down the overall conference costs.

Does ASTC have an official housing company or travel agent?
No, we contract directly with the official conference hotels, and no other housing company or travel agent is authorized to place hotel reservations for the ASTC Annual Conference. Please reserve your hotel using the links and/or phone numbers listed on the hotel information page.

I am an international attendee. How do I obtain a visa?
We encourage you to apply for a visa as soon as possible, as you can expect the process to take several months. Most visitors, except those who are citizens or nationals of countries designated under the Visa Waiver Program, will need to complete an interview and security checks in your home country. To apply for a nonimmigrant visa, you will generally need a passport valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay, a completed application, a photo, and applicable fee payment. To facilitate this process, ASTC can provide a letter of invitation once you register for the conference (see below). See U.S. Visa information on the Department of State website for the most current information.

How do I obtain a formal invitation letter to submit with my visa application?
You may require an invitation letter to obtain a visa to attend the 2023 ASTC Annual Conference, which can be requested as part of completing your conference registration.

My visa application was denied.  What should I do?
If the visa application is rejected and you can provide us documentation confirming the rejection, we will refund the amount entirely. Please contact the ASTC Conference Team by email at conference@astc.org.

Exhibitor and Sponsor Questions

How can I become an exhibitor for the conference?
ASTC 2023 will feature a vibrant exhibit hall where exhibitors will be able to show off their latest offerings, raise their visibility, and interact with participants formally and informally. Learn more about exhibiting at ASTC 2023 and reserve your booth now.

Are there opportunities to sponsor the conference?
Yes! ASTC provides a number of sponsorship opportunities to support the conference and raise the profile of your organization in our community of science and technology centers and museums and other organizations committed to engaging the public in science. Learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

Do I have to register for the conference if I am an exhibitor or sponsor?
Yes, all exhibit staff and sponsors must submit an individual registration for the conference, whether as part of the complimentary registration that comes with the booth or sponsorship or as an additional registration. Each 10′ x 10′ exhibit booth includes two complimentary, full-conference registrations, and additional registrations can be purchased separately. Registration details will be sent after your booth or sponsorship sale.

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