By Mitchell Friedman, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Career Services
Why attend professional conferences? It’s a legitimate and important question to ask, given that those who work in the sustainability field are blessed by a veritable cornucopia of events dedicated to addressing critical issues from a range of perspectives. More importantly, the costs associated with attending, including travel, lodging, and conference registration, not to mention the investment of time, make the decision to attend any one or more events a significant one.
While criteria for attending specific events will vary, I see 13 solid reasons why you should commit to attending one or more conferences related to sustainability as part of the career and professional development program you’ve undertaken in conjunction with your academic experience at the Presidio Graduate School. Here’s a summary of those reasons:
1. To learn about key issues in the industry as a whole (and your area of interest in particular) as articulated by practitioners.
2. To meet people and organizations addressing these same key issues.
3. To meet people with whom you’ve established a relationship on social media.
4. To initiate relationships with others that you can continue by social media and/or meetings in person.
5. To learn about job, internship, project and other work-based possibilities.
6. To learn about fellowship and grant opportunities relevant to your area(s) of interest.
7. To gain insight into the experiences of others who face challenges similar to yours.
8. To learn about publications and other resources relevant to your area(s) of interest.
9. To generate ideas for articles, books, and/or other media that you might produce to address key issues in your field and in the process establish you as a valuable resource for others.
10. To forge partnerships with colleagues who address key common issues/concerns.
11. To identify opportunities for service within the profession as a whole, and possibly through the professional association (if any) that is sponsoring the conference.
12. To demonstrate your commitment to the profession and organization sponsoring the conference.
13. To become familiar with the city and/or culture where the conference is held.
Many Presidians attend the annual Net Impact Conference, held from October 25-27, 2012 in Baltimore, MD, for these and other reasons. To learn more about the benefits reaped by attendees at past Net Impact conferences, join us at a special workshop held during the lunch period at residency on Saturday, September 22, 2012. For more information about that workshop, contact me.