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|AAZV Newcomers Conference Guide|
The annual AAZV conference is pleased to invite all new attendees! There are many great reasons to join us for this year’s event. The conference will bring together zoo and wildlife professionals to discuss and present the newest information.
The hotel hosting the event is the site for the scientific sessions and meetings. Please book your room in the hotel early to ensure your space. The discounted room rate will often run out. When ready to reserve your room, it is easiest to use the link on the AAZV website to the conference hotel. This will automatically add the "discount code” to your hotel booking. A list of "Roommate Wanted” ads can be found on the AAZV website (Annual Conference tab) if you would like to share your space and the cost.
Other nearby hotels may be available. These off-site locations may require additional transportation to get to the conference hotel. In most cases, the conference hotel will charge a daily parking fee if you park a vehicle.
RegistrationConference registration will open on April 1, 2016. Keep an eye on the website for that opening. It’s best to register early as the fee will increase shortly before the conference. Also, workshops are extremely popular and often have limited seating.
What to do when I arrive?Please check into the hotel and make yourself comfortable. When you arrive at the conference hotel, there will be a registration booth that will be operated by AAZV staff and volunteers. Please check hours of operation listed on the AAZV website or signs at the hotel. When you check in you will be given a packet containing a nametag, schedule, flash drive containing proceedings, and tickets for meals and events.
How do I know the schedule?In your packet will be a booklet that contains a printed schedule of all activities, list of conference sessions, committee meetings. Any major changes to the schedule will be announced verbally during the sessions and/or as a printed sign near the registration booth.
What do I wear?
Be sure to wear your name tag throughout the conference to tell us who you are. Also, as most of the conference events are closed, this will help us identify all registered attendees. TIP! Your nametag will come with a plastic badge holder which is a great place to store your event tickets and hotel room key so they are with you when you need them.
Are the conference proceedings available online?AAZV will provide you with a USB flash drive that contains all the conference proceedings; they are also available online for AAZV Members only. If you would like a printed copy in addition to the flash drive, please sign up for that in your conference registration. There is an extra fee to have the printed proceedings.
TIP! As the proceedings are not printed, you may want to have a small notebook and pen to take notes during the sessions. Often the hotel provides small paper pads and pens, if you forget. Each conference room varies in the availability of plug-ins for laptop computers.
What are all these ribbons?You may notice some conference attendees have ribbon(s) on their name tag. In fact you will be given one too!! These will vary in color and designate our new members, leadership (current and former board members), and speakers. Please wear your ribbon so we can make sure to offer extra care and welcome you to our organization. If you get lost or have a question, a person wearing a ribbon is a good bet for knowing the answer.
New Member BreakfastPlease let us know on your registration that this is your first conference. There will be a question to select in the registration form. AAZV will have a breakfast for all who register as first-time attendees. This is often the first morning of the scientific sessions, typically Monday. Please check the schedule for final arrangements. Don’t miss out! Free breakfast and chance to connect to members of our organization and membership committee!
Business LunchesLunch tickets are included for regular full registrants. Student registration does not include lunches. These lunches are catered and usually served at the table. A number of announcements pertaining to business of the AAZV are made, and you do not have to be a member of the AAZV to attend the lunches. Students may obtain lunch tickets in exchange for volunteering to help with other aspects of the conference (see below). Seating is not assigned and these lunches can be a good opportunity to meet new people.
A continental-style breakfast is typically provided prior to the first session each day of the main conference, though not before the workshops. Coffee, tea, and other drinks are usually provided during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks. These breaks are usually held in the exhibit hall and are designed to provide time to visit the exhibitors and view the posters. If you desire a more filling breakfast, please plan to eat before the sessions start.
BanquetThe banquet is held on the last night of the conference (typically Thursday evening). Though the dress is not specified, most people dress in a "business casual” style. Announcements are made, awards presented, and a preview of the next year’s conference is shared at the end of the reception.
Food preferences or special requestsThe conference continental breakfast and session break refreshments are often standard hotel-provided quick beverages and light rolls or muffins.
Meals can be requested to accommodate some food preferences (commonly vegetarian and kosher). Based on the capability of the catering group (hotel or zoo) reasonable efforts will be made. It is very important to KEEP your food preference card (only given to those that request a special preference) that is provided in your registration packet. Simply place this at your place setting to alert the table servers. This card should be reused throughout the conference.
The zoo trip sounds great - can I bring my family or a friend?Sure!! All attendees can purchase Spouse/Guest Registration(s). It includes the Icebreaker, spouse breakfast, breaks, Zoo day (zoo admission, lunch, and dinner), and Banquet. Spouse/Guest Registration does NOT include continental breakfasts, business lunches, or admission to general sessions. Guest lunch tickets may be purchased under the Additional Meals section of your registration. Spouses wishing to attend general sessions must register for either the Full Conference or Daily Conference options.
Is the Icebreaker for me?
Definitely don’t miss this one!This is a great kickoff social event held the evening before the main conference program (typically Sunday). It consists of appetizers and a cash bar. All conference attendees with student or full registration will receive tickets in their registration packet.
What about the Student Reception?Despite the name, this event is NOT limited to veterinary students. Facilities that offer externships, internships, and residencies send a representative to this meeting. The representatives are stationed around the room and are available to answer questions and talk about their program(s). Though this is not a formal interview process, if you are intending to apply to a zoo program this reception is a great opportunity to learn more about the individual programs. It is typically held on the third evening (usually Monday evening) and we highly recommend that students and veterinarians interested in postgraduate training programs attend. You MUST pre-register on your conference registration, last minute entry is unlikely. In your registration packet, you will receive a ticket for entry to reception.
Am I allowed to join a committee? What would I have to do?Absolutely! Come join us for the committees that you are interested in. If you are looking for a way to get involved this is a great start. There’s no pressure to do anything, though we will take all the help we can get. For your first visit to the conference, just come and check it out. Committee meetings are most often held in the evenings. Our committees are open to students and full members. Not sure which one to start with? Check out the Membership Services committee. We love getting feedback so we can improve.
Zoo DayThis is an event that is a highlight of the week! It is traditionally held on the afternoon of the fourth day (typically Tuesday). Participants are transported to the host zoo after the morning scientific sessions have ended. Lunch and dinner are often included for all registrants (including students) for no extra fee. Often behind the scenes tours are offered and the day culminates in a silent and live auction, the proceeds of which go to support the AAZV and affiliated organizations. It is recommended to wear comfortable clothes and shoes and prepare for variable weather.
WorkshopsWorkshops are held on first and second days of the conference (typically Saturday and Sunday) prior to the start of the general sessions on the third day. Labs range from master classes to hands-on or live animal labs. A consistently well presented and informative lab is the annual Pathology Workshop. This lab is generally affordable and directly useful for veterinary students.
Student VolunteersThere are limited opportunities for student volunteers for some workshops and help during the presentation sessions. An announcement to request student help is made 2-3 months before the conference. Volunteers are assigned on a first-come-first-serve basis. In return for assisting with workshops, students may participate in the lab free of charge. In return for assisting with the presentation sessions, students receive tickets to the business lunches.
How do I submit a presentation or poster?A "Call for Papers” is usually advertised late in the year after session chairs have been chosen. Presentation submission is online. Once all submissions are received, session chairs will choose speakers for their individual sessions. Speakers are then notified by the session chair. The deadline for submission is usually in March or early April. Abstracts often go through 1-2 editing cycles before being fully accepted for the proceedings. Most presentations are between 10-15 minutes long, though this time may be shortened to 8 minutes in very popular sessions.
This event is so much fun! When can I do it again?
Plan your year for getting the newest knowledge on zoo and wildlife medicine to ensure you stay ahead of the curve in your specialty field by attending a future AAZV conference.
Do you want to see where annual conference has been held?
Since 1968 annual conference has been held around the nation. Does your zoo want to host a future conference?
This month, we are highlighting Jennifer Hausmann, a resident veterinarian at Milwaukee County Zoo. See the story about her residency program.