AAA Blog: How the AAA Conference Came to Be, and How It Continues to Improve

The Importance of Your Feedback

During the fall semester of 2017, an idea was floating around the Health and Kinesiology Climate and Diversity Committee- to create an event specifically designed to educate the community about inclusion of individuals with disabilities. This was recognized as a need in the Texas A&M and Bryan College Station community, but no one could immediately predict the level of interest that the event would generate, how many attendees to expect, or who would be willing to fund this idea. To find the answers to these fundamental questions, some initial research had to be conducted.  After conducting some exploratory research through personal interviews and observations in the Texas A&M and Bryan/College Station community, it was decided that the project should move forward. The AAA team hypothesized that we would be marketing the conference to a widely varied audience, from Texas A&M students, to community professionals, to individuals with disabilities, or those who are a combination of all three. For this reason, marketing had to be exciting, engaging and professional, yet accessible, in order to reach all three populations effectively. The Able, Active, and Adaptive website was created to be completely accessible by using certain fonts and colors, specifying header levels, and by adding alternative text to photos so that all content could be recited by a text reader. By measuring impressions on social media and keeping track of website visits, the team was able to grasp an idea of the level of interest inside and outside of the immediate community, which helped the logistics group with their facility estimates. The team also used an online ticketing platform for the purpose of registration, which also provided very important data. With this data, the team was able to get sponsors and funding to support the conference. With the attendance estimates available, the AAA team determined how to effectively and efficiently allocate the funds, and provide plenty of food, gift cards, t-shirts, and giveaways to the attendees and presenters. Marketing of the conference was determined to be very effective, not only based on the analytical data provided by social media and the website, but also because of who attended. All in all, data and researched helped the AAA team create a conference that was accessible to all, and that hopefully everyone enjoyed. The attendance level and feedback from the inaugural Able, Active, and Adaptive Climate and Diversity Conference set the bar high for the years to come.

This is where you, as a past attendee or presenter, can help us make the second conference even better. More post-event research is being conducted to discover what attendees and presenters did, or did not, like about the inaugural conference. If you attended the event last year, or are looking forward to attending the second conference this coming spring (even if you did not attend the first one) let us know what you want to see! By conducting surveys, we can determine the satisfaction level of the conference and keep improving the conference based on the community’s needs and desires. The team is still making improvements in preparation for the 2019 conference. Please complete the survey to help us create an even greater conference. The link is posted below.

The AAA team looks forward to seeing you at the next conference!

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