First Time at TechEX? 5 Tips to Maximize Your Experience in Minneapolis
By Amber Rasche - Senior Communications Specialist, Internet2
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Note: This blog has been updated and reposted as a reminder for the community leading up to our annual fall event, the Internet2 Technology Exchange.
Start the countdown. Just one week remains until the 2023 Internet2 Technology Exchange. We can’t wait to see you in Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 18-22!
With expert advice from Internet2 staff, we put together five tips to help first-time attendees make the most of their TechEX23 experience. Even seasoned TechEX attendees may discover some helpful reminders.
From a friendly reminder about getting ready to connect with eduroam to the slew of social activities you won’t want to miss – we’ve got you covered with what to do before, during, and after the event.
1. Plot your path through the program before you arrive.
With five tracks and 100+ technical talks, tutorials, workshops, and co-located events, TechEX offers so much great content to choose from. Set yourself a reminder for each talk you don’t want to miss – they won’t be recorded, so you can’t catch them after the event. Include at least one session that extends outside your core area; our cross-track sessions are a great fit! And once you arrive, use your planned schedule as a guide, not a rule book. Later this week, you can also download the TechEX23 mobile app from the event homepage and use it to plan your schedule on the go!
“Pace yourself – folks often get information overload by the third day (or earlier) if they go full tilt from the start. Choosing a must-see schedule in advance helps identify downtime when you can either room-surf, have hallway conversations, catch up on email, or head outside for a brief walk to refresh.”
— Susan Evett, Director, Community Events, Internet2
2. Embrace and announce your newcomer status.
Sport your conference badge with its “first-time attendee” ribbon during all conference activities. As you join for social events, Internet2 staff, program committee members, and working group chairs are on the lookout to loop you into conversations and introduce you to others in the community. Feel empowered to ask questions! Whether it’s a logistical question for our events staff at the registration desk or a topic-related question for a presenter, know that the community is approachable, passionate, and inclusive – they’ll welcome your questions and be happy to answer them.
“We have a lot of catching up to do, and [first-time attendees are] more than welcome to join in. In fact, make it a point to introduce yourself and find your ‘band’ of peers, and this time next year, they will be excited to see you and vice versa.”
— Kevin Morooney, Vice President of Trust and Identity and NET+, Internet2
3. Get social with us – online and in person!
Use #TechEX23 to follow along and participate in the conversation on social media leading up to, during, and after the event. It’s a great way to connect with speakers, facilitate missed interactions with other attendees, exchange highlights from sessions you attended or missed, and coordinate group dinners and social outings. Join us for in-person social activities, too, including the TechEX101 session at lunchtime on Monday (register here!), Welcome Reception on Monday evening, Newcomer Breakfast on Tuesday morning, and GlobalNOC 25th Anniversary Reception on Tuesday evening.
“If you are attending TechEX with a colleague from your organization, ask if you can shadow that colleague and use the opportunity to also build and strengthen your relationship with them.”
— George Loftus, Associate Vice President for Network Services, Internet2
4. Get ready to roam with eduroam and bring portable chargers for your devices.
eduroam is one of the Wi-Fi options available at TechEX. If your institution participates in eduroam, make sure your laptop, tablet, and/or phone are set up to connect to eduroam before you travel so you’ll have seamless, secure access to Wi-Fi during the event. Whether you’re taking notes on your laptop, making group dinner reservations on your tablet, or hailing an Uber from your phone, you’ll also want to keep your devices charged to get through each day – so keep portable chargers handy in your bag, briefcase, or purse.
5. Wear comfortable shoes and stay hydrated.
Each day of the event, you’ll be moving about with plenty of sessions to go to and people to see – so choose comfort over fashion for footwear. Staying hydrated is always important – so bring a reusable bottle and drink plenty of water. Finally, a pro tip from someone who once called Minnesota home: while the state is known for its cold winter weather, the average Minneapolis/St. Paul temperatures this time of year are 72ºF for a high and 53ºF for a low. So a light jacket might be all you need!
Want more information and insights about this year’s event? Visit the TechEX23 website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we’re together in Minneapolis, find our helpful staff at the event registration desk and be on the lookout for the red “staff” ribbons on all Internet2 staff badges. We aim to help and look forward to meeting or reconnecting with you!