FM19 Virtual Session

AGU expands virtual programming options for Fall Meeting 2020


By: Chris McEntee, Executive Director and CEO and Lauren Parr, Vice President of Meetings

Even though Fall Meeting 2019 was only a few months ago, AGU is already planning Fall Meeting 2020. We continue to look for ways to reduce the environmental footprint of the Fall Meeting while retaining the in-person networking opportunities that are important to attendees’ careers and overall experience.

During the 2019 meeting, we live streamed 20 Union sessions and 5 keynote lectures and recorded over 50 additional sessions through the AGU Go platform and posted some of these on our YouTube channel too. In addition, we hosted a panel on GeoHealth and natural disasters with some panelists in our net zero energy building in Washington, D.C. and other panelists in the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

AGU and the Fall Meeting Programming Committee (FMPC) are building on these successes by creating two new Fall Meeting 2020 Innovative Session types: virtual sessions, to expand inclusivity and model ways to reduce the meeting’s carbon footprint, and meeting-within-a-meeting, similar to the Centennial programming in 2019. Previously, these have been mostly created by AGU’s FMPC or Council. Now, we are asking for your input and ideas.

These Innovative Sessions are part of AGU’s ongoing efforts to continue providing new ways for speakers and presenters to communicate their science to the broadest possible audience. AGU’s FMPC will select proposals based on the benefit for both remote and in-person attendees, technological feasibility, and cost, as long as they have these components:

  • Feature speakers or presenters who are of high benefit to the AGU community, but unable to attend the Fall Meeting.
  • Demonstrate or showcase new opportunities for virtual engagement by remote and in-person participants that could be models for reducing the carbon footprint of future meetings.
  • Showcase or connect remote locations, labs, and/or field sites as part of the presentation and session.
  • Encompass diverse presenters and conveners.
  • Consist of oral, panel, poster, or eLightning presentations, or a combination of any of these.
  • Span a typical two-hour or half-day poster slot or half-day or full day meeting-within-a-meeting.

In addition to our focus on Fall Meeting, we will continue to adhere to practices that reduce the environmental impact of all our meetings. These practices include reducing paper by providing the programming schedule via mobile app and eliminating a printed program, reducing waste by using compostable cups, cutlery, and vegetable-based containers for all food, working with local groups to package and deliver unused food and supplies, and deploying the most sustainable choices for carpet and other building supplies on-site. We are also in the process of creating a subcommittee on carbon and meetings to assess and recommend how AGU can further reduce the carbon and environmental impact of our meetings. This subcommittee will be making recommendations to AGU’s Meeting Committee throughout 2020.

Finally, as AGU moves toward creating meetings of the future, we welcome your feedback. If you’d like to participate in some of the discussions or have questions about creating these new session formats, please contact Lauren Parr at [email protected].

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