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American Association for Public Opinion Research

AAPOR 70th Annual Conference Wrap-Up

by Dawn Nelson, 2015 Conference Committee Chair
Before jumping into the conference recap, I want to express my sincere thanks to the AAPOR community for the opportunity to serve as your conference chair this past year. It was a very busy year, but one I will cherish for years to come.

The 2015 Conference was a very special one. It was the 70th anniversary of our keystone event and we celebrated with a conference theme of “A Meeting Place,” to remind us of the many decades the AAPOR conference has served as a place for public opinion researchers to come together to learn, share and grow. Check out the terrific photos taken by Lori and Steve Everett throughout our conference. Here are some of the highlights of the conference, from my perspective:

I am so pleased and proud that the 2015 conference broke attendance records! We had the largest number of registered conference attendees (1,143) in a non-AAPOR/WAPOR joint conference. We also had the most pre-registrations for any prior conference.
 
 
Reception
The New Member and Chapter Reception 
drew a huge crowd.
Reception spillover
The reception spilled outside where intercoastal views and beautiful weather allowed attendees to make the most of 
the 2015 venue.

 

We tried a few new things this year to shake up our traditional Meeting Place a wee bit. We experimented with the Thursday night event by completely removing the plenary and replacing the usual plated dinner with a buffet style dinner. The idea here was to allow for more time and space for mingling and conversation. This change received both positive and negative comments, so I am looking forward to the official post-conference survey results for a more systematic review. What did you think?
 
Buffet
 


Another innovation at this conference was the embedded mini-conference on “Reassessing Today’s Methods.” It included eleven sessions that were a huge success — often with standing room only. I am very excited to see the summary of the results of the AAPOR task force on this critical topic.

Our Saturday night post-awards banquet Casino Night was well attended by experienced and newbie gamblers alike. Everyone looked as though they had a great time. Our Casino Night mini-fundraiser was also a success! Roughly 40 Texas Hold’em players, including special guest Nate Silver, battled it out trying to unseat our Texas Hold’em Pro Poker player Lee Childs. Our net proceeds of $1,130 will be put toward 2016 student conference travel awards. While Lee ultimately was undefeated, many of us gave him a run for his money!
 
Poker
 

For the Conference Chair, the weeks after the conference are bittersweet — the tremendous amount of work ends (I can get back to my “day job” now!) but so does the thrill of creating an impactful event and working so closely with a great group of AAPOR volunteers and staff. I can’t wait until next year’s conference when I can relax and take it all in (though with a different perspective from having been behind the curtain!).
 
 
Nelson and Dutwin


What did you think of the conference? I would love to hear about some of your favorite (and less favorite) experiences, as would David Dutwin, the 2016 Conference Chair, as he plans for the 2016 Austin conference. You can be sure that we will review your survey responses carefully.