Countdown to #ITGAVirtual2020 City & University Relations Conference
Friends of ITGA, near and far, old and new-

On Monday (June 1), the most important conference in ITGA history kicks off at noon (EDT). Our event theme - developed last year, well before we routinely started using the word pandemic - is 'Partners in Action." Related, a sharpened focus, requisite courage, and unspoken work ethic - all bedrock assets for partners in action - have never been more important, and we are more than thankful for your collegial support.

Some conference basics:
  • Everyone's busy, and some of you haven't had time to register, or perhaps thought you did, but can't remember. Thankfully, you and your colleagues can still register through Monday, 11:00am (EDT), an hour before kickoff. We need your engagement and partnering at a time when proactive strategies and collaborations are essential. Thanks for registering if you haven't, and for spreading the word about this landmark, important gathering.

  • ITGA's 2020 conference will feature 80 practitioners leading 35 sessions. The impacts and related challenges of COVID-19 will be a primary focus over three days, with case studies on navigating the pandemic, strategies for managing crisis communications, and best practices for community engagement. Check out the conference schedule here.

  • The conference will include an opening keynote session that explores the considerations and inter-related dynamics of bringing students back to campus safely. Our panelists, Vennie Gore, Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises at Michigan State University, and Connie Carson, Vice President for Student Life at Furman University, will share their insights, opportunities and challenges regarding planning for the fall semester. This session is moderated by Janet Lillie, Assistant Vice President for Community Relations at Michigan State University.

  • As previously noted, another keynoter will be the renowned University of Washington Professor Dr. Jason Kilmer, who will speak on, "But we're still dealing with alcohol! The Importance of Town-Gown Partnerships in Best Practices in Preventing High-Risk Alcohol Use and Responding to Cannabis in a Changing Legal Climate." We very much look forward to this session, as substance abuse remains a growing concern on many campuses and in their home communities, and has escalated in many instances over the last few weeks.
Finally, on a personal note, my colleague Susan and I can't thank the members enough for their advice, leadership, patience, and overall engagement this spring. There have been times when ITGA's staff and board have grappled with direction and strategies tied to the crisis at hand. We have been bolstered and encouraged by talent, caring colleagues who know and embrace the importance of our growing, essential organization, now more than ever! We hope you are safe and well and look forward to seeing you at our inaugural ITGA virtual conference next week.

Beth Bagwell, MPA
ITGA Executive Director
International Town & Gown Association