NACA National Convention

Be More in Baltimore

In a few weeks, several thousand college programmers, advisors, talent agents, bands, comedians, promotional product representatives, speakers, novelty entertainment companies and more will descend on the city of Baltimore for the annual NACA National Convention. Are you ready? If not, you may want to take some time to get ready. What does getting ready really mean? Before you hop in the car or jump on a plane, take some time to prepare yourself and meet with your team to really get ready for NACA. Even though I am far from a newcomer, having attended well over 200 NACA events, I take time before each one to really think about and plan my goals and objectives. I thought I would encourage all of you to do the same. So, whether you have been to an NACA event before or not, you may want to take a few minutes to read this and more than a few minutes to prepare. I mean REALLY prepare to Be More in Baltimore.


  1. Prepare yourself:
  1. Make sure that leading up to the convention that you have a good handle on what is going on at school or in your office. Identify potential problems and deal with them before hand;
  2. Set up YOUR schedule so you will know where you need to be and when you need to be there. Make sure to add in or block out time to do work or prepare for your classes;
  3. Identify Educational Session topics that interest you;
  4. Familiarize yourself with the Convention site and the city;
  5. If you have dietary issues look for places that will work for you and maybe suggest to your group that you make reservations ahead of time;
  6. Bring business cards and if you don’t have them get them printed. These can be generic with an office phone number and a general Program Board e-mail address. Many college print shops can do them cheaply but you can also print your own;
  7. Get some extra rest, if at all possible, before you leave for NACA. It is four days of a very demanding schedule;
  8. Pack comfy clothes and shoes. Yes, style is important but being comfortable is more important;
  9. Get excited! This convention is going to be fun and a great learning experience.


  1. Prepare the Team:
  1. Have a group discussion as to why you are going. Is it to book talent? Is to attend Educational sessions? Are you there to see the talent onstage? Is this really just a reward for doing a great job? Regardless of your reasons for attending the whole group should know what those reasons are;
  2. Identify what needs you have and devise a strategy on how the National Convention can help;
  3. Bring information about your campus, your calendar, your facilities and of course your budget;
  4. Discuss your needs before you go. Are you looking for specific things or just looking. Review the acts that are listed to showcase and watch their videos BEFORE you get to Baltimore. Then if you like what you see live, book them;
  5. Have a game plan to get the most out of NACA. Look at all the areas of the convention Showcases, Educational Sessions, CAMP and general networking and create a strategy to get the most out of it;
  6. Divide and conquer. There is so much to do and so much to see it doesn’t make sense to stay together in a group. I understand there is strength in numbers and that NACA Conferences and the Convention can be intimidating, but if you stay in your comfort zone and only with your delegation you will miss a lot. Perhaps for your first and second trips to the CAMP you can do it as a group, but after that try a little separation. Make sure that you go to different Educational Sessions and visit different booths in CAMP. Be sure to connect and network with people from other schools, they can become a great source of information and support. Who knows you might even make a friend.


  1. While you are there:
  1. Try and get a good amount of rest;
  2. Remember you represent yourself, your organization and your school – act accordingly;
  3. Try something new. Perhaps a new food or a new way of interacting with people. In short get away from the center of your comfort zone;
  4. Get out of the hotel – take a walk and see some of the city;
  5. Learn something new;
  6. Have FUN.


I have been to a lot of these conferences and I still love them. Be ready to BE MORE in Baltimore!