Virtual Conferencing

NASSR Statement on Virtual Conferencing

As NASSR members are aware, the NASSR Board passed a motion in 2022 that all future NASSR conferences would have some virtual component. This commitment was made in light of several concerns with in-person only events, including the carbon emissions resulting from air travel, uneven accessibility, and total cost of attendance (as virtual attendance enables savings on travel and accommodations), amongst other matters. To repeat what we said in our earlier announcement of this position, “We do not envision any particular solution to the complexities of bringing a virtual element into NASSR conferences; the approach in each case will depend on the decisions of conference organizers in response to the specific opportunities and constraints that they face.”

All conference organizers are free to decide on what form the virtual aspect of their conferences will take according to the host universities’ needs, technical capabilities, and financial situations. Conference attendees are reminded that virtual conferencing cannot be the equivalent of in-person conferencing; some of the benefits of the in-person meeting will always be lost and the limitations will be many. Technological support for virtual participation is also expensive, further limiting what organisers can accomplish on this front. However, the benefits are also clear and NASSR is committed to supporting members for whom in-person attendance is impossible or highly problematic. We ask that NASSR members keep these challenges in mind if they opt for virtual participation and remember that conference organization for our society is voluntary, unpaid work by people who most often do not have expertise in virtual-event hosting.