Posted December 13, 2012 by John Ginsburg 

Discover St. Louis Through Tours

Exactly 20 years ago, I was an intern in the ACUI Central Office. One of my first assignments was to conduct a poll among Association members about factors that impacted their interest and ability to attend the annual conference. I still remember that the issue of cost rose to the top of importance for factors determining conference attendance. Yet, when members were also asked to rank in which cities they would like to attend the ACUI annual conference, guess which cities ranked highest? You guessed it: the most expensive ones.

I am reminded of that now as I get excited for the arrival of the 2013 annual conference in St. Louis (where the cost of living is low)! Having lived in St. Louis for more than 16 years, I am well aware that my hometown is not the most popular travel destination in the country. But I believe that’s because we keep secrets so well!

St. Louis is a vibrant and dynamic city, with a rich educational and cultural history, diverse neighborhoods and cuisines, and friendly people. Some of the best ways to experience what your 2013 annual conference host city has to offer are by taking one (or several) of the school or city tours, as well as attending your regional dinner.

Whether affiliated with a peer network, a community of practice, a blended opportunity with a cultural institution, or as a stand alone, you can tour every ACUI member institution in the St. Louis area during the conference. Nothing gets you thinking about how your colleagues approach facilities, activities, and services like seeing it for yourself in person. Small schools, big schools, private, public, renovations, or new construction—we’ve got ‘em.

You also will have the opportunity to explore important and exciting cultural institutions with the city tours—again either as a stand-alone or blended tour with one of the educational institutions. There is the world-class Missouri Botanical Gardens, Busch Stadium, home of the Cardinals, and the gem of Forest Park, featuring the St. Louis Zoo, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis Science Center, and St. Louis Art Museum. There are two different tours of the Anheuser-Busch brewery and two opportunities to visit the Gateway Arch. But I believe the most interesting well-kept secrets will be revealed during the architectural walking tour just outside the conference hotel.

I also encourage you to register for your regional dinner. This annual event enables you to bond with your regional peers and also get outside the hotel to have some great local food. For newcomers especially, regional dinners can help to bring the number of new faces to a manageable size and help you remember the names of those you met in the regional meetings. And besides, whether you walk, shuttle, take public transit, or catch a cab, this might be the last time you get together with these regions as we know them!

The ACUI conference does not happen in a vacuum. Make sure to explore many of the exciting things St. Louis has to offer. Be sure to sign up for tours, special programs, and regional dinners when you register for the conference.

The early bird deadline for registration is Dec. 19—only a few days away. So make sure to register soon to for all the 2013 annual conference has to offer! For more information regarding registration, make sure to visit www.acui/org/stlouis.

John Ginsburg

John Ginsburg is the Director, Student Leadership and Engagement at Clackamas Community College.

John Ginsburg is the host director of the ACUI 2013 annual conference. He also has taught courses on St. Louis politics, a first-year seminar about Urban Issues, and a study-abroad class in Namibia. A long time ago, he co-authored a Bulletin article titled “We Are More Than Our Jobs,” so he is an avid baseball fan, recycles everything, and hopes to visit every National Park in the United States.

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