Our 2018 theme is "Mountains of Influence" noting that Planners play a pivotal role as agents of change in their communities. We serve our communities as: advocates, policy setters, designers, environmentalists, preservationists, engineers, data analysts and code enforcers. Planners, more so than any other profession, have a “mountain of influence” over the planning for and realization of a community’s potential. Planners are shaping the future of the Commonwealth every day. Learn more about this year's conference.

Quick Takes (formerly 20x20)

Also known as a 20x20, these sessions are designed to be “fast, funny, and passionate,” highlighting a particular topic, idea, theme, project, or program in a fast-paced and brief format. Slides will be automatically advanced at 20 second intervals. Quick Takes will be grouped 4-5 presentations per block with time at the end for a brief Q&A. Students are encouraged to submit a Quick Take proposal.

Traditional (Lecture) Format

This format includes a PowerPoint presentation and brief Q&A. Workshop and other hands-on type activities may also be included, but proposals should demonstrate they can work within the allotted 60-minute timeframe. Speaker teams/panels should not exceed three (3) persons.

Deep Dives

This format is intended for more intensive topics, themes, projects, or programs including workshops and other-hands-on type activities. Deep Dive presentations should emphasize a high level of expertise or detail in a topic or topics and include at least three (3) speakers/facilitators.  Sessions should fill a 2.5 hour block of time.

The Next Big Idea (Students & Recent Graduates)

A new element to the Conference Program, this format presents an opportunity to students, recent graduates, and New Professional (NP) members to showcase their innovative ideas, themes, projects, or programs, either through a poster or presenting through our Quick Take format. Posters must be 24 inches by 36 inches and mounted on foam-core, and include the student’s full name, university, email, and phone number. Posters will be displayed throughout the Conference in the exhibit area, with designated time(s) Monday and Tuesday students may be present to answer questions and speak to their work. Students and graduates who commit to submitting a poster and attending the Conference to represent their poster in person; or are selected to present will be given a free registration and lodging Monday evening at the Wintergreen Resort. Students may also submit a poster for display without attending the Conference.


Instructions for submitting a session proposal:

  1. Provide no more than a 1-page abstract, including a title, session format requested (Quick Take, Lecture, Deep Dive or Next Big Idea), a detailed description of content, and value of the session to practicing planning professionals. Priority may be given to sessions that exemplify the 2018 Conference theme – “Mountains of Influence.”

  2. A one (1) page of speaker(s) contact information (name, credentials, employer, email address, & phone number), a photo headshot and brief biography (3-5 sentences) on each speaker.

  3. Please indicate at the end of the abstract if you intend the session to fulfill requirements for Certification Maintenance (CM) credits.  The Chapter Professional Development Office (PDO) will review and approve request for CM prior to the Conference.

All proposals should be submitted electronically to the VP of Chapter Affairs no later than Friday January 26, 2018.

Questions or comments should be directed to the VP of Chapter Affairs, Tyler Klein.

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