Know Before You Go: How to Prep for NISOD’s International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence
Below is a collection of useful information, answers to FAQs, and some general advice about your stay in Austin. We look forward to seeing you over Memorial Day Weekend!
What to Pack
Austin weather in late May can be very warm. Average temperatures are in the 90s during the day and in the 70s at night. That said, the weather in Texas can change at the drop of a hat, so anything is possible. Be sure to check the forecast before you leave home so you can pack accordingly. Austin is a very casual city, and most people wear jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes (or the equivalent) out and about and to dinner.
Attire for the conference is business casual. We recommend comfortable shoes, as you will be doing a significant amount of walking throughout the day. Also, bring a sweater! Hotel meeting rooms can be very chilly, but you may find that a welcome relief since it is typically very warm outside.
On Sunday, May 26, we ask that all conference participants wear a t-shirt that represents their college, so make sure a t-shirt from your college gets into your suitcase or travel bag!
How to Get From the Airport to Your Hotel
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is located less than 8 miles from downtown Austin. The Capitol Metro Bus Route 100 picks up and drops off at the airport and stops downtown near the conference site. The Capitol Metro Bus Route 100 departs on the hour and half hour from the airport’s lower level, right outside baggage claim. Look for the “Capital Metro” signs, visit capmetro.org, or try the CapMetro App for real-time schedules, maps, and to purchase fare tickets.
Alternatively, Uber and Lyft operate in Austin and the airport is just about the only place in town you will find taxis available (something to keep in mind if you’re planning to hop around Austin). Rental car companies are also located onsite at the airport. There are other helpful suggestions for getting around Austin on this page beneath the “Transportation” tab.
Parking at Hilton Austin
All conference activities take place at the Hilton Austin, 500 East 4th Street. Valet and self-parking are available at the hotel, as is offsite parking at nearby garages. Street-parking meters and city garage parking are free on Monday. You can download a map of the hotels and surrounding area here.
What to Do in Austin
Austin is a vibrant city known for its abundance of live music, laid-back atmosphere, outdoor activities, and general “weirdness” (the city’s slogan is “Keep Austin Weird!”). We’ve compiled a list of popular activities for visitors, and you can also check out our Instagram account where we are highlighting suggested attractions and activities throughout May.
There are several options for accessing the 2019 Conference Program and Guide to the Exhibit Hall. You can pick up a physical copy when checking in at Registration at Hilton Austin or you can download and print out a PDF. For those who wish to go the paperless route, you can either keep the PDF open on your mobile device or tablet, or you can download the Guidebook app for a digital version of the program. Guidebook also allows conference participants to bookmark sessions of interest, evaluate sessions in real time, and receive important push notifications about events or updates during the conference.
But First, Coffee.
Coffee is provided for conference participants on Monday morning in the Exhibit Hall and on Tuesday morning at Registration. There is a Starbucks located in the lobby of the Hilton Austin (which does get busy, so be forewarned). There is also a list of suggested nearby coffee shops at the bottom of this page.
It is important to note that there are only two meals provided by NISOD during the conference. One of those is Monday’s General Session Lunch and the other is Tuesday’s Closing General Session Lunch. If you purchased tickets to the NISOD Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration, dinner will be provided during the event on Sunday night. If you do not have a ticket to the Excellence Award Dinner and Celebration, but would like to purchase one, they are available here while available. Breakfast and all other lunches and dinners are meals participants will need to find on their own, but the good news is that downtown Austin is teeming with great restaurants and eateries!
The Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration
We have made some exciting changes to the Excellence Awards Dinner and celebration this year! Read about them here. The dress code for the event remains the same, however, which is dressing anywhere from business casual to cocktail attire—whatever makes you most comfortable!
We’ve also arranged for two excursions for conference attendees to participate in on Saturday, May 25. Visit the LBJ Presidential Library or head down to San Antonio for the afternoon (or do both!) to experience historically significant attractions and get acquainted with your colleagues.
There are also Preconference Seminars scheduled on Saturday, May 25. Browse the list of scheduled Seminars and purchase tickets for them here.
Finally, what fun would a conference be without some social networking? On Sunday morning there is a First-Timers Mixer from 8 – 8:30 a.m. in Salon G of the Austin Grand Ballroom on the 6th floor of Hilton Austin. If you are the NISOD Liaison for your campus, there is a Liaison lunch on Sunday afternoon. We also distribute two fun social networking games, a BINGO-based game and a Passport to stamp, to help you connect with your colleagues AND potentially win prizes!
If you’re planning on participating in some online social networking during the conference, don’t forget to use the hashtag #NISOD2019 on your posts and to tag us in them! You can find our social media pages by clicking on the links below.