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2021 AGM Frequently Asked Questions

Revised September 10, 2021
For more recent news and updates, please visit the AGM Update Center.

About This Year’s Conference

Will there definitely be an in-person AGM?

JASNA is committed to hosting the AGM with all the usual elements. We will follow local government regulations regarding health and safety. The City of Chicago became “fully open,” with no restrictions on large meetings, on July 4. There is always the chance that regulations will tighten again, so we urge you to purchase travel insurance or make refundable arrangements.

What is the Refund Policy?

This year, we are applying a more flexible Refund Policy.  (a) If JASNA is forced to cancel the AGM completely or reduce capacity due to government regulations, registrants will receive full refunds of registration fees only, regardless of when the cancellation takes place. JASNA is not liable for any travel-related expenses registrants may incur.  (b) With regard to individual cancellations, registrants may cancel and receive a full refund up to 21 days after the registration opening date. (In recent years, AGMs have sold out on the opening date.) Cancellations made by individuals after that date, but before October 1, will incur a $50 fee. Beginning October 1, no refunds will be made for individual cancellations. Again, if a cancellation is initiated by JASNA due to government regulations rather than by an individual registrant, the registration fee will be fully refunded, regardless of the date.

For tours, separate cancellation deadlines apply. These will be detailed on the Tours page and in an email to those who register for tours.

The planned AGM program and the scheduling of specific presentations and activities are as described on the AGM website. Adjustments may be necessitated by changes in speaker or facility availability beyond JASNA’s control. Where possible, JASNA will arrange for replacement speakers/activities if needed, to provide a rewarding and enriching AGM experience. In any case, no refunds will be given solely due to changes in program or schedule, except as covered by the Refund Policy above. 

When is registration, and when will hotel rooms be available for reservation?

Conference registration is scheduled to open July 14. There will be two opening times for registration (12 noon and 9pm Eastern time), with the available spaces split between them. This approach will give people at work during the day or in another time zone a better opportunity to register. Detailed how-to guidance will be made available closer to the opening day of registration.

This is the tenth year in which JASNA has used an online registration system, and paper-based marketing and registration processing are now discontinued. If you have questions about using the online registration system, please email vpconf@jasna.org.

When will hotel rooms be available for reservation?

The JASNA hotel room block will also open on July 14. Please visit the “Hotel” page and be sure to use the link provided there, or mention “JASNA” when you call the hotel. 

Will there be a virtual conference?

Assuming the in-person AGM takes place, a streamlined online offering of selected conference presentations will be made available after the AGM, for a separate fee. Because JASNA will have an in-person AGM in 2021, the online program will not replicate the conference experience with entertainment and social elements. 

COVID Health and Safety Protocols

Will JASNA’s COVID policies change before the AGM?

We are closely monitoring government rules and best practices for large meetings, and will update our protective requirements and protocols as needed. Current information will appear in the AGM Update Center. 

Are vaccinations required to attend the AGM?

Yes. All AGM registrants are required to present proof of vaccination upon check-in at the AGM. Test results will not be accepted. The following are acceptable:

  • Your original vaccination certificate
  • A photocopy of the complete certificate (including the reverse side if there is any data entered on that side)
  • A digital photo on a phone of your complete certificate (including the reverse side if there is any data entered on that side)
  • A printout or digital image of your official vaccination record from your medical provider
  • A printout or digital image of your vaccination record from your state’s vaccine registry.

Certificates must be readable by a human; QR codes or apps are not acceptable. We will not copy your certificate; we will conduct a quick visual inspection and ask you to sign an acknowledgment.

What safety and health protocols will be in place at the conference?

JASNA will follow governmental regulations in force at the time of the AGM with regard to requiring face coverings and other protective measures, and may impose additional measures. The state of Illinois and the city of Chicago currently mandate the wearing of face coverings whenever in public indoor spaces. Masks will be required in JASNA-contracted meeting and social spaces, and at JASNA-sponsored activities at indoor locations away from the hotel. Masks are optional during fully outdoor activities (e.g., walking tours). Registrants will receive guidance on applicable requirements by email prior to the AGM.

The AGM registration form will require each registrant to acknowledge individual responsibility for complying with government-mandated safety and health measures. Each person is responsible for self-monitoring for symptoms and isolating if infection is suspected. 

The Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile has safety and health protocols described on their website: What to Expect in the Age of COVID-19 | Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. (Measures in place now may change by October.)  

Eligibility, Registration, Companions, and Accessibility

Who is eligible to attend the AGM?

The AGM is open to members in good standing (those whose membership dues are up to date). Students must be in ninth grade or above; the AGM is not appropriate for children. You will not be able to join or update your membership on the AGM Registration Form, as membership and AGM registration are handled by separate computer systems.

  • New Members: If you would like to join, please go to http://jasna.org/join/ for information about JASNA membership and a link to the New Membership form.
  • Existing Members and Lapsed Members: If you need to renew your membership, log in to JASNA’s Member Portal and select “View My Membership or Renew” from the dropdown menu near the top of the Welcome page. If you don’t remember your Member Portal log-in credentials or need other assistance, please email membership@jasna.org.

Who can participate in the AGM?

As our Diversity and Inclusion Statement states, JASNA strives to ensure that all people are welcome and feel valued in meetings, events, and community spaces. Whether you are new to JASNA or a Life Member, if you are interested in the study of Austen’s works, her life, and her era, we welcome you to attend the Chicago AGM.

I’d like to attend the AGM, though I’m not a JASNA member. Is this possible?

JASNA conferences are designed for JASNA members. However, you are welcome to become a member of JASNA by joining and then registering for the conference. Your membership must be current at the time of registration.

Do AGMs accommodate all members who want to attend?

It is not financially feasible for JASNA to contract for a larger attendance than we can deliver. Capacities have steadily increased in recent years; even so, there will be years when more people want to attend an AGM than can be offered registration. Of the past five in-person AGMs, two sold out almost immediately, and three did not. We continue to monitor registration trends and make efforts to accommodate as many JASNA members as possible. Members who are not able to register for the in-person AGM will have the opportunity to enjoy a selection of AGM presentations later (fee applies). You may also want to check out the various events sponsored by JASNA Regions (many accessible online).

How do waitlists work?

The registration software that JASNA uses allocates registration spaces on a first-come, first-served basis. When all registration spaces have been taken, the system assigns additional people to a waitlist. As space becomes available, waitlisted individuals are offered an opportunity to register, in order. Every year, hundreds of waitlisted people are eventually offered the chance to register for the AGM when spaces that were held back in case of system error are released, and when registrants change their plans and cancel. 

What does the AGM registration fee include?

In 2021, registrants in the “Attendee” category receive two meals (the banquet on Saturday night and brunch on Sunday) and admission to all plenary sessions, registrant’s choice of breakout sessions, all special interest sessions, and non-ticketed extra activities. Registrants in the “Companion” category receive meals only.  Registrants in both categories have the option of purchasing workshop, tour, and special event tickets.

Why are tours, workshops, etc., not included in the AGM registration fee?

The primary goal of each AGM team is to deliver a basic conference package—plenaries, breakouts, special interest sessions, the banquet and ball—that is broadly appealing and delivers an excellent experience at an affordable price. Programs that may appeal to some members and not others are priced separately, which keeps the basic registration fee low. Headcount limits for those programs are driven by such factors as bus capacities (in the case of tours) or the number of participants best suited for individual workshops.

What is a Companion?

A Companion is an attendee category and is any person who accompanies a JASNA member to the conference and pays the AGM Companion registration fee. That person—and only one Companion can accompany a JASNA member—may be a spouse, friend, or family member. In 2021, a Companion can attend the Saturday evening banquet and ball and the Sunday brunch (with speaker), but is not entitled to attend plenary, breakout, or special interest sessions. AGM Attendees are free to share their hotel rooms (subject to hotel policies) with friends or family members without registering them as official Companions, but unregistered persons are not entitled to attend any meal functions or events.

Why do some AGMs have a higher Companion limit than others?

Some conference hotels are simply larger than others, allowing for a greater number of Companions. When space is limited, priority is given to JASNA members who wish to register as Attendees for the entire conference.

Can the AGM accommodate attendees who have various allergies and sensitivities?

Yes, special dietary requirements can be accommodated for the meals included in the AGM registration fee, provided that each attendee indicates allergies and sensitivities on the registration form or emails the AGM Team about them. When given enough preparation time, the AGM Team can work with the hotel staff to provide for an attendee’s needs. Waiting until arrival to notify the hotel of specific food restrictions will cause difficulty in meeting those needs. Optional events not included in the registration fee (such as tours with meals or tastings) may not be able to accommodate individual dietary requirements; information will be provided in the description for that activity.

Can the AGM accommodate attendees with other needs?

The registration form will have a space for registrants to note any assistance or accommodation they may need. JASNA has an AGM Accessibility Liaison who will follow up with individuals, and we will do our best to provide assistance.

JASNA’s Conference Planning Policies and Practices

Why is the AGM always held in October?

On occasion, the AGM is held in late September; however, most conferences are held in October. JASNA is able to secure a lower hotel rate for attendees since October is not peak vacation time. In addition, the AGM is often held on the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving to ensure an easier journey for Canadian attendees.

How is the registration fee set?

The registration fee reflects the costs of staging the conference. The fee defrays common costs such as plenary speakers’ fees, meeting room costs, audiovisual technology for all speakers, registration and program materials (both printed and online). It also covers included meals as well as various other support needs, which vary by conference. Some past attendees have suggested eliminating meals as a cost-saving measure, but when that is done hotels typically impose higher meeting room rental fees to achieve the same target revenue.

The registration fee varies from year to year based on the cost of meals, meeting space, and essential services in each location. The fee is kept low by the volunteer contributions of the many breakout speakers and the volunteer work of the local JASNA members. Recent years have seen a trend toward simplification in decorations and amenities to keep costs as low as possible.

How is the hotel sleeping room rate set?

JASNA and the Professional Meeting Planner with whom the Society works negotiate the best rate possible, which is reflected in JASNA’s contract with the hotel. Hotel commitments need to be made four or five years in advance of the AGM. Hotel room rates can be highly variable; hotels in some cities are much more expensive and in greater demand than in other cities. Every effort is made to balance a central location, amenities, good quality, sufficient rooms, and meeting space with a fair price.

Why do some AGMs have a higher attendance limit than others?

Some hotels have an attendance limit established for the banquet hall, set by local fire code laws. JASNA adheres to those limits. Other hotels may present limitations in the number and size of rooms that can be used for breakout sessions. Generally, we plan for AGMs to accommodate as many JASNA members as the hotel will allow and as the host Region can manage.

Would JASNA consider holding a conference in my hometown?

JASNA AGMs are held in cities where a JASNA region has volunteered to act as Host Region. If your JASNA Region is interested in hosting a conference, please contact the Vice President for Conferences at vpconf@jasna.org.

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If you have other questions about the AGM, please email JASNA’s Vice President for Conferences at vpconf@jasna.org. 

 

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