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Comment: The future of ACS Spring and Fall meetings, event technologies, and the ACS events hub

by Amber S. Hinkle, chair, Committee on Meetings and Expositions
April 22, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 13


Amber S. Hinkle.
Credit: Douglas Hinkle
Amber S. Hinkle

The American Chemical Society aims to be a successful convener for the chemistry community; it’s an organization that allows individuals to share their science and network with one another. Events are integral to fulfilling the ACS mission, vision, values, and strategic goals. As ACS looks to the future and considers the needs of the chemistry community, the organization is implementing three initiatives—the future of ACS Spring and Fall meetings, event technologies, and the ACS events hub—to elevate the society’s events and improve the attendee experience.

Future of ACS Spring and Fall meetings

Since 2019, the society has worked to reimagine the ACS Spring and Fall meetings and brainstormed how the events need to evolve through 2030. Challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed experimenting with the format and process of putting together these meetings. Key goals of this initiative are to provide value and be relevant to all ACS Spring and Fall stakeholders, including attendees, presenters, exhibitors, and the broader chemistry community.

The reimagination began with work by an ACS Board Task Force to consider the future of meetings. This initiative includes input from the Committee on Meetings and Expositions (M&E), the Divisional Activities Committee (DAC), 2023 program chairs, and staff, as well as other stakeholders. A working group made up of select members from these stakeholder groups is helping guide the initiative.

An outcome of this collaborative effort is the development of a framework on the future of meetings for 2025 and beyond, and it includes the following guiding principles:

To increase meeting attendance and attract new audiences, ACS must provide increased value and relevance at the meetings.

In-person presentations and networking are still the most important benefits of ACS Spring and Fall.

ACS wants to offer inclusive meetings to an expanded audience.

Well-coordinated collaborative sessions, in particular jointly programmed division sessions, are a key strategy for attracting interdisciplinary audiences and making the most of finite in-person session space.

Elevating and improving poster sessions and exposition experiences are critical to success.

The framework proposes different approaches for the two ACS meetings going forward. ACS Spring will be planned with the traditional in-person ACS meeting experience in mind. Planning for ACS Fall will include experimentation with mechanisms to attract a more diverse audience, including industry, virtual participants, and international attendees. Despite these differences, these meetings will have some similarities.

Regional meetings are an important part of the ACS event ecosystem. Once we implement the plan and learn how these changes affect ACS Spring and Fall meetings, we can share what we’ve learned with regional meeting planners.

We will continue to evaluate market trends and user research to ensure that ACS delivers on its mission in ways that are user friendly, inclusive, cost effective, and of the highest quality

Event technologies

ACS envisions a future in which attendees know they are at an ACS event as a result of its look, feel, and design. ACS is working toward consolidating the variety of technology platforms it uses across its business units. The aim is to improve user experience, enhance data collection, and better support internal business processes. The scope includes ACS’s hybrid andvirtual platforms, registration platforms, mobile app, and poster sessions. The new system will be launched in 2024, and events will be added on a rolling basis.

ACS events hub

ACS has launched an online event hub: In this centralized location, anyone can easily find ACS events and find information about ACS offerings. Events included in the launch are ACS meetings (spring, fall, and regional), ACS Webinars, C&EN Webinars, and ACS Publications. The society aims to include more events by 2024, including offerings from regions, local sections, technical divisions, student and international chapters, committees, and more.

Our goal is to evolve ACS events and affiliated events. We will continue to evaluate market trends and user research to ensure that ACS delivers on its mission in ways that are user friendly, inclusive, cost effective, and of the highest quality.

Give us your input

How can ACS add value to event experiences? I welcome your feedback on these initiatives and other suggested ideas. With input from ACS membership, we can drive the communication of science across the globe. Please share your thoughts at M&

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.


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