With record-breaking attendance at this year's virtual Presidents and Governors Forum to new programs like the Thursdays at Three virtual roundtables, I think it is fair to say that we have successfully pivoted to virtual events. While I do miss in-person events, I am also excited that virtual events have provided the opportunity to make it accessible to more people.
I know personally I have enjoyed virtually attending events of ASCE sections and branches from across the United States where traveling to attend in person would have been a barrier for me. As my passion is in STEM outreach, I am also enjoying the opportunity to have panelists from many different states as part of some of our recent virtual panels!
As I want to challenge us to be forward-thinkers, I would like to start a discussion centered around the future of in-person events.When it is safe to hold in-person events, what are your thoughts on how we can continue virtual inclusivity?
------------------------------Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE (She/her)Associate EngineerPennoni AssociatesPhiladelphia PA------------------------------
Thanks for this post Danielle! I completely agree on the accessibility allowed by virtual events.
Virtual events have offered so many opportunities for me to go outside my typical geographic boundaries. Last week, I had a chance to learn about the Peace Bridge via an ASCE Buffalo Section webinar by Mr. Timothy Coyle, PE. Also, the ASCE National Capital Section (my home Section) collaborated with the ASCE Lebanon Section for a presentation by Mr. Michel Bouchedid, MS, PE, M.ASCE (President-Elect of the ASCE Lebanon Section). He discussed the Beirut Blast Wave and recovery efforts undertaken by volunteers.
I hope this inclusivity continues when we are in person again. One way to achieve this is through live streaming. There are companies who specialize in the audio/visual equipment to make this possible. Another way could be through combining virtual platforms, such as Teams or Zoom, with live events. I imagine this would be similar to "pre-2020," where people would call into a conference line for a staff meeting while others were physically present. This time, you'd just click on a virtual meeting link.