The RNL National Conference 2020 is Going Virtual! But What Does that Mean, Exactly?

Jennifer WardDirector, National Conferences and EventsMay 29, 2020

As you may have heard, we have made the leap and transitioned our annual event after 33 years to an entirely virtual event. We are thrilled to be moving forward with the 34th annual RNL National Conference!

Over the past few months, events across the country have been jeopardized by the current state of affairs. Although this year’s conference will be in a different format we can assure you that the attendance, engagement and overall ROI will be equivalent to or more significant than in past years.

I can imagine that the digital transformation of our event creates a lot of questions for attendees and sponsors, so we’ve developed a list of questions and answers that might help you navigate through some of these changes. We hope you’ll join us for the ride and have some fun along the way!

Why is there a registration fee for the RNL virtual conference?

RNL is delighted to be presenting the 34th Annual RNL Conference via virtual event. There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm around the event from the higher education community and panelists, presenters and partners.

In order to bring you a state-of-the-art event that is what you would be accustomed to in person, we have curated an amazing technology platform, the best possible content and sessions and the ability to connect with participants and speakers.

In order to put together a conference at the level that is expected (much like the level of learning and experience you deliver to your students) we must charge a reduced conference fee for the event.

The conference fees will cover the following items that will allow participants across North America the opportunity to connect with other participants, partners and speakers, engage with the experience of Chicago and to witness change through content and experiences.

  • Technology Platform – Our virtual conference will be so much more than a standard online meeting. We will be utilizing a state-of-the-art technology platform that will allow participants to engage in a truly state of the art online event. It starts in walking into a lobby, meeting rooms, networking lounge, and stroll an exhibit hall comprised of 35+ vendors. This will elevate the online experience and provide increased opportunity for participant learning, engagement, and connection.
RNL NC 2020 Lobby
The RNL National Conference will provide a virtual lobby, meeting rooms, networking lounge, and more.
  • Keynote Speakers – We will be featuring top-notch keynote sessions broadcast from the auditorium within the virtual conference that RNL will pay to present.
  • The Experience of Chicago – One of the best parts of a conference is the ability to explore a new city or new experiences within the conference city. Since we won’t be in Chicago live we will be incorporating unexpected surprises throughout the program that will make it as close as possible to the in person event in Chicago – including virtual yoga and meditation in Lurie Park, keynote sessions in Chicago’s Millennial park; a virtual happy hour, interactive entertainment, and a care package sent to participants pre-conference that will contain a lot of cool stuff to enjoy before and during the online event!
  • Production Resources – The ability to curate, create and produce the sessions for the event.

Needless to say, all of this takes time and resources for us to put this all together. Oh and did we mention? This entire experience extends well beyond July. Participants will have access to the virtual experience and all content for up to one year.

We hope this gives you better context about our virtual conference offering and the reasons behind the registration fee. For those who choose to invest in our conference, it is our hope that the event will not only be an educational opportunity and way to connect, but a bright spot in one’s day. We look forward to connecting with you virtually this July!

What does the Virtual RNL National Conference look like?

Content – We have curated the best content in the industry to share with participants and partners. Three dynamic keynote presenters will inspire you through stories of achievement, new and next trends in our worlds, and best practices in how to craft world class experiences.

Vendor/Partner Showcase – We have chosen a technology platform that allows our vendors to not only participate in a meaningful way through delivery of content, engagement and messaging but all in a state-of-the-art environment (virtual tradeshow) type of experience. Through video, texting, and conversations you will be able to network with vendors showcasing features and benefits of offerings in a state-of-the-art way before during and after the event.

Chicago – Although we aren’t hosting our event in the physical location of Chicago this year, we will be bringing Chicago to each participant through outings, virtual field trips, yoga sessions, meditations, museum tours, and engaging happy hours. Every participant will feel a taste of Chicago even though they are in the comfort of their own home.

Swag – No conference is complete without swag…and everybody loves swag!! Each participant of the conference will receive a custom swag box mailed to their home. The box will contain several Chicago mementos from Nuts on Clark, Garrett’s Popcorn, coffee cups for a coffee break to branded materials, etc. We are getting creative with the fun as we bring Chicago to our participants.

Registrants will receive a Swag Box with gifts and snacks!

ROI – As conferences and events across the country have been cancelled, we feel it is even more important than ever to bring our clients, prospective clients, vendors, partners and the industry together for this first of a kind event. Our plans are for over 1000 participants and up to 50 vendors to engage in the July 8th and 9th event. We know that while nothing can replace face to face conversations, an opportunity to engage with truly interested individuals who want to learn best practices, what is new and next and to connect is priceless.

Where can I register?

Click here to register

How many people will attend the virtual national conference?

We expect to have up to 1,000 participants.

How many exhibitors and sponsors will we have?

We will be partnering with up to 50 exhibitors and sponsors.

What sponsorship opportunities are available?

Click here to view the sponsorship prospectus.

Will attendees participate in the event together?

Yes! Our event program is designed to connect you to the other attendees, presenters, experts and vendors that are participating along with you.

After 34 years of hosting this conference, for many it’s a highlight, a reunion a place to see colleagues, competitors, friends, their RNL team members and more.

We want and have heard from others it’s about those “hallway” moments, random run-ins, hugs and more that make the “reunion” feeling. So – we are crafting tactical experiences to build connections with each other, with Chicago, where our event was originally scheduled to be held, with RNL and with each other before, during and after the event.

What happens if I log out of or exit the event?

You can log back in at any time and/or access any of the session recordings and materials for up to 12 months.

I have more questions, who should I reach out to?

You can reach out directly to me, or the RNL Director of National Conference and Events, Jennifer Ward, at Jennifer.Ward@RuffaloNL.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Ward has extensive experience in event planning, management, and execution. She oversees all events and conferences for Ruffalo Noel Levitz, including the RNL National Conference, Strategic Enrollment Planning Executive Forum, and Symposium on the Recruitment...

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