Submitting a Session Proposal for the Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference? Read This First.

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If you’re here, it probably means you’re thinking about submitting a session proposal to Community Progress’ flagship conference, Reclaiming Vacant Properties. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with some tips for writing a good session proposal that’ll grab our interest, and your attendees’ interest too! 

Begin at the end: What will people walk away with? 

First and foremost, RVP is a learning opportunity. Our goal is for all attendees to leave a session with knowledge and skills that they can put into practice in their own communities. Sessions must explicitly say why any programs or projects presented are relevant to the audience and applicable to their communities. Simply sharing information or building awareness about an interesting program or project does not on its own constitute learning.  

Feature diverse voices. 

We’re not about manels, or all-white panels, for that matter. And you shouldn’t be either. Your presenters should include diverse voices who reflect the racial, ethnic, gender, and other diversity of the communities served. We’ll also give extra consideration to session proposals that feature panelists from diverse geographies. 

Because your speakers and presenters are a big part of our consideration during session selection, we strongly recommend that you confirm with all your panelists that they’ll be able to participate before you submit your proposal. 

Be timely. Be relevant. 

Every year, RVP sets a theme, and sessions that connect to that conference theme tend to be the most successful. In 2022, our theme is “Responding to Crisis: Building an Equitable and Resilient Future.” What does that mean? Well, it means that a lot of communities are struggling with unprecedented challenges, from the pandemic and its aftereffects, to the growing frequency of extreme weather events, to the disproportionate impact of these crises on BIPOC communities. 

So as you review the topic areas we’re soliciting proposals for, think about how you can tie your proposed solutions in to the broader theme of the conference. 

Use clear language written for humans. 

Community Progress reserves the right to edit and rewrite session titles and descriptions to make them clearer and more compelling. However, you can make our job easier by writing a session description that reads like a session you would love to attend! Be descriptive, spell out your acronyms, and read your session description out loud to ensure that it makes sense and sounds like it was written by and for humans, not corporate bots. Check out session descriptions from past RVP conferences to get a feel for what makes a well-written summary. 

Don’t sell stuff. Seriously. Don’t. 

Look, we’re sure that your solar panels are awesome, or that you’re a great consultant with excellent expertise at reasonable rates. But a session at RVP is not the place for you to sell products and services. The selection committee will disqualify any proposals that seem to be disguising sales pitches. (However, if you do have something cool to sell, consider signing up as a sponsor for an exhibit space!)  

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Don’t forget, session proposals for RVP 2022 are due on Thursday, March 3, 2022. We look forward to reading them! Click here for more info and to submit, and subscribe to our email list to receive notifications of all our conference updates.