Conventions are, perhaps, the most important attractions that JSA can offer. Conventions allow for productive discussion, create life-long friendships, and grant high schoolers a unique experience that no other club or organization offers. Because I have past experience in the convention department, I am confident that we can bring conventions to their greatest potential next year.
-Make the JSApp more efficient and accessible: At the moment, only a few JSA members know how to program the JSApp and how to control it. Further, regular JSAers who don’t know how to use the app do not have a resource that guides them through the process. Thus, I propose that the convention department create a JSApp guide, to be released prior to conventions. Another concern that JSAers often voice is that they are not often certain the information presented in the app is accurate and up to date. This is why I will work closely with the department, as well as other states and program directors, to ensure that the functionality of the app improves. If the app is easier to manage, more JSAers can learn how to manage it, and push notifications/updates to the agenda can be easily enforced. This will reduce confusion and allow for more progress towards a completely digitized agenda in the future; moreover, if there is improved accessibility to the app, we may be able to move towards paperless best speaker ballots and moderator ratings.
-Improving Night Time Activities: Night-time activities are the prizes of JSA conventions; our night time activities are often why students decide to attend conventions in the first place. Unfortunately, the quality of night-time activities has begun to slip. With my past experience as Director of Special and Night-time Activities (SANTA), we can work towards improving the activities we have now and introducing new and creative ideas simultaneously. One way we can do this is to introduce online surveys for regular JSAers; this way, the convention department can gauge opinions and reactions from attendees both prior to and following conventions. These surveys could be used for a variety of topics; general convention debriefing, suggestions for nighttime activities, voting on dance themes, and activity sign ups. Furthermore, nighttime activities often fall apart during conventions because there is confusion or lack of preparation for the event. Thus, I propose that moderators of nighttime activities be delegated and announced at least one week prior to convention, in an effort to reduce confusion or procrastination in organizing activities. Another reason JSAers increasingly feel as though nighttime activities are losing quality is because of the song selection at the dances. Thus, I would like to introduce a song request list/document next year, which would allow every single JSAer the opportunity to choose what songs they would like to hear. This list would be verified by the SANTA and then given to the DJ prior to the start of the dance. Through innovative ideas for activities, we can bring the excitement back to JSA conventions and take the #hype to new heights.
-Publicize the agenda at least one week before the event: Publicizing the agenda as much as possible can help reduce confusion during the actual convention. Furthermore, it can help increase excitement and anticipation towards the event, which can go a long way in preserving the JSA dream. Next year, I would propose that we send out the agenda to all CPs, and encourage them to distribute the agenda to their chapter delegates. This allows for convention attendees to plan out their schedule for the weekend and it decreases anxiety over finding debate rooms and activity locations. We can also post the agenda to all forms of social media, to ensure that all delegates have access to the schedule. Additionally, building communication between cabinet departments, digitizing the agenda, and encouraging stronger publicity around the convention schedule can help us avoid temporary delays or holdups during conventions. Often times, getting behind on schedule forces us to cut activities or debate blocks that attendees often look forward to. The more structured, confirmed, and publicized our agendas are, the more opportunities we have to decrease (inevitable) problems at the actual event.
-Introduce convention aides: Currently, one of the reasons we always run into issues at conventions is because we have so few people available to help our convention department and pre-con staff. Our logistics sub-department is comprised of two people; these two people run around to every room, distributing materials and collecting ballots every debate block, while still being held partially responsible for fixing any large-scale problems we may face at conventions. This is a heavy burden on our logistics team and an inefficient way for our conventions to be run; thus, I propose that Texas introduce the position of “convention aides.” Like in other JSA states, these aides would not be designated cabinet positions. Rather, they would sign up/apply to be an aide through a Google Form one to two weeks before convention, and would simply serve to help the logistics team during the event. This will improve efficiency and would allow our state to progress to a new level, as the department would be free to oversee the convention and facilitate new, creative ideas without the added responsibility of handling small-scale tasks. It would also help JSAers that are NOT on cabinet have a part in running conventions, and it would allow for stronger connections between the convention team and its attendees.