Conference Humanely: Finding Balance at Academic Conferences


Madeline R. Shellgren (she/her/hers), Director of Community Strategy and Engagement, Online Learning Consortium, Samantha Becker, Online Learning Consortium Storyteller

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Some might say it’s spooky season, and others Libra season. But, in academia, it’s definitely conference season. October and November have been historically jam-packed with events that up-skill and connect professionals. 

Particularly post-pandemic, as we usher in a new world that simply didn’t exist before, mental health is a key factor in the success of what we build – and achieve – together. 

So how do we create mindful live experiences that eschew burnout in favor of balance?

That inquiry was a springboard for OLC’s planning of Accelerate 2022. This year’s engagement pathways focus on the various personas we undertake and encounter at conferences – with one of them being The Escapist

Accelerate 2022 was designed with balance and mental health in mind. In addition to the vibrant backdrop of Orlando for the in-person portion, we’ve been intentional about places, spaces, and activities.

We’re delighted to share with you our top Accelerate 2022 picks to set the tone for a refreshing and rejuvenating conference experience:

  1. The Sanctuary – Dim the lights. This is a dedicated space for relaxation, quiet decompression, and reflection.
  2. Guided Meditation and OLC Fit – These sessions encourage self-care while giving you space to engage in both work and community with others.
  3. OLC Escape Room – A popular feature of OLC conferences, the Escape Room is the go-to for play …and to learn some things along the way. Game on! 
  4. OLC Drive-In – Ever been in a keynote session and wish you could chat with the colleagues around you about something that was just shared? Or perhaps you want to eat chips without the worry of being too loud? The Drive-In is a collaborative space to tune in to our live streamed sessions.
  5. OLC Café & Mercantile – Inspired by local cafes and coffee shops, OLC’s Cafe and Mercantile is a space for the community to gather around with music, food, and all things local.

We look forward to seeing you around and connecting with you! But if we see you in Tree Pose with your earbuds on, we’ll just wave and smile. 😉

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