Since 2008, the work of running each NACAA has been split between three committees: a local organising committee (LOC), a programme committee (PC), and the Secretariat (INC).
The LOC is responsible for running the event. This involves organising and executing all of the local arrangements needed to present the technical programme and the associated social functions, and ensure its smooth running. The actions that the LOC needs to perform include:
This is not an exhaustive list. Every NACAA throws up new challenges to make the LOC's job more interesting.
The LOC may also arrange local excursions, public lectures, trade displays, and other activities. As well, the LOC may advertise and promote the event locally, and are encouraged to attract local sponsors to provide prizes, etc, for NACAA attendees, and/or additional income for the hosting organisation, so long as these extra activities complement NACAA's objectives.
Other requirements for an LOC include the ability to meet deadlines, work with minimal supervision, and have members with experience of previous NACAAs and expertise in the increasingly diverse range of technical and organisational skills needed to run a successful NACAA convention.
INC owns a collection of IT/AV equipment which the LOC is welcome to use. The set up and operation of this equipment is the responsibility of the LOC, though INC will provide advice and assistance.
The PC is responsible for organising and scheduling the technical content of the convention, and assists with the production of the DVD of the convention proceedings. It will reach out to the astronomy community to encourage people to present talks and posters, conduct workshops and round-table sessions, and run associated events such as symposia or colloquia. The purpose of the PC is to ensure the highest level of quality and diversity for the technical content of the convention.
The Secretariat supports the operation of the PC and LOC, by managing finances, handling registrations, maintaining NACAA's web site and mailing lists, liaising with national sponsors and bodies such as the ASA, national advertising, insurance, awards, the NACAA archives, etc. The chairs of the PC and LOC are both members of the Secretariat.
Running a NACAA is not easy, but it's a lot easier than it was when one committee had to do everything. The INC committee contains members with extensive experience in running previous NACAAs, and is able to provide checklists and schedules to assist the LOC's planning. The previous Convenor is a member of INC, and is there to provide advice to his or her successor as needed.
If you are interested in hosting a future NACAA, please contact the Secretariat to discuss it further. Please note that bids are often already in the queue for the next NACAA, so a potential host may be bidding for an event in four or even six years time.