IDEA has made the difficult but appropriate decision to deliver CampusEnergy2021 as a virtual-only event.
The 34th Annual Campus Energy Conference, originally planned for San Francisco, will still take place on the dates of February 16-18, 2021, but as a virtual event, rather than in person.
IDEA did not arrive at this decision lightly. We have been carefully evaluating many factors over recent months. Ultimately, the safety and health of our members, colleagues and staff took precedent over all other matters.
First, continued uncertainty around San Francisco relaxing the strict limits on indoor gatherings makes it very difficult to plan a conference with adequate safety measures and social distancing for over 1000 people.
Second, nearly 80% of respondents to our recent Conference and Travel Survey indicated that in-person conference attendance was unlikely for the immediate future, especially among college and university personnel.
And most importantly, we have growing concern about potentially compromising the health and safety of our community by holding a large in-person meeting during a pandemic, when infection rates are again trending up, colder weather approaches and travel restrictions persist.
Since 1909, IDEA conferences and trade shows such as CampusEnergy have earned a reputation for high quality content, engaged and informed attendees, and a vibrant, collegial atmosphere conducive to peer exchange and cultivating business opportunities.
In the final summary, we felt that conditions from the pandemic might severely compromise our ability to deliver the quality conference our members expect and deserve. Rather than proceed, we have negotiated a mutually agreeable arrangement with the host hotel to return to San Francisco in February 2024. At present, we continue planning for a combination physical/virtual IDEA Annual Conference to take place in Austin, TX in June, 2021.
We are pleased that many thousands of you have been participating in our pivot to virtual programs over the past 7 months. We intend to strengthen and refine our virtual platforms for the immediate future to enable more member connectivity. In some ways, on-line formats have expanded our reach and allow increased participation by an even wider audience seeking to listen, learn and engage.
But rest assured, we heard loud and clear that many of you want to return to in-person conferences as soon as possible. So do we.
The preliminary Campus Energy 2021 program will be online in the coming weeks along with registration, sponsorship and exhibitor details. Like you, we look forward to the day when we can reunite in person, greet old friends and meet new ones with a handshake, a hug and a smile. Until then, we press on - online - to deliver the education, exhibits and exchange of ideas that drive our industry forward.
See you in February. And please stay safe.
President and CEO