Annual Conference FAQ | Great Plains IDEA

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  • Who should attend?

    Administrators, faculty, staff, and campus coordinators from member universities are invited to this annual conference. 

  • How do you choose the conference dates?

    Over time we have learned that Sunday through Wednesday is a pattern that works well for our members.  Some years there is less programming on Sunday.  Other years there is less on Wednesday.  Each conference's start and end times fluctuate a little based on program availability, the conference theme, and the goals of the Boards and Cabinet.

    Twelve months prior to the conference, the management team creates a master calendar that includes the following:

    • All member universities' spring breaks
    • Conference dates and locations that may prevent faculty, specific programs, functional team members, or board members from attending
    • Holidays like Easter and Passover
  • How do you choose the conference location?

    Twelve months prior to the conference, the management team puts out a request for proposals (RFP).  The RFP is sent to the convention and visitors bureaus in each city we would like to consider for our conference.  We generally submit RFPs to Kansas City, KS; Kansas City, MO; Omaha, NE; Lincoln, NE; and Des Moines, IA.

    Once we have received proposals, the management team has follow-up conversations with each property to clarify meeting room availability and concessions.  Sometimes we tour properties while in the process of narrowing our options.

    Important factors we consider when selecting the right property, listed in priority order:

    • 13 or more breakout rooms to accommodate our many academic program meetings, department chairs, and campus coordinators
    • Complimentary wireless internet in the meeting and guest rooms
    • Competitive sleeping room rates and a variety of room types
    • Discounted or complimentary meeting rooms
    • Complimentary or discounted parking for overnight guests and temporary parking
    • In-house audiovisual company with discounted pricing
    • Discounted food & beverage
    • Personalized webpage for online reservations
    • Walkability to nearby restaurants and shops
  • Why is it important to stay at the conference hotel?

    Your support in staying at the Great Plains IDEA contracted hotel helps keep the conference costs down, which directly affects your registration fees. Great Plains IDEA contracts for the best possible room rates for this conference and is required to guarantee a predetermined number of sleeping rooms. If the alliance does not meet the contracted room block, the hotel can charge an attrition fee, which will result in higher registration fees at future conferences. Therefore, we encourage you to book your room through our block at the conference hotel.

  • What does the cost of registration cover during the conference?

    Your registration fee covers rental fees for audio-visual equipment, speaker fees, and operational costs.  Generally, your registration fee also covers the following:

    • Monday -- Lunch, beverage breaks, and late-afternoon reception
    • Tuesday -- Continental breakfast, luncheon, and beverage breaks
    • Wednesday -- Continental breakfast
  • Is one-day registration available?

    Yes.  One-day registration will again be available in 2024. Rates will be posted in February.

  • How can I change or cancel my registration?

    Cancellation and Refund Policy
    If you must cancel your registration, please do so as soon as possible by sending an email to Kathryn Harth at with the subject line “Great Plains IDEA Annual Conference”. Substitutions are encouraged. A full refund, minus a $25 administrative fee, will be made if notice of cancellation is received by the registration office by the approved deadline. After the deadline, due to guarantees we must provide, refunds are not available. Registrants who do not cancel their registration in writing by the deadline, are responsible for paying the registration fee even if they do not attend the meeting and have not paid the registration fee.

  • Who do I contact if I have further questions?

    Contact Kathryn Harth at