a place to meet for socializing
You ask good questions, Emily. As explained below, I think the ASA meetings are great as-is (as they have been) but if you can find ways to make them better, socially and spiritually, they will be even better!
Since 1990, I've been to 15 annual meetings of ASA, and they're my favorite conferences. There are many reasons, but partly it's due to the structure -- arranged by ASA (thanks!) -- that encourages socializing: everyone eats meals together, and most of us stay at the same dorms. This makes it easy, by contrast with other conferences where you must "hustle" and find a group to join for restaurants, and at night people are scattered at different hotels.
With ASA, usually at night there are one or two "social areas" for those who want to meet and talk. The locations depend on local geography: where are the evening events held, is there an obvious meeting area near it, do the dorms have a general lounge (on the first floor, open to all) that is a friendly meeting place, and so on. If some areas are not obvious to all -- for example, if one dorm is closer to the evening events or it has a more people-friendly lounge, compared with other dorms, so it's a good meeting area but those living in other dorms won't know about it -- this information could be shared in "general announcements", especially early in the meeting, at the Thursday evening meal, then at plenary sessions Friday evening and Saturday.
Last edited Tuesday, July 3, 2012