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Host Chapter Responsibilities

The success of the National ESP Conference requires a good working relationship between the Host Chapter committee, the National ESP Executive Director, the ESP National President Elect (to be president during conference year), and the Professional Development Committee Chair.

The Conference leadership will come from an Executive Committee. This committee will be comprised of the Host Chapter Committee Chair, ESP National President Elect, National Professional Development Committee Chair, and the National Executive Director.

The following list is intended to be a guideline for the Host Chapter. Each conference brings new opportunities and new challenges. The key to a successful conference is the ability of those involved to work together to adapt to situations that arise during the planning process. 

Local Structure / Key Individuals

The Host Chapter should name a Host Chapter Chair as soon as possible after the bid to host is accepted. The Host Chapter Committee Chair will serve on the Conference Executive Committee.

The Host Chapter should plan to have a member on the National Professional Development Committee for the year prior and the year in which the conference is held in the host region. This individual may choose to submit an application to be a regular member of the Professional Development Committee or may choose to serve as an ad hoc member of the committee. 

Host Chapter Committee should appoint someone as the Lead Technology Contact (See section below under Information Technology). This may be an ESP member or a technology support specialist furnished by the host university.

Other key coordinating roles will depend on the structure developed by the chapter to fulfill the following tasks. Working with Chapter Leadership the Host Chapter Committee Chair should review list of tasks and appoint leadership and/or a committee structure to support each group of tasks. Here is the committee structure used by Kansas in 2018 as an example.


  • Host Chapter will provide conference theme and logo to be used in all promotional activities to National Board for approval. This should be done 24 months prior to the conference.
  • Develop promotional materials for promoting the conference to ESP Membership.
    • Handout(s) for various ESP functions include the prior ESP conference, Extension Leadership Conference, PILD and for state chapter meetings in their state.
    • A promotional video to share at national conference one year out and to provide through the website for chapters to use locally.
    • Write articles for the ESP Connection Newsletter.
  • The Host Chapter should view the National ESP Conference as a special professional development opportunity for the Host Chapter as well as surrounding chapters and should promote maximum participation from state and regional Epsilon Sigma Phi members and non-members. 
  • Invite local guests from the University and the Extension System of the Host Chapter(s). They are to be the guests of the host. 

Conference Speakers

  • The Host Chapter Committee takes lead in collaborating with the ESP National Professional Development Committee to identify potential keynote speakers. The final determination of speakers will be approved by the Professional Development Committee and the National ESP Board.
  • Ideally these recommendations should be submitted to the National Board early fall (e.g., August 15 with board approval in September for October Conference) 1 year prior to the conference so information can be incorporated into the conference call for proposals and promotion at the National Conference 1 year prior. 
  • Typically three general sessions are offered with some type of speaker for each one.  Program may be motivational or educational.
  • Provide hosts for keynote speakers to pick them up airport and to make them feel welcome at the conference. They may have an orientation role with the speaker to help them prepare their remarks prior to the conference.


  • Coordinate with the Professional Development Committee to arrange off site tours and special activities, which will need to be included in the meeting schedule.
  • Prepare promotional material to be used in overall conference promotion.  
  • Arrange for transportation and tour host as needed.
  • Develop a budget and proposed fee for each tour.


  • Working with the Executive Director, arrange for the selection of menus for meals being provided at the conference.
  • Meal selection will be a primary part of setting the conference budget.
  • Work with the Opening Event planners on meal selection. This may involve additional outside caterers. 

Opening Event

  • Typically the first evening of the conference is planned by the Host Chapter. It includes the evening meal and some type of entertainment to welcome the conference attendees. This event can be offsite or at the hotel. 
  • The event should will not have a formal program and should allow for networking and fellowship of conference attendees.


  • Conference registration will handled by the ESP National Office.
  • The Host Chapter should arrange for volunteers to stuff registration packets and organize the registration process on the day before conference begins.
  • The Host Chapter should arrange for volunteers to assist with the registration process onsite.  The registration table should be available for onsite registration the afternoon before the conference begins, all day on day 1 and at least in the morning for the remainder of the conference.  

Conference Hospitality

  • Make arrangements for local hospitality. Sometimes a conference gift is given to attendees representing the local area. A small cost for this can be included in the registration fee if requested. 
  • Search out opportunities for special entertainment events, attractions, etc., for conference attendees and their guests. Provide information of these opportunities to attendees so they may plan for the open night or for a chapter to do a States Night Out if scheduling allows. 

General Sessions/Banquets

  • Arrange for flags (US and State) at the general sessions and National ESP Council meeting. 
  • Arrange for color guard, singing of the national anthem, leading of Pledge of Allegiance and/or other appropriate flag ceremony at the opening general session.
  • Also arrange for decorations at the meals if appropriate. Cost must be included in the decorations budget. Additional decorations may be included in foyers and registration area if desired.
  • Order a floral piece for the head table if planned. If chapters wish to honor recognition recipients at recognition banquet with corsages/boutonnieres, it will be the responsibility of the chapter to cover this expense. The Host Chapter Committee will provide the name of a local florist and help facilitate this process. 
  • Provide podium/stage decoration or flowers as needed.
  • Arrange for light entertainment during the recognition banquet. 
  • Provide volunteers to take up banquet tickets and monitor entrance doors.
  • Note: Banquet seating will be prepared by the National ESP Executive Director. The  National Friends of Extension and National ESP Board plus guests will have reserved seating. If at all possible, the president of the Chapter nominating the Friend of Extension recipients should be seated with the recipient. 
  • Note: The National ESP Executive Director and the National ESP Board will handle all of the details of preparing and presenting the plaques and certificates. 

Information Technology

  • A Lead Technology Contact should be identified. This may be an ESP member or a technology support specialist furnished by the host university.
    • Assist the Executive Director with identifying AV needs of the conference. He/she may participate in negotiations with the selected AV company if requested.
    • Serve as the conference point of contact for all things associated with AV including working daily with the AV provider.
  • Host Chapter will coordinate all technology needs of speakers and presentations for all general sessions.
  • Support seminar presenters as needed during seminar presentation periods.
  • Host Chapter will need to work with the Professional Development Committee to secure technology to be used in creating distance-learning opportunities for members who are unable to attend the meeting. Such distance-learning opportunities must be coordinated by the host chapter, as needed, to compliment the conference program. 
  • Provide AV equipment when feasible (check with hotel policy).  Providing projectors and/or screens for seminar rooms is an excellent opportunity to decrease expenses.

Life Member Program

  • Plan a Life Member program during the National ESP Conference. A life member program could include tours, classes or workshops that would appeal to our life members. 


  • The Executive Committee will prepare the budget to be approved by the National ESP Board.
  • The proceeds of the conference will be split 50/50 with the host chapter.
  • In the unlikely event of a loss, the National Program will cover the deficit. However the host chapter would need to cover any budget overruns for budget items to which they are assigned responsibility. See Conference Budget Development for more details.

Development Fund Auction

  • Fund raising for a valued cause and fun are a great match. The manner in which this auction is conducted should create an atmosphere of fun and goodwill and generate significant funds to support Epsilon Sigma Phi. 
  • Appoint a chairperson from the Host Chapter Committee to accept the responsibility to manage the Development Fund Auction. 
  • The auction chairperson should begin contacting state chapter presidents early in the year to solicit items to be donated by Chapters and/or members. 
  • The Host Chapter will conduct the auction. They may elect to stage a hospitality event in conjunction with the auction.
  • Arrange for auctioneers (professional or professional ―want-a-bees). The more the auctioneers know about the organization and its members, the more fun the chatter is likely to be. The host chapter should try to secure an auctioneer(s) as a local in-kind contribution. If that is not possible, anticipated expenses should be included in the budget. 
  • Donated items will be placed in the silent or the live auction. This determination is made by the host chapter chair. It is helpful to have the silent auction items displayed by mid afternoon on the day of the auction. Items for the live auction should be displayed during the reception and meal time. 
  • The host chapter should plan to accept the items, catalog the items including who donated the item, the value of the item.
  • During the auction the host chapter should plan to collect information that includes the sale price of the item, who purchased the item and provide buyers with an itemized duplicate sales receipt that contains all items purchased and is totaled for presentation to the cashier for collection of payment for items purchased. 
  • The host chapter should provide the tellers, ring personnel to catch bids, bidder number sign-up and collect the revenue immediately following the sale. 
  • When possible use as many different options for payment as possible such as: cash, check or credit card. (The National ESP Board has entered into an agreement which has made the use of a credit card available to be used at the discretion of the National ESP Board for such uses).  Generally, if prior arrangements are made, the Resource Development Committee will be responsible to collect money from the sales and the National Office will make the necessary deposits of money collected. 


  • The National ESP Board supports the attendance of a photographer in exchange for taking of pictures at all conference functions including the Recognition Banquet. Digital copies of photographs will be available on the ESP website after the conference. 
  • The Host Chapter should invite the National ESP Board to hold their mid-year meeting in the host state prior to the conference. This will provide an opportunity to meet with the Host Chapter Committee to foster a good working relationship with the board which is important to having a successful conference. 


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