2012 Winter Newsletter

Our first edition of the 2012 Conference Newsletter is packed with announcements, reminders, and exciting information that highlights the action you’ll find at this year’s event.

Orientation Tour for Blind/Low Vision Participants

In an effort to assist newcomers to the conference’s location, we will, once again, provide an opportunity to help you navigate the venue with an expert guide.  The Orientation Tour is scheduled for Wednesday morning, February 29 from 6:30 to 7:30 AM.  We encourage you to “RSVP” for the tour as space is limited.  The tour is listed in the registration procedures under “Special Events”.  Please meet at the Concierge Desk in the Lobby at 6:30 AM to join the tour.

Hotel Accommodations

The deadline to reserve your room at the conference rate is rapidly approaching and the availability of space is quickly declining.  Please make your reservation as soon as possible to ensure that you will be staying with us at the Manchester Grand Hyatt during the conference week and enjoy the convenience of our one-stop location.  The deadline for the conference rate is February 6th!

Pre-Conference Workshops

We encourage you to check out the selection of Pre-Conference Workshops offered this year, so that you can come early and learn more!  Space is limited so be sure to review the offerings and select one of these in-depth topics that would be of interest to you.  As a reminder, ATACP will not be held at this year’s conference, but we encourage you to sign up for “An Overview of AT” which is especially geared towards newcomers and those interested in a comprehensive introduction to this subject.  Remember that CEU’s are available for all Pre-Conference Workshops!

Knowbility’s AccessU at CSUN

For the first time, this unique Conference-within-a-Conference will be held February 27th and 28th in collaboration with the CSUN Conference.  This will be a rewarding opportunity to take advantage of Knowbility's AccessU program and the CSUN Conference in one location and provides a unique opportunity of education and networking.

AccessU will run two concurrent tracks tailored for different registrants' needs:  Track #1 is for Administrators and Track #2 is geared to the Technical side.  Attendees may move freely through the tracks on the day(s) they are registered.  Participants who register for both days and want to attend the CSUN Conference will receive a discount off the prevailing general conference registration.

Keynote Address & Welcome Reception

Please be sure to join us in the Elizabeth Ballroom on Tuesday evening, February 28 at 5:30 PM for the official opening of the 2012 Conference, hosted by Conference Chair, Michael Paciello. Our Keynote Address this year will be delivered by Ms. Geri Jewell.  We are very excited to have Ms. Jewell, a noted actress, comedienne and advocate talk about her life as a person with a disability, especially as she was the first person with a visible disability to become a regular performer on a national primetime television series.  Ms. Jewell continues to break barriers and is sure to educate and entertain us all when she shares her insights and experiences at her Keynote Address. 

The Fred Strache Leadership Award presentation to Sheryl Burgstahler will follow the keynote address and then special announcements and conference highlights will be provided by Mr. Paciello to start off your busy conference week.

Exhibitor News

Mark your calendars for the Opening of the 2012 Exhibit Hall and the new schedule!  This year the Exhibit Hall will open early on Wednesday, February 29 at 12 noon and close at 7:00 PM. Thursday and Friday hours are 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM.  Please be sure to make time to visit our exhibitors in the Douglas Pavilion during these days and times - the Exhibit Hall will not be open on Saturday.  As always, the Exhibit Halls are free and open to the public.

NEW this year!  Please visit the conference website and check-out our new highlight, the “Featured Exhibitor”!  Each time you visit Exhibitors page, a different Exhibitor will be randomly selected and their products and services will be available for your review… as you go back to Exhibitors page, see if your favorite vendor or one that is new to you is featured.

Google’s Cyber Café

The CSUN Cyber Café, sponsored by Google, is located on the 2nd floor in the Registration area.  The perfect place to check your email, follow us on Facebook, be on the lookout for special announcements…or just surf to see what else is happening at the Conference!

4th Annual CSUN TweetUp

The CSUN social network event of the conference is back!  This year’s event will be held in the Microsoft Showcase Suite (Elizabeth Ballroom A) on Thursday, March 1 at 6:30 PM and you won’t want to miss the action.  We advise everyone to visit the TweetUp website to learn how to RSVP and make sure you’re connected to the other plans and participation options the TweetUp sponsors have in store for you!

Public Forums

We are very proud to announce that the CSUN Conference will be the site for three very important sessions highlighting the government’s progress and plans involving technology, accessibility and important issues for people with disabilities.  The Public Forums will be held in the Elizabeth Ballroom “D/E”.

Thursday, March 1

  • Technology and Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities – 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  • The U.S. Access Board’s Public Hearing on Required Updates for ICT – 1:00 to 3:00 PM

Friday, March 2

  • Panel Discussion on Accessibility of U.S. Transportation System– 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Please visit the Special Events and Announcements page for additional information on the Public Forums.

SS12 Code for a Cause Finals

We are excited to announce that the Final Competition for Project:Possibility’s SS12 Code for a Cause will once again be held at this year’s conference.  Sponsored by Microsoft, this exciting event will host the innovative open source projects the top teams from CSUN, UCLA and USC have created.  Mark your calendars for this occasion where the First Place team will be announced following the presentations and judging portions on Saturday, March 3 from 9:00 to 11:00 AM in the Microsoft Showcase Suite (Elizabeth Ballroom A).  A Continental Breakfast will be served following the presentations during the judging portion of the program.

2012 Conference Sponsors

It goes without saying…but we’ll say it anyway…thank you to all of our valuable Conference Sponsors!  Many of the services and events at the conference are provided through the commitments of:

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2011 Fall Newsletter

General Sessions and Speaker Registration

We want to thank all of you who took the time to submit a proposal to present at this year's conference.

Speaker Registration has opened and the deadline to register is December 2nd! The sessions are in the process of being scheduled and speakers will soon be receiving notices of their presentation's time and date. Just a reminder – once again, there are no sessions on Saturday this year. Attendees should check the web-site for the General Sessions Schedule which will be posted prior to attendee registration.

PLEASE NOTE: We will not be asking you to "save a seat" for the general sessions this year. After a careful review of comments and suggestions from the evaluations, we have determined that we will return to our former method of "first-come, first-serve" in order to provide better customer service and more flexibility. We will evaluate this subject following this year's event after evaluations have been completed.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Our impressive roster of experts who will be presenting in-depth information on the latest issues and future trends in the areas of disabilities and technology will be posted on the conference web site next week.

The 2012 Pre-Conference Workshops are again, impressive and informative and will give you a reason to attend early and learn more at the conference. We invite you to review the selections on the web site and sign up as soon as possible as seating is limited.

Attendee Registration - Coming Soon!

Conference registration for attendees will open Monday, December 5th.

The hotel room block has been opened for the conference and you can reserve your accommodations now. Please check the web site for information and be sure to mention the "CSUN Conference" when making your reservations at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Keynote Address

Please mark your calendars for this year's Keynote Address at the Conference which will be held February 28, Tuesday evening, at 5:30 pm. Michael Paciello, this year's Conference Chair will host the Tuesday evening event. A Reception will follow the Keynote Address.

We are pleased to announce that this year our Keynote Speaker will be Ms. Geri Jewell. Geri Jewell is best known as Cousin Geri from the NBC sitcom, "The Facts of Life" and was the first person with a disability to have a regular role on a prime time series. Geri will bring her personal experience of having her behavior and actions misunderstood because of her cerebral palsy to her presentation. By sharing her disability as her greatest blessing, and revealing insights about the world as she sees it, Geri turns the focus from disabilities to a true celebration of ability, resulting in an inspiring, empowering and healing experience.

Please join us on Tuesday, February 28 at 5:30 pm when we open the 27th Annual Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference.

Strache Leadership Award

We are honored to announce that this year's Strache Leadership Award Recipient is Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler. As the founder and director of the University of Washington's DO-IT Center and the Access Technology Center, Dr. Burgstahler's experience and commitment makes her an excellent candidate for the award which honors leaders in the fields of disabilities and assistive technology who have contributed to educational efforts and collaborations with students with disabilities.

The Strache Leadership Award will be presented to Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler at the Keynote Address on Tuesday evening.

Exhibit Hall Opening - New Time!

Join us on Wednesday, February 29 when we open the door to the Exhibit Hall! With so many innovative products and services on display, you'll want to get your preview at the opening starting at 12:00 pm on Wednesday. We invite you to review the list of exhibitors on the conference web site to prepare your schedule and organize your time and please note the new hours for this year.

The Exhibit Hall will be located in the Douglas Pavilion on the lobby level of the hotel. The Exhibit Hall Opening Reception will be held at 12:30 pm following the opening.

Special Events and What's New at CSUN 2012

We're excited to announce that we already have several special events happening that we're sure you'll want to attend and are in the planning phases for more! More details will follow, but look for Open Sessions and Public Forums from the Department of Transportation, FEMA (Emergency Preparedness) and the U.S. Access Board.

AccessU Comes to CSUN

This year we are excited to announce a new addition to our schedule. The CSUN Conference will host Knowbility's AccessU as a "conference within a conference" on Monday and Tuesday. Knowbility's renowned program will now be presented on-site at the conference so you can attend both! Further information on this new collaboration will be posted on the web-site next week.

Deque Systems' Corporate Compliance Academy at CSUN

We invite you to join Deque Systems in their Showcase Suite for an informative and vital track that will focus on accessibility issues facing the corporate world. Special presentations and strategies will assist Fortune 500 companies, e-retailers and financial firms wanting to successfully implement an accessibility best practices model. The sessions will be presented both on-site and virtually. Stay tuned for more – the Corporate Academy will continue throughout the year with additional webinars to guide you through the compliance process.

Showcase Suites

Please be sure to visit our "special" sessions in their Showcase Suites! Conveniently located in the Elizabeth Ballroom, the Showcase Suites are open from Wednesday, February 29 through Friday, March 2. The Showcase Suites will be hosted by Deque Systems, Freedom Scientific and IBM. All presentations by these companies will be held in their suites and we're sure you'll find an abundance of other activities happening here!

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