Posted on March 9th in General

Your Guide to PTK Catalyst 2018

Are you PTK Catalyst bound? If so, you probably have questions, and we have the answers.

Because PTK Catalyst will be a first-time experience for many of you, we’ve put together a guide for what to expect. Convention veterans, please share this guide on social media, add your insights, and assist those who may look a little lost in Kansas City.

First things first: Make sure you’re registered, and book your lodging. Special dietary needs? Tell us by March 23.

What to Pack

The most important thing to pack is comfortable footwear. The Kansas City Convention Center is massive, and you’ll be walking to and from your hotel each day.

Attire is another big question for first-time PTK Catalyst attendees. How casual or professional should you dress? Most people will be in business casual, and a few people in dressy casual. Don’t break the bank buying a whole new wardrobe; just find what you feel confident and professional in, and rock it.

You may want to opt for something dressier for Saturday’s Hallmark Awards Gala. Most people dress up for this — some even wear formal attire — but it isn’t required.

Make sure you pack any prescription medications, extra contact lenses or glasses, toiletries, and any over-the-counter remedies you might need.

Where to Go

It’s easy to get lost at a conference this large. Check a map to find your meeting room destination before setting out and allow plenty of time to get from one event to the next. Don’t be afraid to ask your fellow members for help — find strength in numbers and make a few friends along the way.

The energy at convention is electric; everyone is excited, and the sense of community and belonging is wonderful. But sometimes you might feel a little overwhelmed and need a break. Visitors and locals alike enjoy strolling near the convention center in Barney Allis Plaza, a tree-lined urban park with fountains, sculptures, and seating areas.

Also, try to get some rest during downtime so you can enjoy the events. If you have extra time, enjoy these 33 free things to do in Kansas City.

Where to Eat

With all this activity, you will need to refuel. At PTK Catalyst 2018, we’re including more meals than ever — two lunches and two dinners. Lunch and dinner on both Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, are on us.

If you need to eat out in the area for other meals, you’ll find plenty of quick and inexpensive options at restaurants surrounding the convention center.

What to Buy

While you’re in the Marketplace, visit with convention sponsors and partners, shop the PTK Store, get your questions about scholarships and PTK programs answered by staff experts, and find souvenirs to take home from chapters around the world who’ll be selling various items as fundraisers.

Don’t forget to purchase your PTK Catalyst 2018 t-shirt early — these will sell out. It will soon be available online, and it’s what all your fashionable friends will be wearing.

At the PTK Foundation booth, pick up a commemorative convention pin. We’ll have one themed for PTK Catalyst, a limited-edition one celebrating our centennial, and even select vintage ones. All proceeds will benefit the Golden Opportunity Scholarship Fund. Our goal is to raise enough money to provide 300 scholarships to in-need students in the next academic year.

You may also want to pick up some bottled water to stay hydrated and some healthy snacks to take with you or have in your hotel room. Be mindful of charges to your hotel room resulting from taking food and beverages from the mini fridge. Hotel and convention center prices are usually steep, but you’ll find convenient markets/delis nearby where you can stock up. With your PTK Catalyst name badge, you can get discounts from these Kansas City businesses.

What to Expect

  1. General Sessions
    The main point of PTK Catalyst is to recognize and celebrate the hard work you’ve done all year long. The convention is divided into different segments called General Sessions. This is where you will hear from the keynote speakers, and various awards and recognitions are presented.
  2. Educational Forums
    Between these general sessions, there will be educational forums, breakout sessions, regional meetings, and more. If this sounds like a lot to keep track of, don’t worry. There’s a ton of info online, including a detailed schedule. And when you get to the convention center, you will get a lanyard and all the important information will be in a packet; there will also be instructions given at the end of each general session.
  3. International Officer Campaign
    Another facet of PTK Catalyst is the campaign for International Office. Each year members elect five students to represent them and bridge the gap between Phi Theta Kappa headquarters and the students they serve. This process involves a live Candidate Caucus and the candidates campaigning in booths set up in the Marketplace.

    Each chapter has a voting delegate who tries to visit with each of the candidates in every race and decide who to vote for. It is very important to note that every chapter votes in every race: International President and International Vice Presidents for Divisions 1, 2, 3, and 4.

  4. Transfer Fair
    If you’re planning to transfer to a four-year college, you’ll want to visit the Senior College Transfer Fairs and Lunch on April 20 and 21. It’s the largest transfer fair in the country! See a full list of participating colleges.
  5. Convention Competitions
    Enjoy the contests as members vie for the top spots in the Prepared Speech, Job Interview, and Scholar Bowl competitions.
  6. Hallmark Awards Gala
    At the very end of the convention, we have the Hallmark Awards Gala, where we’ll reward chapters for their hard work, name the Most Distinguished Chapter, and induct the 2018-19 International Officers.
  7. Two Birthday Parties
    Phi Theta Kappa is turning 100, and you’ll be the special guests at two special celebrations. Dress casual on Friday evening and join in the friendly competition with Phi Theta Kappa members from around the world. Brush up on your skills for a little human foosball, sumo wrestling, or corn hole, and be ready for some gravity-defying experiences too! Then we’ll dance the night away to music from Missouri’s best DJ.

    On Saturday evening you’ll want to dress to impress for a posh party with aerial entertainment, a prestigious band, celebrations, and a surprise ending to it all.

There’s nothing quite like PTK Catalyst. This guide will serve you well as you prepare to join us for the #PTKPartyoftheCentury in Kansas City, Missouri, April 19-21.

For the latest news about PTK Catalyst 2018, follow PTK on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and subscribe to The Reach blog.

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