Guidelines for Local Organizing Committees

General Information

The New York State Section holds its semi-annual meetings throughout New York State at locations were an active nucleus of interest in physics exists. The aim is to bring its meetings particularly to those communities which might otherwise not have the opportunity of profiting by the presence of representatives of the American Physical Society. The advantages of the personal contacts possible in relatively small meetings are important. For practical reasons the meeting locale must have an adequate lecture hall and other physical facilities to conduct a meeting of up to 300 persons. It must have an energetic group who will constitute a Local Committee and who are willing to carry out the numerous details necessary for a smoothly operating and successful meeting.

Invitations from institutions (academic, industrial, or government) interested in the State Section conducting a future meeting in its community are carefully considered by the Officers and Executive Committee of the Section. Such interest should be expressed to the Secretary/Treasurer of the State Section or to any member of the Executive Committee.

Each year the Section holds a spring symposium, usually in April, and a fall symposium, usually in October. The program is a symposium of 10-12 talks on a topic of timely interest in physics. The program topic is determined by the Executive Committee, and the interests of the local physics community inviting the State Section are given careful consideration in selecting the topic. No contributed papers are sought or will be given at the symposium; papers are delivered by invitation only. The Vice Chair of the Section is the Program Chair and his or her goal is to seek the most eminent authorities in their fields who are at the same time creditable speakers. There are no geographical boundaries on the selection of speakers. Normally the symposium occupies all day Friday, and Saturday morning.

Local Committee Responsibilities

  1. Local arrangements and planning is the responsibility of the Local Chair, appointed by the Executive Committee of the State Section. The responsibilities of the Local Chair include:
    1. Appointment of a Local Committee;
    2. Rigorously following the Guidelines For Local Committee Planning Local Arrangements for Meetings;
    3. Participation in the site visit by Section Officers;
    4. Preparation of the General Information section of the program following the format specified by the Secretary/Treasurer, and furnishing of a map suitable for reproduction;
    5. Receiving and accounting for funds from registrants;
    6. Providing all funds received and documentation for expenses to be paid to Secretary/Treasurer;
    7. Keeping an accounting of meeting statistics and reporting them as specified on the meeting report form;
    8. Arrangements for meeting registration on Thursday night before the symposium, and on Friday and Saturday of the symposium;
    9. Presenting a synopsis report of meeting preparations to the Executive Committee meeting on Thursday preceding the meeting;
    10. Completing the report form and transmitting it to the Secretary/Treasurer of the State Section immediately after the meeting is over.
  2. The Local Committee is responsible for all local arrangements. Its major activities normally start with a "site visit" by at least two Section Officers about four months prior to the meeting. However, the Committee is encouraged to begin planning as soon as it is formed. The Secretary/Treasurer should be contacted regarding any questions.
  3. The State Section's Vice-Chair is responsible for organizing the symposium around which the meeting is built and for issuing invitations to speakers. All invitations to speak must be coordinated by the Vice Chair.
  4. The selection of a Friday evening Popular Lecturer is a complex process in almost all cases. The natural occasion for distributing responsibilities (for invitation and arrangements) is at the site visit. If the speaker turns out to be "local", the Local Committee will take full charge of arrangements. The Section Chair and Vice Chair have the ultimate responsibility for deciding on a mutually satisfactory speaker or program.
  5. The Secretary/Treasurer is responsible for printing and mailing the Program Announcement, registration forms, and other non-local advertising.
  6. If the meeting is to be subsidized by local patrons, arrangements are made by the Chair of the State Section and the Chair of the Local Committee working together. Any request for support must be done in coordination with the Chair or Secretary/Treasurer of the Section as this is a sensitive area that could affect the Section's standing as a tax-exempt organization.

Site Visit

The Local Committee meets with State Section Officers in the meeting location about four months ahead of a proposed meeting to visit the local facilities. This generally means a thorough preliminary examination of items listed under Local Arrangements, Local Committee Duties, Icebreaker Session, and Local Financial Support (below).


  • Date: Approximately 4 months prior to meeting
  • Attending: Section officers (at least two, including the Secretary/Treasurer); local committee including its chair and treasurer (if different)
  • Noon: Lunch meeting at headquarters hotel/motel (all attendees). Main topics for discussion, with State Section Secretary/Treasurer presiding:
    1. Briefing on non-financial local arrangements
    2. Public lecture speaker (or program) choices (general discussion of priorities)
  • 1:30 Meeting of section and local committee officers with hotel/motel management
  1. Checkout proposed banquet hall (if there)
  2. Checkout of Executive Committee meeting room
  3. Checkout of Icebreaker arrangements
  4. Discussion of reservation procedures

Evening Speaker

The Local Committee may make suggestions to the Program Chair (the State Section's Vice Chair) for the Friday Evening speaker (or program). Anyone, registered or not, is welcome to attend this program. Under special circumstances the lecture may be replaced by an appropriate function, such as a concert.

Local Committee Duties

General Information for Program

Through its Chair, the Local Committee provides the General Information data to the Secretary/Treasurer in the format used on the back page of the printed programs. The program format below indicates the items for which details are needed and the attached sample program shows final printed form.

  1. Logistics

    Important details which must be done with care for a successful meeting include arrangements for:

    • Lecture hall facilities for the Technical Sessions: lights, slide projectors, viewgraphs, communication with projectionists, etc.
    • Printing all tickets
    • Name badges
    • Placards and signs
    • Local publicity -- special notices to area professional societies, etc.
    • Registration desk arrangements
    • Friday Banquet Hall, banquet planning (menu, cost, etc.)
    • Friday Social Hour arrangements (location, bar, snacks, etc.)
    • Luncheon details
    • Coffee break details (Friday, 2; Saturday, 1)
    • Financial accounting
    • Arrangements with the Headquarters Motel or Hotel
    • Confirming Speakers' Motel reservations on request
    • Information on accommodations
    • Parking details
    • Campus and area maps (JPEG or GIF images needed for NYSS home page)
    • Special rooms as needed
    • Arrangements for Executive Committee Meeting on Thursday: meeting will begin with dinner at 6:00 and be followed by a business meeting. An appropriate place to eat should be reserved with room for the meeting provided for.
    • Person to provide Welcome address
    • Friday Evening Program arrangements (program, location)

The Local Committee should provide secretarial services for accounting of advance mail registration and funds and ticket sales. These services should prepare name tags and prepaid tickets for advance mail registrants and have them ready to pick up on pre-registrant arrival. They should also prepare name tags and complimentary banquet tickets for all invited speakers and spouses. It has been expedient to assemble such materials in individual envelopes.

A Registration Desk must be staffed on Thursday evening, preceding the symposium for early arrivals. It is generally best to do this at the Headquarters motel. The registration desk must be staffed on Friday and Saturday at the symposium. On Friday morning at least two desks are needed, one with badges and prepaid tickets ready for those who have preregistered, and the other for new registrants. It is up to the Local Committee to set up its own system of accounting at the Registration Desks, but certain guidelines should be observed:

  1. Use only oversize type for name tags; a number of software pacages will produce labels and Avery Labels make name tags.
  2. Be prepared to issue receipts for attendees requiring them for travel accounts.
  3. Accept the registrants' word regarding State Section membership; however, if they are unsure request that they pay the non-member fee. If it turns out that they are in fact a member, the over-charge will be refunded by the Secretary/Treasurer. Note: speakers, spouses, official APS guests, and students pay no registration fee.
  4. In accepting new membership applications, check legibility and completeness of address. Record whether or not applicant is a member of an AIP organization.


No meeting Proceedings are published. The State Section has accumulated much experience in recording the talks on tape, film and by reporters for subsequent use, and may continue to experiment along these lines. It can, in general, be said that the more successful experiments required elaborate preparations and editing, and were very costly in time and effort and often in equipment. The counsel and experience of the State Section officers are at the disposal of Local Committees who contemplate such an undertaking. Sometimes students are asked to report some of the lectures as seminar assignments, but these arrangements are made on a local basis. Photos, newspaper clippings and the like can be given to the Secretary/Treasurer for transmittal to the Sections Archives, and they are welcome.

Local Financial Support

The meetings are frequently not self-supporting and financial sponsorship may be solicited from local industry and organizations which feel that a special benefit is derived from the presence of a meeting in their area. Often the host institution provides the coffee breaks. Sometimes a meeting cash deficit is divided among several patrons each contributing an equal amount up to some pre-meeting agree-upon limit. Appointments to the Local Committee are sometimes influenced by these factors. Any such financial arrangements are handled jointly by the local Chair and the State Section Chair. It must be emphasized theat the State Section is not dependent on local financial support, however welcome, and lack of it will not be a deterrent to holding a meeting. Any request for sponsorship must be coordinated with the Section Chair or the Secretary/Treasurer.

Attendance Statistics

An average meeting will have 50-150 preregistrations; 100-200 registrants, and 70-125 at the banquet. Generally plan for 70 at the banquet unless there are special considerations that suggest a larger number (example: Isaac Asimov is the speaker).


The Secretary/Treasurer is responsible for printing the programs and advance registration forms and mailing them. Also, it is desirable to print the program and general information in the APS News. That requires that all program and general information be complete and given to the Secretary/Treasurer by May 31 for the fall symposium and by November 30 for the spring symposium. Program and general information, as well as a registration form and maps are placed on the World Wide Web home page at as soon as they are available from the Local Committee.

Accounting by the Local Committee

The Local Committee is responsible for receiving and accounting for all funds. However all receipts will be deposited by the Secretary/Treasurer and all bills, upon proper documentation, will be paid by the Secretary/Treasurer. This is necessary to satisfy auditing requirements of the American Physical Society. A check for advance operating funds may be issued to the Local Committee by the Secretary/Treasurer.