2020 Virtual Convention FAQ


General Questions

In what time zone are the times in the program listed?

U.S. Eastern time.

What is a virtual convention?

A virtual convention involves most of the elements you would expect with an in-person event, including plenary and concurrent sessions, workshops, posters, receptions, exhibit hall, and a career fair. All of these are accessible through a website. You will see video of presentations along with presentation slides and be able to ask presenters questions when they get to audience Q&A. Likewise, you can visit and communicate with exhibitors. Some events will be live, and others will involve recorded content with real-time presenter chat. Unlike an in-person event, all sessions will be recorded and accessible to you during the convention and through the end of 2020. 

Can I register and share my login with someone else?

Only convention registrants can login to the virtual convention and be recognized for continuing education credit. Sharing a login or attempting to rebroadcast convention content to someone else is prohibited. Our virtual convention partner has tools in place to identify any violations and terminate the registered user’s registration without refund and forfeiture of all continuing education credits earned. 

I want to register a group of people at one time, how can I do that?

Send an email to membership@safnet.org with an attached Excel spreadsheet with the first and last name of each person, along with full contact information and t-shirt size (if before August 31). If the user’s ID is known, please include that for each as well. Please also indicate how you would like to pay. SAF staff will verify membership status and contact you.

How late can I register?

You can register anytime from now through the duration of the convention; however, we recommend that you register at least 24 hours in advance to ensure you have your login information ready for the start of the convention.

Can I register for just one day?

Single day registration is not available. SAF reduced registration pricing by 45% from the in-person rates, which means that registration for the entire convention is approximately the same price as an in-person day pass. 

How many people can participate in a virtual convention? At an individual connection point? General capacity? Per presentation space – plenary, workshops, technical sessions?

There is no limitation to the number of people that can collectively participate in the virtual convention. SAF’s virtual convention partner has sufficient bandwidth to handle several thousand participants in a single presentation or any combination of sessions. Regarding how many can participate via your own internet connection, that will depend on your office or household internet bandwidth. Most business connections are built to handle their employee’s needs, but you should consult your company’s IT department regarding bandwidth for streaming video. Generally speaking, with a household connection, two individuals should be able to participate at the same time on a broadband connection with a download speed of 25Mbps or more per second. A good test is it have all users stream video from YouTube (or a similar streaming service) at the same time on the same connection to see if there is any latency or rebuffering. If that functions well, you shouldn’t experience any issues with our convention.  

Is there a risk of the virtual convention site crashing? What happens if the convention site crashes?

SAF’s virtual convention platform has sufficient bandwidth to avoid any crashes based on volume and employs industry leading practices (like Google and Amazon) to safeguard against any technological disruption, as well as redundancies to restore functionality quickly. In the unlikely event of disruption, processes are in place to restore functionality. Widespread power outages (brown-outs/black-outs), the severing of telecom cables, and acts of God cannot be ruled out as minimal but potential risks.         

What happens if the presentation I am watching crashes?

CommPartners, SAF’s virtual convention service provider, has dedicated technical support personnel to assist with any virtual convention issues. Guidance on seeking support will be available on the convention website and in information provided to you prior to the start of the convention. 

Do I need to stay connected to the convention the entire time?

There is no requirement for you to stay connected all the time or participate in all sessions. You have the flexibility to set your own schedule. There are live events, such as plenaries and the Friday Focus On sessions. If you wish to see them in real-time, we encourage you plan your schedule accordingly. All live sessions will be recorded and available on demand following the live session through the end of the 2020 calendar year. 
  

What happens if I need to step away from the convention?

Everybody needs a break. Should you need to step away from the convention you can logout or remain connected and pick-up where you left off upon your return. For any live events involving a camera, we encourage you to turn off your camera and mute your microphone when stepping away.

Will the presentations be live or recorded?

There will be a mixture of live and recorded presentations. All presentations, where the presenters have agreed to SAF recording of them, will ultimately be available on demand to registered attendees through the end of 2020. 

How do I connect with the national staff?

SAF will have a virtual booth during the convention. Click on the link to enter the exhibit hall and click on SAF’s booth. Resources and contact information will be available along with live chat.

I usually renew my membership at convention, how can I do that with the virtual convention?

To ensure you received the discounted member registration rate for the convention, we encourage you to renew your membership prior to registering by going to www.safnet.org/renewnow and logging in. If your membership is in good standing and you want to renew during the convention, you can proceed to the SAF booth in the Exhibit Hall and follow the link to renew membership. If you need to make changes prior to renew or need additional assistance, you can contact staff using direct email links, the chat function, or call us.

How will virtual networking work?

You will find networking events located under Engagement Center on the virtual convention website. Each of these virtual receptions will have its own flavor with different themes and content. You will have the ability to share your video and interact through the chat functionality in the collective or privately.

How will I interact with exhibitors?

To explore the many solutions our exhibitors can offer, visit Exhibit Hall on the virtual convention website, where you will find an alphabetical listing of sponsors and exhibitors. Click on the exhibitor you would like to visit to explore their resources. Many will have product information brochures, photos, and videos. You can engage in discussion with exhibitors using the chat function either publicly or privately. Some exhibitors will also have “Zoom Rooms,” where you can have a live video conversation with exhibitor staff. You can also participate in Innovation Zone presentation offered by our sponsors and exhibitors. Refer to the schedule to see what sessions are available. 

Will there be alumni receptions?

SAF is working with several colleges and universities to explore their interest in virtual alumni receptions. For those planning receptions, we will provide links to them in the Engagement Center on the virtual convention website.

Will there be a career fair?

There will be a virtual career fair where you will be able to explore different employers and chat with their staff either through a chat function or a live Zoom Meetings room.

Will there be posters?

There will be posters and poster chats. Please visit Posters within the virtual convention and consult the schedule for chats to learn more about this great research. 

How will the Foresters Fund auction work?

The Foresters Fund auction will be hosted online with items that have been donated. There will be a link to the auction on the virtual convention website to view and bid on the items. We will mail each item to the winning bidder. If you would like to donate an item to the auction, please visit www.eforester.org/Safconvention/SAF_Auction/safconvention2020/Events/SAF_Auction.aspx

Are there any tours?

After careful evaluation regarding safety and feasibility, SAF decided that in-person and virtual tours will not be offered this year. 

Is the quiz bowl happening?

Following consultation with university faculty advisors to transition quiz bowl into a virtual event, they overwhelmingly recommended that SAF wait until the next in-person convention to conduct a quiz bowl, therefore there will be no quiz bowl for 2020. 

Is there a mobile app to help manage my schedule?

The official SAF 2020 mobile app will be available for download through the Apple App Store and Google Play in late September. The official app is produced by X-CD Technologies. Through the app you will be able to manage your schedule. 

I registered early. When will my free t-shirt arrive?

SAF will mail t-shirts that were included with registration, in late September to arrive prior to the start of the convention. We encourage you to wear the t-shirt during the convention.

Accessing the Virtual Convention

How will I know where to go to join the virtual convention?

A few days prior to the start of the virtual convention, a link to the website will be posted on the SAF convention website at www.safconvention.org. SAF staff will also email you in advance of the convention start with the location of the virtual convention website and details on how to login.

What do I do if I forgot my login information?

Prior to the start of the convention we encourage you to visit www.safnet.org/signin and use the links to retrieve your username and/or reset your password. Your login to the virtual convention is the same as what you use to login to the SAF website. If the convention has started, you can go to the virtual convention website and click on Login or Register. You will find links to retrieve your username and reset your password.

What if I thought I registered, but I can’t gain access?

First ensure that you have your login credentials available and that they are correct. Your login credentials (username and password) are the same as those you use to login to SAF’s website, www.safnet.org. At the top of the virtual convention website, there will be a link, Login or Register. Please follow it to get registered or retrieve login information. 

What browser is required to participate?

You can use your choice of Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari to participate in the convention. While other browsers may work, we have verified that these specific browsers will connect without issue. Please note that Internet Explorer is incompatible with our virtual convention.

What kind of internet connection do I need to participate?

You will need a DSL or broadband connection, via cable or satellite, or better to participate. Dial-up connections will not have sufficient bandwidth to stream our multimedia presentations. A quick test is to see if you can stream a YouTube video without the video pausing to re-buffer. If it pauses/re-buffers, try another video. If you can stream video without interruption, your connection is sufficient for the convention. If not, we encourage you to find an alternate connection. 

What type of device do I need to use to participate?

The SAF Convention can be accessed from a desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device. With our heavy usage of video and presentation slides, the best experience will come from using either a desktop or laptop computer, or a mobile device using a larger external display. If you will be engaging in workshops or live events, ensure that your device is equipped with a camera and microphone and that your privacy settings will allow them to work with your preferred internet browser. 

What kind of computer settings and set up do I need to participate?

You will need a computer with Windows, iOS, or Linux based operating system or a mobile device with an Android or iOS operating system, a stable internet connection (either wired or wi-fi), and an internet browser such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Edge or Safari. If you plan to participate in any workshops, networking receptions, or the career fair, we encourage you to use a device equipped with a camera and a microphone. These are not required for accessing plenary and technical sessions, interacting with exhibitors, or viewing posters. For any interactive sessions where you will use your microphone or camera, you will want to check the privacy settings on your device to ensure it allows applications to access them. 

How will I be able to ask the presenters questions?

You will be able to ask presenters for live and recorded presentations questions using a chat function on that session’s page. For live sessions, a moderator will prompt the presenter(s) to answer questions. For recorded sessions, presenters will be available to answer questions during the presentation’s scheduled time via the chat function. This functions much like sending a text message on a mobile phone. If you are unfamiliar with that, you type a question into the chat box and click on the submit button for the presenter to see your question.

Will there be a tutorial on how the virtual convention works prior to the convention?

SAF will offer a webinar one to two weeks before the start of the convention to walk through the virtual convention and functionality. SAF staff and technical support will be available through the duration of the event to help you with any issues.

What will happen if I have technical difficulties with the virtual convention?

No matter where you are in the convention a help button will be at the top of the page. Please click it and help will be on the way.

What presentation platforms will be used?

Most SAF convention content will be delivered via Zoom Webinar behind a protected wall through our virtual convention provider, CommPartners. Live content will be delivered via Zoom Meetings with the link hidden to prevent intrusion or sharing. ChatRoll will be the platform used for interaction with presenters and exhibitors.

My employer has placed restrictions on the use of Zoom Meetings and/or Webinar, how will that affect my ability to connect to view the live program?

If you will be using a corporate-issued device and/or internet connection, please consult your corporate policy and abide by it. If that policy prevents you from participating, we suggest that you use a personal device and connection not subject to restrictions.

How is the Zoom Webinar access secure?

Unlike direct use of Zoom Webinar, which is already secure, our virtual convention provider has built in additional layers of security to prevent intrusions. Having conducted thousands of Zoom Webinar sessions for hundreds of clients, our provider has never had an intrusion. 

Continuing Education Questions

How many CFEs can I earn?

You can earn up to 70 CFEs between the days of the convention and your continued access to sessions through the remainder of 2020. 

What do I need to do to earn my CFEs?

To earn CFEs you will watch a presentation in entirety and submit the verification code when it becomes available at the end of the presentation. Once you view the presentations you choose, be sure to enter the verification code prior to navigating to another session. Entering the correct verification code will be recorded with a boxed check mark. CFEs will automatically post to your SAF CFE record in our database by the end of day. No further form or submissions will be involved.
 

How will you gauge participation so no one can game the system to earn CFEs?

Presentations eligible for CFEs will require a verification code. This code will be announced at the end of the presentation. 

Will you issue certificates?

SAF will not be issuing certificates.

Will I be able to earn CFEs after the convention ends?

Unlike an in-person event, you will be able to continue earning CFEs after the convention ends. Convention sessions will remain available to you through the remainder of the 2020 calendar year and the process for earning credits will remain the same as during the event.

When will my CFEs show in my CFE record?

CFEs will appear automatically on your record by the end of the day following completion of the presentation and entry of the announced verification code.

Can my CFEs rollover to the next certification cycle?

CFEs may not rollover to the next certification cycle. 

I’m recertifying this year, how can my CFEs be applied to the next certification cycle?

For those who are due to recertify between November 1 and December 30, you can continue to earn CFEs that may apply to the next certification cycle. Up to 70 CFEs, cumulatively, earned during and after convention may count towards the current and next certification cycle depending on the dates earned.

What do I need to do to earn ISA CEUs?

For ISA certificants, you can earn ISA CEUs by viewing a session in entirety, entering each presentation’s verification code, and completing the brief survey following the ISA pre-approved session’s workshop, discussion, or collection of presentations. Be sure to have your ISA certification ID ready. ISA CEUs are only available October 29-31. SAF will submit the ISA survey completion report to ISA. 

How many ISA CEUs can I earn?

SAF has applied for ISA CEU pre-approval and is awaiting a response from ISA. We will update this response when we learn more.

Cancellation Questions 

What happens if I need to cancel my registration?

We encourage you to email membership@safnet.org with “Cancel SAF2020 Registration” in the subject line and ensure you provide your name and phone number in the body of your email. Alternatively, you can call (303) 897-8720, M-F, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET.

Can I switch my registration to another person?

If you registered individually and require a refund, you will need to cancel and the other person register. If you do not require a refund, please send an email to membership@safnet.org with “SAF2020 Registration Transfer” in the subject line, instructing us to transfer your registration to the named individual, including that person’s full name, email address, and phone number. We encourage you to copy that individual on the email to make them aware of your request.

What is the deadline to cancel my registration?

You may cancel your registration and request a full refund until 6:00 PM ET on September 28,2020. A $75 administrative fee will be deducted from the total refund due. Refund requests received after that date will not be accepted except in the case of a personal emergency occurring on or before October 28, 2020. SAF reserves the right to request verification prior to issuing a refund.

Will I get a refund if I cancel?

You will receive a refund, less an administrative fee of $75, if you cancel before 6:00 PM ET on September 28, 2020.