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AFS Review: Notes

2017 AFS Annual Meeting Offers Opportunities for Students

Monday, September 11, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Meredith McGriff
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Students are a vital part of any AFS annual meeting; this year, around a quarter of preregistrants are students. AFS sent the following information to registered students to encourage them to take advantage of the many opportunities and events the meeting affords, including these designed specifically for students:

1. Connect with your fellow folklorists immediately after the opening ceremonies Wednesday evening in one (or both) of two next-door, overlapping receptions. If it’s your first AFS meeting, please join us for the AFS Executive Board’s Welcome for First–Time Attendees, 6–7:00 pm, in Ballroom Prefunction. Or mingle at the general Welcome Reception in the Atrium, 6–8:00 pm. Please plan ahead: these welcome receptions will have a cash bar, but no food.

2. AFS Public Programs Section Mixer for Students and Young Professionals. This mixer is an opportunity for graduate students to meet with public folklorists in an informal, casual setting. The AFS Public Programs Section provides a cash bar. Thursday, 6:15–7:15 pm, in St Croix II.

3. University-Sponsored Receptions. Three universities are hosting receptions for their past, current and prospective students, offering an opportunity to talk with faculty and other students:

  • The Ohio State University Dessert Reception: Thursday, 9–11:00 pm, Minnesota Room
  • Indiana University Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology Alumni reception: Friday, 9–11:00 pm, St Croix I
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland reception: Thursday, 9–11:00 pm, St Croix II

4. Graduate Students and Young Professionals Mixer. This mixer, sponsored by the AFS Graduate Student and Young Professional Section, provides time set aside specifically for mingling with other students, both undergraduate and graduate. Thursday, 10–11:45 pm, St Croix I

5. AFS Fellows Reception for Graduate Students. The AFS Fellows offer this reception as a way to welcome students to the meeting, create opportunities for networking with senior members of the field, and make clear how important students are to the health and vitality of folklore studies. The Fellows provide food and a cash bar. Friday, 5:30pm–7:00pm, St. Croix I

6.Trivia Night for Grad Students. Which folklorist drowned after falling out of a boat? Which folklorist is in the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame? These questions (and more) will be asked of you at this year’s trivia night. Come put your folklore trivia knowledge to the test! Sponsored by the AFS Graduate Student and Young Professionals Section. Friday, 10:00 pm–11:30 pm, Lake Nokomis

7.AFS Fellows Breakfast of (Folklore) Champions. Senior folklorists have breakfast with preregistered students, talking about a designated topic, as well as students’ questions and interests. The Fellows participating in this year’s breakfast, and their topics, are:

  • Neil V. Rosenberg (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Vernacular Music at the Nexus of Folklore and Popular Culture
  • Paddy Bowman (Local Learning), Looking to the Local: Folklore Education, Connecting with Multiple Audiences
  • Elissa R. Henken (University of Georgia), Folklore as a Response to Current Events
  • Margaret A. Mills (The Ohio State University, emerita), Research Design In and With Communities: The Best Laid Plans…

This Fellows–sponsored program, now in its ninth year, is a response to numerous requests for the Society to create ways for senior members of the field to engage and mentor students directly. Based in part on your evaluations of this event, the Fellows look forward to strengthening it, and creating other such opportunities, in future years.

The breakfast is Saturday, 7:00–8:30am, in St Croix I. There is no fee, but since seating is limited, advance registration is required; the eight seats per table will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, email membership director Meredith McGriff at, indicating your top two preferences as well as which school you currently attend. Please be aware when you make your request that we will not seat students with Fellows from their own institutions.

8. Volunteer Shifts: Every year, AFS staff requires some student assistance; in return for working a full shift, students will have their meeting registration fee refunded or waived. Working the registration desk involves distributing name tags and programs to those who have preregistered, assisting with registration and payments for those who register onsite, making a head count of attendees in session rooms, and various other duties as requested.

Sign-up is on a first-come, first-served basis until all slots are filled. If you are interested, please email Meredith McGriff at, indicating up to three shifts that you could cover, in order of preference:

  • Wednesday, 1–5 pm (1 needed)
  • Thursday, 7:15 am–11:15 am (2 needed)
  • Thursday, 11:15 am–3:30 pm (2 needed)
  • Friday, 7:15 am–11:15 am (1 needed)
  • Friday, 11:15 am-3:30 pm (1 needed)

9. Shadowing program. This ongoing project sponsored by the AFS Executive Board arranges mentoring opportunities for students at the annual meeting. While the deadline to participate in the program this year has already passed, please do keep this opportunity in mind for next year. See for more information.

In general, even if you’re not formally participating in the shadowing program, we urge you to be fearless in striking up conversations with established professionals at this year's meeting!

We also want to point out these additional events, which are open to all:

1. AFS Section Business meetings: There are more than 30 AFS Sections, serving as gathering places and forums within the Society for people with common interests in the field. All sections welcome new members, and invite prospective members to attend their annual business meeting to learn more about their interests and activities. See the AFS Annual Meeting program for specific meeting times and locations.

2. Cultural Diversity Committee Brown Bag Welcome Lunch. The overarching goal of the AFS Cultural Diversity Committee is to find ways to diversify attendance at the AFS annual meeting and to diversify the membership of the Society. This brown-bag lunch provides an opportunity to meet members of the Cultural Diversity Committee, to learn about the issues they are currently addressing, and to add your voice to the conversation about what we can all do to reimagine a more inclusive, activist folklore theory, practice, and Society for the 21st century. Please bring your own lunch. Thursday, 12:45-1:45 pm, in Deer Lake

Finally, those of you who are attending our meeting for the first time, should take a look at “How to Make the AFS Meeting Work Best for You" by former AFS Board member Carole Carpenter of York University at

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