A Year Without ACUP
IT WAS with a sense of dread that I opened the e-mail from Richard Griffin last month. Griffin, manager of Central Piedmont Community College’s in-plant (and occasional writer for IPG) had graciously and enthusiastically volunteered to host the 2009 Association of College and University Printers (ACUP) conference. He and his co-hosts had made grand preparations for the event in Myrtle Beach, S.C., lined up excellent speakers and brought in strong vendor support. Then, after months of promotion, came this e-mail:
“We regret to tell you that, in consultation with the ACUP Board, we’ve postponed ACUP 2009.” With one click of the send button, the hearts of past attendees around the globe were broken. For you see, ACUP did not wither away due to lack of interest; rather it met its fate due to economy-related travel bans instituted at hundreds of schools around the country. University managers who hadn’t missed an ACUP in ages were told they could not attend.
The cancellation of one of the in-plant industry’s main events was a shock. It’s not that I hadn’t seen it coming; over the previous week, I’d read a flurry of e-mails begging anyone who hadn’t gotten around to registering to quickly do so. But the sheer love that ACUP attendees have for their conference made it hard to imagine this ever happening.
Always a well-attended, lively affair, ACUP had taken place every year since 1964. It was one of the first conferences I attended, back in 1995, and it has always been my favorite. I think this is because of the openness and enthusiasm of attendees, who have accepted me as one of their own. Newcomers always feel welcome, and conversations flow freely.
To keep ACUP alive, Griffin had been willing to hold a scaled-down event. But hotels can be sticklers when you’ve signed a contract promising to fill a large number of rooms. Also, some sponsoring vendors had become reluctant to participate in an event with so few attendees.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.