Columbia Scholastic Press Association
Phone: (212) 854-9400
CSPA is affiliated with the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in the City of New York.
Conventions and Workshops
Organizing a group to travel to the convention
Tips for organizing your CSPA trip
Look for Bargains! In this recession every $ counts, and hotels, restaurants and carriers are aware of prices and are willing to accommodate!
AMTRAK has a special Northeastern fare that cuts the price from DC to NYC by $20 over last year's fare - AND features ½ price for those students under 16. http://www.amtrak.com/.
Search for special rates at hotels. AMTRAK has a partnership with http://www.hotels.com/. After you book your train, you can be directed to a hotel agent to find best rates. TIP - if you are booking 5 or fewer rooms, try http://www.travelocity.com/, http://www.orbitz.com/, http://www.hotels.com/or http://www.priceline.com/ yourself to book. This year Chantilly is staying at the Marriott Residence Inn on 6th Ave for $130 less per night than at another hotel used last year!
When in the city, get a 7 day unlimited subway pass for $27, http://www.mta.info/. Even though you may only use it for 3-4 days, it is still lower than buying the one-day passes.
For theater tickets, go with a group sales vendor if you need 15 or more tickets. Telecharge and http://www.broadwaybox.com/ are among the vendors. For Broadway Box, you put in for the shows you want and they canvass the individual box offices. They then send you invoices and you can choose among them to book. Also, you can get your tickets the day of the show greatly discounted at the TKTS kiosk in Times Square. Now you can use credit cards for purchase - a great benefit!
For dinners there are many options that won't blast your budget. Ellen's Stardust Diner on Broadway in the theater district provides great food and entertainment. Carmine's on W. 44th features family size portions and takes reservations for groups. TIP - if you have a group over 8 - make two reservations to avoid paying for group rates of about $40 per head. I have found that for a table of 8 you can get one salad, two entrees and one dessert and have food left over.
Junior's on W. 45th is also another venue that has great ice cream, cheesecake and casual entrees. The mac and cheese is addictive! I order it along with a Broadway Ice Cream Soda. Many restaurants offer a prix fixe menu for about $25. Tout Va Bien on W. 51st is a personal favorite. I suggest going to http://www.tripadvisor.com/ for suggestions. There are also many chain restaurants with predictable menus and prices to choose from. However, frequent travelers to NY know that they can get outstanding choices at great prices by trying something new and uniquely New York.
Breakfast can be a simple bagel. You will find many, many bagel stands both near hotels and near campus. Also, you can plan to arrive on campus early and try the Pinnacle across from campus. You can get carryout egg and cheese on a hard roll for for a buck and a half! Naturally there is also Starbucks, but I tell my students that the value of non-chain places and the cachet of getting your coffee in a blue and white cup as seen in Law and Order AND in a brown paper bag, is a unique NYC experience! The price for this complete breakfast is less than a Venti anything from Starbucks! Pinnacle also has slices of pizza for lunch, as do several other venues within a three block walk on campus.
The sights: NYC has an untold number of historical, cultural and tourist sites, many of them free. All are described or linked by visiting http://www.tripadvisor/ .com, or just type in NYC tourism into Google and there will be an array of choices.
Shopping: If students have never been to NYC, strolling along 5th Avenue is a must, if only to window shop. Tiffanys, H&M and Saxs are available, as is St. Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. However, if bargains are desired, SoHo and Chinatown are options to consider. In addition to the knock-off jewelry and purses, Chinatown also has shops with unusual clothing. Teach your students to haggle. You NEVER pay full price in Chinatown, or from street vendors in the theater district.
Compiled by Mary Kay Downes, CSPAA President
Have your kids all wear staff shirts or the same color on travel days. This will help you navigate through the airport
Remind kids to bring plenty of homework for the plane/bus ride.
Appoint a fun director for the trip, especially if you're taking a long bus ride! Have spontaneous trivia contests or dance contests in between movies. Give away silly prizes or great journalistic gifts, like a flash drive or tape recorder. They can be used at the convention!
Get your staff parents to donate snack items for your kids on their trip and make up goody bags to have on their seats when they board the bus or to pass out as the get ready to get on their plane!
Create a business card-sized card with all kids and chaperones cell phone numbers in 5 pt font for all kids and chaperones to carry. Have them program numbers in their phones, too.
Granola bars and fruit are cheaper when purchased at the grocery store then at the airport or hotel gift shop. The hotel will more than likely provide some "kid friendly" food items during the convention.
Don't forget your digital cameras and back-up memory cards and batteries (plus the charger!)
Have your kids pack exchange publications in their suitcases.
Tables will be set up for these and the swap shops will be a great place to exchange with folks from all over the country!
Allow yourself a little time to get fare cards at the Metro if you haven't made arrangements already.
Remind kids to pack lightly - they will want to have room for everything the get at the trade show and in sessions as well as other souvenirs!
Develop some type of buddy system so that kids stay together in groups.
Develop an accountability system so that kids will have to provide information they've learned in sessions when they return home.
Make sure someone is responsible for supervising your kids in the hotel, especially at night.
And finally, use this trip as an opportunity to help build the character of our young people. Teach them how important it is to say thank you to the speakers they hear. Teach them how important it is to be quiet and respectful when they are in a session so that everyone can learn. Teach them how to be good sports when they win or lose.
Teach them the value of this experience - it's like no other. Teach them that they have the same potential as any other teenager in the world, it's what they do with that potential that counts. Teach them the importance of always seeking the TRUTH with integrity and ethical standards. Have FUN, grow together as a staff and soak in as much knowledge as you can in the next few days!
Provided by Mary Kay Downes, CSPAA President
as a PDF document.
Convention TipsI've been taking publication students to the CSPA convention for 31 years. The following are a few of our favorite places. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
For your students to get a feel for the city consider including these sightseeing spots.
CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE
The Top of the Rock is also located here; it's great for a birds-eye view of Manhattan plus you can get student rates and reserve your time, no waiting in line. www.TopOfTheRockNyc.com
SAINT PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL
THE SOUTH STREET SEAPORT
GROUND ZERO / THE FORMER WORLD TRADE CENTER SITE
My favorite is the Ground Zero Museum Workshop, it's very small but an unbelievably emotional experience. It features photos, memorabilia and commentary on what happened after 9/11. The man who runs it was the New York Fire department's official photographer. You must book in advance.
The other favorite museums of my students: Guggenheim, www.guggenheim.org; Metropolitan Museum of Art, www.metmuseum.org; Museum of Natural History, www.amnh.org ; Whitney Museum, www.whitney.org ; Museum of Modern Art, www.moma.org; all have excellent web sites and all offer educator/student discount rates; don't pay full price. Be prepared, Saturdays are their busiest days. The Whitney is the smallest of those listed but it has some of the most interesting exhibits.
STATEN ISLAND FERRY
LINCOLN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
SONY WONDER TECHNOLOGY LAB
Provided by Kathleen Zwiebel, CSPAA Immediate Past President.
Things I have learned
Of all the things I've learned about bringing students to the spring convention, here are the best, I think:
Provided by Ray Westbrook, CSPAA Vice-President
as a PDF document.
CSPA is an international student press association, founded in 1925, whose goal is to unite student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges, textbooks, critiques and award programs.