SIGCHI Complimentary Registration, Conference Courtesies, and Conference Support Guidelines for SIGCHI Sponsored Conferences

Effective Date: June 1, 2014
Replaces: SIGCHI Complimentary Registration, Conference Courtesies, and Conference Support Policy for CHI Conferences, January 1, 1995
Responsible SIGCHI Officer: Vice-President for Conferences
Last updated: Jan 26, 2019 (to fix guidance issues)
This document outlines all courtesies (e.g., complimentary registration) that volunteers may receive at a SIGCHI sponsored conference.


SIGCHI conferences are largely volunteer run. From the Chairs to each individual volunteer, many people contribute to the making of successful and prestigious events. Volunteers participate for a variety of reasons. There is no way that SIGCHI can fully compensate these volunteers for their time and energy.

The purpose of this policy is to set expectations on the part of volunteers and to provide budgeting and implementation guidance to conference chairs. We further note that chairs should fully engage with their steering committee on making decisions within this policy as any decision in one year can have serious and negative consequences on the viability and sustainability of a conference series. 

This policy is intended to establish the level of courtesies extended to the volunteers and other persons from year to year and from conference to conference. This policy is applicable to the annual CHI Conferences as well as ongoing conference series sponsored or co-sponsored (over 50%) by SIGCHI.


In the past several years, there has been a growing dependence on contractor support to off load the historically severe burdens on volunteers. There continue to be increases in direct costs associated with each attendee at a conference. Increased budget pressures reflecting the economic times and increases in direct costs require more careful attention to the allocation of resources reflected in the conference budgets.


SIGCHI has adopted six goals for the conferences which it is responsible for managing. These are:

  1. Bring in new people to the field
  2. Develop people in the SIGCHI community
  3. Keep the HCI field intellectually, technically and creatively alive
  4. Disseminate information to conference participants and the field
  5. Develop reputation and recognition of HCI as a field and SIGCHI as the leading organization in the field
  6. Support HCI research and practice through educational activities, networking opportunities, and the exchange of ideas

This policy is written to support these goals within SIGCHI conferences. Specifically, the policy establishes mechanisms to:

  • Meet the needs of volunteers and others who need access or resources to do their jobs.
  • Support students, in recognition of their importance to the future of the field.
  • Provide appropriate courtesies to SIGCHI guests, the press, etc.
  • Waive registration fees for those who are unable to participate in conference activities because of their role in the conference.

It is desirable to have the elected officials of the Society or the SIG attend the conferences which are sponsored by SIGCHI. While in attendance, they must be available to conduct society or SIG business or to meet with the membership, and it is therefore unreasonable to expect them or their organizations to pay their registrations at the conference.

Conference chairs have undertaken the management of a complex process, and many factors enter into achieving a successful conference. Conference chairs must have necessary flexibility to use this policy to achieve the vision of their conference. This policy does not preclude chairs from extending courtesies which they feel are necessary to carry out the vision of their conference, which are financially responsible and do not violate existing ACM guidelines.


Several forms of courtesies are addressed by this policy. These include complimentary registration, Committee Dinner, Thank You Party, honorariums, direct support, and conference products.

Complimentary registration includes full Conference registration (currently defined as admission to the technical program and social events and those conference products distributed to all paying attendees, not additional costs like paid workshops and courses).

The Committee Dinner is an event that some conferences host to recognize their committee.
The Thank You Party is an event that is often held at the conclusion of the conference.
Honorariums are commonly paid to certain invited speakers, such as plenary speakers, as compensation for their contribution to a conference.

Direct support might include housing support for the duration of the conference.

Conference products (Course Notes, proceedings, etc.) are those products of the conference available to attendees.



Press are those accredited members of the reporting press. The intent of this policy is to allow members of the reporting press who would otherwise not attend the conference to have full access to the conference venues and conference materials. Reporting press are those accredited members of the press who write for industry publications (newsletters, magazines, electronic publications, etc.), newspapers, and the broadcast media. The reporting press does not include editors of academic or scholarly journals.

Invited speakers

Plenary Speakers: Speakers who are invited by the Conference Chairs to present to the entire body of attendees.

Other Invited Contributors: Contributors who are invited at the discretion of the Conference Chairs.

Officials of the SIG and Society

The ACM Executive Committee, which includes the ACM President, Vice-President, Secretary/Treasurer, SIG Board Chair, and ACM Past President.

The SIGCHI Executive Committee as defined in the SIGCHI Bylaws consists of the voting members (current elected officers, the Vice President for Conferences, the Vice President for Publications, the Vice President for Operations, the Vice President for Chapters, the Past President), and non-voting members (various adjunct chairs appointed by the President).
ACM Staff. ACM Staff is the CEO of ACM, the Program Director for SIGCHI, and those ACM staff representing ACM at the conference (i.e. ACM booth or other ACM business).

Qualified Conference Committee Members

Selected members of the current conference committee who are unable to participate in the conference as a result of their conference duties.

Other Committee Members

Members of the conference committee whose roles does not allow them to attend the technical program during the conference.

Conference Staff

Conference Staff includes the Conference Administrator, Conference Manager, and other paid individuals who have a need to attend the conference.

Course Instructors

Contributors who are selected to teach courses in the Course Program.

Doctoral Consortium

The doctoral consortium is a SIGCHI event to foster the growth of the HCI field through targeted interactions between senior researchers and promising doctoral students.
Doctoral Consortium Chair: The “distinguished faculty” member who leads the doctoral consortium
Doctoral Consortium Students: The doctoral students who have been selected to participate in the doctoral consortium

Accessibility Chair

The member of the conference committee focussed on the accessibility of the conference who are unable to participate in the conference as a result of their conference duties.

Other faculty

Faculty members other than the doctoral consortium chair who have been selected by the doctoral consortium chair to assist with the doctoral consortium.

Student Volunteers

Student Volunteers are those students who commit to perform certain activities in support of the conference

Corporate sponsors

Organizations which significantly support the conference with financial or in-kind contributions

SIGCHI Award Winners

Winners of the SIGCHI Awards (see the separate SIGCHI Award Policy).


Within the overall goals outlined above for SIGCHI conference series, there is significant diversity in both the size and scope of sponsored conferences. Not all of the roles discussed below exist or require the same investment of time across all conference series. Chairs should exercise discretion in applying these policies to their conference.


Complimentary registration should be used sparingly. In the past, over use of complimentary registration has had significant negative impacts on the financial health of the conference. Situations in which complimentary registration may be used include:

  • Complimentary registration to grow the field.
  • Student Volunteers (this presumes they perform the requisite number of hours)
  • Complimentary registration for those who are unable to participate in the conference due to the conference duties. This may include:
    • General Chair or Co-Chairs
    • Technical Program Chair or Co-Chairs
    • Student Volunteers Chair or Co-Chairs
    • Technology Liaison Chair or Co-Chairs
    • Public Relations Chair
    • ACM Staff
  • Complimentary registration for elected officials of the SIG or the Society.
    • ACM Executive Committee
    • Voting members of the SIGCHI Executive Committee
  • Complimentary registration for the purpose of enhancing the reputation or recognition of HCI and SIGCHI.
    • Press
    • Corporate Sponsors
  • Basic courtesy for invited speakers.
    • Plenary Speakers
    • Other invited contributors at the chair’s discretion
  • Others
    • Doctoral Consortium (See separate Doctoral Consortium Policy)


Conferences may, at their discretion offer a “companion rate” for a delegate companion. A delegate companion is a person who isn’t a researcher in HCI (i.e., someone who will be attending sessions anyway) but who is attending the conference to provide personal care assistance for the delegate.


At the discretion of the chairs, dinner invitations may be extended to members of their conference committee to celebrate the completion of the conference.


Occasionally, at the end of the conference, there is a student volunteer party to thank the student volunteers. At the discretion of the student volunteer chairs, in addition to all student volunteers that completed their requisite number of hours, they might invite:

  • Doctoral Consortium students
  • Selected members of the conference committee
  • Anyone else, such as notables in the field, may also be invited at the SV chairs’ discretion.


Plenary speakers are traditionally given honoraria as compensation for their contribution to the conference.

At the chairs’ discretion, other invited contributors may be offered an honoraria as compensation for their contribution to the conference. In general, honoraria for other invited contributors are discouraged.


A copy of each conference product should be offered to the appropriate volunteer(s) who were responsible for the development of that product (i.e., the course notes from their course for each course instructors, full set of course notes for the course chair(s), video for the video chair, etc.) and to the conference chairs.


Direct Expense (Hotel/Food/Travel) are those expenses incurred by a volunteer in the conduct of their duties for the conference.

When a volunteer’s attendance at the conference is necessary for them to perform their job, direct expenses should be considered as part of the cost of the conference, rather than as a courtesy. (In many cases, the volunteer’s employer/sponsor may pick up these costs anyway.)
As always, ACM/SIGCHI should be the funder of last resort.


Conference chairs and treasurers should insure that the costs of courtesies are adequately budgeted, with attention to the actual cost of each one as well as the inability to realize any profit associated with the courtesy if it would have been paid for otherwise.

There are significant numbers of potential recipients in some of the recipient groups. Careful analysis of the likelihood of people in these groups attending, and whether or not they would receive the courtesies through participation in another group, is necessary to determine the expected costs.


Conference chairs are solely responsible for authorizing the extension of any courtesy to an individual. Chairs must ensure that the list of approved courtesies be provided to the appropriate conference committee member or staff in a timely manner to allow for adequate planning and preparation of materials.

Conference chairs may not extend complimentary courtesies for conferences other than their own.


The Conference Chairs of a particular conference can, when appropriate, offer additional courtesies to enhance the goals and/or themes of their conference.
Exhibitors are the subject of a separate policy.


This policy reflects a particular organizational structure of SIGCHI and its conferences, and will be updated as these organizations evolve. The SIGCHI officer responsible for this policy is the Vice-Chair for Conferences.


Conference Registration Committee Dinner SV Party Honorarium Conference Products Direct Support
Press Yes No No No No No
Plenary Speakers Yes No No Yes No Yes
ACM/SIG Officials Yes No At SV Chair Discretion No No No
ACM Staff Yes No Yes No No No
Qualified Committee Members Yes Yes At SV Chair Discretion No If appropriate If required
Other Committee Members No Yes At SV Chair Discretion No No No
Conference Staff Yes Chair’s Discretion Yes No No If required
Course Instructor See CHI Course Policy No No See CHI Course Policy Their notes No
Doctoral Consortium Students Yes No At SV Chair Discretion No No See Doctoral Consortium Policy
Accessibility Chair Yes Yes Yes No No No
Student Volunteers Yes No Yes No Surplus No
Corporate Sponsors Yes No No No No No
SIGCHI Award Winners Yes (Provided by SIGCHI) No No See SIGCHI Award Policy No See SIGCHI Award Policy

From: Courtesies document

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