It’s CAUSE week! With just 42 hours until the Vendor Room opens and the conference gets rolling, we’d like to share some information about SIGs, the SIGs that will be represented in Winston-Salem, and how to start a new SIG.

What’s a SIG?

SIG is short for Special Interest Group. These groups are comprised of individuals from UNC CAUSE member institutions that share a common interest around a topic or technology that is prevalent across institutions. Organizing around that interest, SIGs offer us an opportunity to:

  • foster cross institutional relationships
  • provide communication avenues for common topics or technology
  • provide continuity and opportunities for collaboration during the year
  • provide more timely opportunities for working groups
  • provide opportunities for knowledge sharing

Each SIG is what its members make of it—whether that’s a robust problem-solving group that holds marathon code-writing sessions, or just a resource for asking and answering questions when you need a few tips.

You can learn more about SIGs at

More Than a Conference

Our theme this year is “More than a conference,” because the conversation doesn’t have to stop when you leave the Benton Convention Center on Friday. The UNC CAUSE organization is excited to offer SIGs support and funding for stand-alone events dedicated to your SIG’s area of interest, plus:

  • a website in the UNC CAUSE WordPress multi-site environment
  • use of common Google tools (email, groups, calendars, etc.) through the UNC CAUSE Google Apps instance
  • access to the UNC CAUSE MailChimp account for broadcast emails
  • use of event planning tools through the UNC CAUSE account
  • use of UNC CAUSE-owned resources (projectors, easels, lanyards, etc.)
  • access to conference planning services from the Conference and Camp Services group at Appalachian State University

SIGs at UNC CAUSE 2016

This year, we have nine SIGs holding kickoff sessions in Winston-Salem, organizing around the following topics:

As in BOF sessions in previous years, your SIG session is an opportunity to have a free-form conversation about your subject area. But this year, each SIG session has one or more facilitators who have agreed to lead a conversation about formally organizing your group into a recognized SIG.

Starting a New SIG

If you’ve got an area of interest that you know others in the UNC system share, you can start your own SIG! We’ve assembled some resources to help you get started:

Conference co-chair Jen McFarland and conference program chair/official “SIG Ambassador” Jason Maners will be leading a 20-minute lightning session Friday morning to introduce these resources, answer questions, and help you get started building your SIG.

We look forward to seeing you in Winston-Salem! Happy conference week!