Alternative Presentation Styles

Your workshop or presentation may be highlighted in the conference program and website if it is made up of an alternative format including, but not limited to, those suggested below. These submissions focus on a participant-driven session. Your strategies must be outlined in detail in your submission.

Request for Alternative Presentation Styles:

The SSCC Planning Committee is encouraging proposals for innovative workshop sessions that emphasize participation and contribute to the creation of an informative and exciting conference program. We will give priority to proposals with a format that allows the audience to connect with and learn about important topics in a new way.

Proposals with Alternative Presentation Styles should detail the presentation topic, the name and attributes of the format, how the audience will benefit, and an explanation for as to how the content of the presentation is aligned with this session type. (Note: Some format types are much shorter than our 50- or 80-minute session lengths. If we do not get enough short-session proposals to create a full conference session, we will reach out to you to consider another format.)

When considering an Alternative Presentation Style, please keep in mind that some alternative formats present different challenges than those of traditional presentation formats. These sessions often involve significant planning, coordination, and skill with facilitation. SSCC encourages experience (or lots of practice if you’re new to the format) to ensure a smooth-running and well-received session.  Since these formats will often be new to the audience as well, please plan an introduction that ensures they too have the information they need to effectively engage with and learn from the session.


Examples of Alternative Presentation Formats:

World Café

The World Café is a format designed to encourage a flow of conversation between participants, facilitate broad audience participation, and enable a more sustained discussion. Attendees are seated at tables with four-to-six participants per table in an informal, café-style setting. The process begins with a brief introduction and a “big” question, which attendees are asked to discuss (generally for about 15 minutes). Once time is up, all-but-one of the participants from each table move to a different table and repeat the process. The person who stays functions as a "table host" and reviews what was discussed during the previous rounds.  Following two-to-three rounds of discussions, key points from each table are presented to the whole group for a final collective discussion. There are many iterations on this format.

Campfire Session

Campfire Sessions begin a lot like a traditional presentation, with a speaker (or multiple speakers) at the front of the room presenting an idea to a group of people. After 15 or 20 minutes, however, the focus shifts from the presenter to the audience. The goal is the creation of an open forum in which the attendees generate the majority of the discussion and knowledge sharing. For the remainder of the session, the presenter becomes a facilitator, inviting responses to comments and questions from those around the room and letting the audience dictate the ultimate direction of the conversation. Campfire sessions allow attendees to drive their own learning, listen to multiple perspectives on the same issue, and share experiences with individuals throughout the room. Campfire sessions also lend themselves to networking. Experience with group facilitation is recommended!

Panel Session

Panel sessions are a great way to get more than one expert opinion on a topic in a short amount of time. Panels often consist of three-to-five people discussing a specific topic or challenge in a conversation moderated by a session chair. Panels tend to be more open and interactive than traditional presentations.  Because panelists often take different perspectives and offer different solutions to problems, these sessions are great for public conversations on issues that are common to many audience members.


Storytelling is an ancient art, and sessions at previous Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conferences have included instruction in storytelling. The story also makes for an engaging workshop format.  Stories should be about 15 minutes long and 10 minutes should be provided for Q&A.  Please make sure that stories are consistent with at least one conference tracks. They should also reflect the authentic experience of an individual, a team, or a community. For example, a story session could how the school mascot became a champion of sustainability. Consider submitting with a partner. Two stories are perfect for one 50-minute presentation.

7-14-28 Presentations

Inspired by Pecha Kucha and Ignite presentations and pioneered by the University of Virginia Office for Sustainability, the 7-14-28 presentation is a rapid-fire showcase of ideas, innovations, and theories. Speakers have a 7-minute time limit for their talk utilizing a deck of no more than 14 slides that have a minimum 28-point font size for any text. 7-14-28 allows speakers to focus on the essentials of their subject, while offering an audience the chance to enjoy multiple presentations in one sitting. We are hoping for at least 5 proposals to make this format a go!

For more ideas and resources, go to or