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Annual Meeting 2012 Newsletter

The SBL Annual Meeting is only two weeks away, and we are making plans for a wonderful event in Chicago. We hope you are making plans to participate. Below is information that will help you navigate the meeting and enjoy your time with colleagues. SBL sessions begin Saturday morning, Nov. 17, and conclude by noon on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Meeting Facilities

This year, we have tried to concentrate daytime activities at McCormick Place convention center and evening activities at the Hilton Chicago and Palmer House hotels. When we began meeting again with AAR, we required more meeting space than hotels in Chicago had available. We added space at McCormick Place convention center which allows us ample room but results in distance between the hotels in Chicago and the convention center. (The good news is that upcoming meetings are much more convenient and walkable!)

Registration, tote bag distribution and the Exhibit Hall will be on level three in McCormick Center West, one of several buildings that make up the McCormick Place convention center. Daytime sessions will be held at McCormick Place West, South, North and Lakeside (East). The Employment Center will be located in the McCormick Place South building. In McCormick Place, there are many places to eat, coffee shops, restrooms, and seating areas. Free wireless internet access is available throughout the convention center. If you have trouble logging on, visit the Mobile App desk. There are a limited number of affiliate sessions held at other locations, but all SBL and AAR sessions during the day are at McCormick Place. As an SBL registrant, you are welcome to attend AAR sessions.

In the evenings, events will be held at two historic Chicago hotels, the Hilton Chicago and the Palmer House. The SBL Presidential address, our Member Reception, and many alumni and publisher receptions will be held in these facilities. So, although you have to trek to the Convention Center for sessions, you should only have to make the journey once a day!

Hotel Reservations

If you made a hotel reservation through SBL, we have recently sent all our guest information to the conference hotels. If you need to make changes or cancel your reservation, you will now contact your hotel directly to do so. Please see the Annual Meeting page of our website for hotel contact information.

Meeting Material

Each registrant will receive three important items—the Annual Meetings 2012 Program Book, a conference name badge, and the At-A-Glance meeting guide.

  • Your name badge is your ticket to sessions and events. Please wear your name badge when you are attending the conference. You will be required to have it when entering the Exhibit Hall and Presidential Address.
  • We have consolidated all SBL, AAR, Related Scholarly Organizations (RSOs), Program Affiliates, and Additional Meetings sessions into a single Program Book, instead of having separate SBL and AAR Program Books as we did in 2011. The Program Book onsite will have a different cover, but the text is the very same as what you receive in the mail. The sessions have been divided into three sections:
    • SBL sessions (designated by an S#) and SBL Program Affiliate sessions (designated by a P#)
    • AAR sessions (designated by an A#) and AAR RSO sessions (designated by a P#)
    • Additional Meetings sessions (designated by an M#)
    The Program Book contains the room assignments for all sessions. We anticipate that there will be very few changes from the time of this publication until the meeting. There is some overlap between SBL's Program Affiliates and AAR's RSOs, and in these cases, the sessions are listed in both the SBL and AAR sections. To determine in which section to look for a session, please consult the Session Index at the back of the book.
  • The At-A-Glance has all the session names, times, and locations, but it does not include the level of detail regarding the sessions that is found in the Program Book, including updates since the publication of the Program Book. Other than the online program and mobile app, the At-A-Glance will be the most up-to-date program guide. Once you have selected sessions, you may want to carry this during the meeting as a handy reference.

We have recently completed two mailings to those who pre-registered for the meeting. The Annual Meetings 2012 Program Book was mailed to all who registered by September 15. We then mailed name badges to those who registered by early October. If you bring your Program Book and name badge, you will not need to visit the Registration Desk at the meeting! You may pick up the conference tote bag at your convenience and attend the sessions that interest you. The At-A-Glance will be stuffed in the tote bag. Please remember to bring your Program Book with you to Chicago and to the meeting. We will have a limited supply of replacement copies for those who forget to bring their book or leave it in the hotel room.

If you do not receive your Program Book or name badge in the mail, the conference Registration Desk is on level three of McCormick Place West. Visit the desk beginning Friday at 10:00 a.m. and you may pick up your meeting materials.

Mobile App

SBL is committed to being on the leading edge with innovative new event technology and to offering attendees an exceptional program experience. After last year's successful launch in San Francisco, we will again provide a Mobile Meeting Guide powered by EventPilot Plus. This mobile app provides members with a technically-reliable, intuitive, and functional solution. Download the mobile meeting app via

At no cost, this mobile app provides attendees with:

  • The entire event program, including AAR, SBL, and Additional Meetings sessions
  • Exhibitor information, including an interactive Exhibit Hall map
  • Maps of the Annual Meetings hotels and Convention Center
  • Find-a-Friend functionality to allow you to locate your colleagues
  • Information about Chicago restaurants, attractions, and nightlife
  • Ability to add sessions and personal events to your Annual Meetings Calendar
  • And more!

Attendees will be able to create and customize their own schedule, make notes about sessions, and share information and their schedule with colleagues and friends via built-in social networking. Because EventPilot Plus features an intuitive offline program that is native to Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices, there is no waiting for schedule downloads or web pages to load and no dealing with slow or nonexistent Wi-Fi connections. Schedule changes are downloaded in the background, allowing attendees immediate access to event information. A similar web-based app will be accessible via Blackberry and personal computers.

Meeting Highlights

  • The SBL Presidential Address, Saturday at 7:00 PM, will be delivered by John Dominic Crossan. The address will be in International North at the Hilton Chicago.
  • Our Member Reception will follow the Presidential Address at 8:30 PM in International South, Hilton Chicago. All are invited for appetizers and drinks with your SBL colleagues.
  • The Exhibit Hall is a terrific resource--full of books, software, and educational material. Make sure you stop by to browse before or after your sessions. Trying to find the publisher of a book you'd like to buy? Use the locator kiosks in the front of the Exhibit Hall to search by title, author, or subject matter. Find the charging station for your devices in the Cyber Café, and get a bite to eat in the Exhibit Hall café.

Shuttle Information

Shuttle buses are a necessity this year given the distance between meeting venues. The distance between the downtown hotels and the convention center is more than two miles, and the walk is not a safe one. Please take advantage of the conference shuttle bus service or the city's METRA transit system to move around the city. Shuttle buses will begin service at 8 AM on Friday morning and 6 AM all other mornings, and the final pick up at each stop will be about 11:30 p.m. On Friday, buses will drop off and depart at the McCormick Place South. On all other days, the bus will drop off and pick up at McCormick Place West. During the day, bus routes will run between hotels and the convention center. At night, the routes primarily run from hotels to the Hilton and Palmer House. The stops are mapped on our Shuttle Bus Route map. The wait at any stop should not be more than 15 to 20 minutes. For more information on other methods of transport, see the Travel section at the end of the newsletter.

Shuttle Bus Pass

Below are brief answers to the most-asked questions regarding shuttles.

What will the pass look like?
• For most attendees, the pass is your name badge. If there is a symbol of a bus on your name badge, you can ride the shuttle bus. For those who registered late in the fall or who did not receive a name badge in the mail, you can ride the bus from your hotel to the convention center without showing your badge. However, transportation staff will be checking for the bus pass symbol on your badge when you load on the bus at the Center to return to your hotel. Children of attendees may ride the shuttle bus free with no name badge. Other people who need to get to the meeting facilities but are not registered may also purchase a pass.

Who gets a free pass?
• Shuttle bus service is paid for in large part by a rebate we receive from the conference hotels. As a result, if you stay in a conference hotel, you are helping us pay for the shuttle. All members who made a hotel reservation through SBL or AAR should have a bus symbol on their name badge. If you are sharing a room with an attendee who made a hotel reservation through SBL or AAR, you also should have a bus symbol on your name badge. If you are eligible for the pass and don't have the symbol on your badge, visit the Registration Desk and explain your situation at the Shuttle Pass desk. We'll stamp your badge and you'll be on your way.

How do I buy a pass?
• The only members who should need to purchase the "bus pass" are those who live in Chicago, are staying with friends, or made their own housing arrangements outside of the SBL and AAR registration process. If you find you want to ride the shuttles, visit the Shuttle Pass desk at Registration. You may pay $25 in cash or by credit card, and we'll stamp the bus pass on your name badge. If you pre-paid for a bus pass online but did not receive the symbol on your badge, see us at the Shuttle Pass desk.

Accessibility Needs

All meeting rooms are accessible by elevator (doors are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs) or wheelchair lift. Attendees with disabilities who need information regarding special assistance during the meeting should contact by Nov. 2.

Please visit the SBL Member Services desk located on level three of McCormick Place West (near the Registration Desk) if you encounter any problems with accessibility in Annual Meetings locations. The 2012 Easy Access Chicago guide can be picked up at the Member Services desks. A lounge for attendees to sit and rest will be available in room W196c in McCormick Place West.

Two dedicated ADA accessible vans will be on call throughout the meeting. The van will pick you up at your hotel or at McCormick Place. The phone number to contact the van is 312-949-8749 or you may visit the Transportation Desk in McCormick Center West for assistance.

If you are not able to ride the ADA accessible van or the shuttle bus, SBL can reimburse attendees for transportation by taxi. To receive reimbursement, please submit all taxi receipts with a letter detailing the nature of your physical disability and the Annual Meetings locations that were inaccessible no later than January 31, 2013. Only travel between official Annual Meetings locations (i.e., hotels and convention center) will be covered.

Please see for a list of accessible transportation options.

Shabbat Arrangements

Since the majority of the conference hotels are at a distance from McCormick Place Convention Center, the following services will be provided for Sabbath observant attendees.

  • On Saturday, Nov. 17, two guided walks will depart from the Hilton Chicago for Jewish members observing the Sabbath. If you would like to walk with your colleagues to McCormick Place, a group will depart at 8 AM and again at 1:30 PM from the main door of the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Avenue. Please email us at if you would like to sign up for the walk.
  • We have reserved room W186c in McCormick Place West for your use during the day on Saturday.
  • A kosher vendor will offer food and beverages each day of the meeting in the Exhibit Hall.


In the midst of your Annual Meeting schedule, be sure to carve out some time for one of these stimulating workshops. For those of you who want practical advice on impactful instruction, check out Designing Courses for Significant Learning. If you seek insight into the current job market in biblical and religious studies, sign up for Understanding and Managing the Hiring Process. If you want some help with the essentials of academic publishing, book contracts, copyright law, and the characteristics of scholarly writing, The Academic's Guide to Publishing is for you. And if using performance as a means to assist students with the engagement of biblical texts interests you, then make time for Using Performance to Teach the Bible. Each of these workshops is on Friday, November 16—a day before sessions start in full—so it's the perfect time to focus on a little professional development while you have the energy. For more information and to download the workshop form, click here. Requests for workshop registration are due to the SBL office by Nov. 7.


Get out and learn about the rich history of Chicago with one of seven tours offered this year. See the city's landmarks on the Chicago City and Architectural Tour or enjoy smaller communities with the Passport to Chicago's Neighborhoods and Lunch. For those who want to have some fun, the Gangster Untouchable Tour takes you back to Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s for an evening tour of hot spots and hit spots. Travel by bus to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center to view the collection of artifacts, documents and photographs or visit the Baha'i House of Worship, one of seven Baha'i temples in the world. The Sacred and Religious Sites tour will explore several early immigrant groups' religious buildings in Chicago's Near West Side. The Swiss Treasures Exhibition at the University of Chicago Library highlights the contributions that Switzerland has made to Europe's cultural history from Biblical Papyrus and Parchment to Erasmus, Zwingli, Calvin and Barth. The tour includes bus transportation and a guided tour of the exhibit. To download the tour form and read tour descriptions, click here. Requests for tour registration are due to the SBL office by Nov. 7.

Child Care

If you need to make child care arrangements while you are at the conference, you may still sign up with Kiddie Corp, our child care provider. The Child Care room will be located at McCormick Place convention center, and your children may ride the shuttle bus with you to the Center with no pass or badge needed. You may make reservations via the Kiddie Corp web site through Monday, Nov. 5.

Hours of Operation

Registration and Tote Bag Pick, McCormick Place West

Friday, Nov. 16 - 10 AM to 7 PM

Saturday , Nov. 17 - 8AM to 6 PM

Sunday and Monday, Nov. 18, 19 - 8 AM to 5:50 PM

Tuesday, Nov. 20 - 8 AM to 10 AM

The Exhibit

Saturday – Monday 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Tuesday 8 AM to 12 PM

Employment Center

Friday, Nov. 16 - 7PM to 9 PM

Saturday – Monday 8 AM to 7 PM

Getting to Chicago from the Airport

Rapid transit Trains- The "L"

Chicago-O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
The fully accessible 'L' O'Hare Station is situated in the lower level concourse, which connects Airline Terminals 1, 2, and 3, and is conveniently accessed from Terminal 5 by free, frequent airport shuttle trains. If you're coming from domestic and international flights arriving at Terminals 1, 2, or 3, follow signs in the airport to "CTA Trains" or "Trains to City." These will lead you to the train station. You can walk from the baggage claim to the train in under ten minutes from any of these three terminals. If you're coming from international flights that land in Terminal 5, follow signs to the Airport Transit System (ATS). Ride the next train to Terminal 2 and exit the train at the station. Then, follow signs to "CTA Trains" or "Trains to City." (Note: There is no Airline Terminal 4 at O'Hare.) Blue Line train service operates via elevated and subway from O'Hare (on the northwest side of Chicago) to downtown. The normal travel time on the Blue Line from O'Hare to downtown is 40–45 minutes. Blue Line trains run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cost is $2.25 each. For more information, visit cta/airports.aspx.

Chicago-Midway Airport (MDW)
The fully accessible 'L' Midway station is situated just east of the airport terminal building and is connected to the airport via an enclosed walkway. Follow the signs to "CTA Trains" or "Trains to City" from the airport. An orange line painted on the ground will guide you there. Orange Line train service operates from Midway (on the southwest side of Chicago) to downtown via elevated tracks. The normal travel time to downtown from Midway is 20–25 minutes. Service operates all day, every day, except during overnight hours (roughly 1:00 am to 4:00 am) or after 11:00 pm on Sundays. Alternate overnight ("owl") service is available via the N62 Archer bus. The cost is $2.25 each way. For more information, visit


Taxicabs are available on a first come, first serve basis from the lower level curb in front of the terminal. Shared-ride service is available. There are no flat rates because all taxicabs run on meters. Expect to spend approximately $35 to $40 for a taxicab ride to downtown Chicago from O'Hare and $28 to $30 from Midway. For wheelchair-accessible vehicles, please call United Dispatch at 1-800-281-4466.

Shared-Ride Vans

The AAR and SBL are partnering with GO Airport Express to provide airport shuttles to our attendees. GO Airport Express is a city and state utility, so their vans have preferential loading along the inner curb just outside of baggage claim. You won't have far to walk to reach your transportation provider.

GO Airport Express is offering a 10% discount to AAR and SBL registrants. Reservations can be made in three ways:

  1. By using the direct link USERIDENTRY=ANNUALMEETINGS2012&LOGON=GO
  2. By entering the code ANNUALMEETINGS2012 at
  3. By calling 1-800-284-3826 and mentioning the code ANNUALMEETINGS2012.

Chicago-O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
Shuttles depart from O'Hare airport every 15 to 20 minutes to downtown hotels. Airport Express Ticket Counters are located at Door 1E, Door 2E, Door 3E and Door 5D lower level across from baggage claim on the Baggage Claim level.

Chicago-Midway Airport (MDW)
Shuttles depart from Midway airport every 15 to 20 minutes to downtown hotels. Our airport express ticket counter and loading zone is located at Door 3, lower level across from Southwest Airlines baggage claim.

Getting Around Chicago

Parking at McCormick Place

There are multiple options for parking at McCormick Place Convention Center. Lots range in availability, and daily parking rates range from $14- $30, depending on the lot. Parking fees can be paid by cash or credit card; VISA, MasterCard and American Express are accepted. More information can be found at

City Bus Service

Getting to McCormick Place is possible by using the city transit system. The Chicago Transit Authority provides the following bus service and runs approximately every 15 minutes. Drop-off is located at the main entrance to the South Building on Martin Luther King Drive. A one-way fare is $2.25. More information can be found here:
From Downtown Chicago: The #3 King Drive bus runs downtown from morning to midnight daily. McCormick Place stops are at the following locations:

•• South Building: King Drive and 23rd Street

•• West Building: southwest and northeast corners of Indiana Avenue and Cermak Road intersection

Metra (Transit Train System)

Located on Level 2.5 of the Grand Concourse in the South Building, the METRA commuter railroad provides direct service within seven minutes to and from downtown Chicago. Service from the Randolph Station (near the Fairmont Hotel) to McCormick Place begins early morning, with more frequent pick ups during rush hours. A one-way fare from downtown to McCormick Place is $2.75. More information can be found here:


Taxis will be available at specified gates at McCormick Place. Facility direction signs and personnel at the concierge desk will direct you to gates that are designated. An average fare for one person to downtown is $11, plus tax and gratuity. A more accurate price estimate can be found here:

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