Autreat 2011 will be held Monday, August 8 to Friday, August 12 at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown campus (www.upj.pitt.edu). Brief travel information is available at http://www.upj.pitt.edu/403/ and Stan has been working on more detailed directions. There is train and bus service into the city of Johnstown. There’s a small regional airport in Johnstown that a few people might want to use, but for most flyers it will be preferable to fly to a major airport and take ground transportation to Johnstown. The nearest major airport is Pittsburgh. We’re looking into the option of shuttle service from the Pittsburgh airport.

A video about the campus can be viewed at:
http://uniquevenues.bcliphost.com/upj/?q=venue_viewer/upj/

People who have enjoyed Autreat at the University of Pittsburgh’s Bradford campus may be pleased to note similarities between the two campuses, giving it a bit of a familiar feel even though it’s not the same campus.

This campus has been the venue for the North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest conference (http://www.vegetariansummerfest.org/) for some 20 years and the food services staff has extensive experience
with vegan menus. Jim has explained to the director that there are some differences between the Summerfest menu requirements (they want their menu to be vegan PLUS health food PLUS offer interesting new dishes to people who come to the event in part because they want to be introduced to novel foods) and the Autreat menu requirements (we want ours to be vegan PLUS autistic-friendly, which means familiarity and predictability are more important than novelty and avoiding all white bread and pasta). Jim has given him recipes for several dishes that got the most positive feedback at Bradford, so we can keep those popular items on the menu.

The dates this year were the best we could get given that they already had a lot of other groups booked for late June and July by the time we approached them. If things go well this year, we hope to be able to reserve more desirable dates for next year.

Also as a consequence of our late booking this year, we’ll need to have Thursday afternoon presentations and dinner in an alternate location, because our usual presentation and dining rooms had already been booked for a banquet that evening. We intend to make the most of this by planning something special that evening, possibly connecting dinner with the AAAAA ceremony. Anyone who has ideas about things we can do Thursday afternoon and evening to make it feel more like something extra-special than like an inconvenience, feel free to make suggestions!

The dates this year fall during Ramadan. Anyone who’s fasting for Ramadan will be able to register for a Ramadan meal plan: You only get charged for two meals a day instead of three, and you can pick up your breakfast and dinner in carryout
containers to store in the refrigerator in your room and reheat in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.

Fees have not yet been finalized. Lodging and meal costs at this new venue are similar to the ones at Bradford, but the facility use fees are higher and we may have considerably higher costs for Kids’ Program staff.

contributed by KenG

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