College of Health, Education and Human Development

Conference on the Value of Play welcomes partners

Dolores Stegelin, professor at Clemson's Eugene T. Moore School of Education, presents at the 2013 Conference on the Value of Play. Photo credit: Christopher Phillips.Clemson University’s US Play Coalition is pleased to announce that the International Play Association USA (IPA/USA) will be the first-ever conference partner for the annual Conference on the Value of Play, and that Missouri State University (MSU) will be the conference’s first university partner.

The US Play Coalition is a global partnership of individuals and organizations that promotes the value of play, and IPA/USA is an affiliate of the International Play Association (IPA), a worldwide organization that protects and promotes a child’s right to play. Together, they will put on the conference, which will bring together leading play researchers and advocates from across the nation and world.

To reflect this alliance, the conference will now be called The US Play Coalition 2014 Conference on the Value of Play: Collaboration and Creativity in partnership with IPA/USA. The event will take place February 16-19, 2014, at Clemson University’s Madren Center.

“This is a major milestone for the US Play Coalition and IPA/USA,” said Fran Mainella, co-chair of the US Play Coalition, visiting scholar at Clemson, and 16th director of the National Park Service. “We are confident this partnership will foster an even greater exchange of ideas and will build new relationships among attendees.”

“We look forward to a long-lasting relationship that unites both groups in our efforts to ensure that all children have the right to play,” added Dorothy Sluss, president of the IPA/USA.

The partnership between Missouri State University and the conference will create an opportunity for greater collaboration between MSU faculty and students and conference attendees, Mainella said.

“Welcoming Missouri State University as our first university partner to the conference is a great achievement for all of us,” she added. “The faculty and students will bring new perspectives to the conference and be able to meet and network with leaders from many fields.”

“This type of partnership encourages faculty, students and practitioners to come together and examine PLAY from various points of view,” said Jodie Adams of the MSU Department of Kinesiology. “Interaction of this type is important in creating a healthy global culture of PLAY throughout the world.”

Dr. Helen Reid, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Missouri State, agrees. “This partnership will provide an excellent opportunity for students and faculty at Missouri State University to network with others from the global community who share a commitment to expanding scholarship related to the value of play throughout life,” she said.

“We are honored to be the first university partner and are looking forward to a great exchange of ideas and meeting new colleagues,” added Dr. Sarah McCallister, head of the MSU Department of Kinesiology.

This year’s Conference on the Value of Play will focus on collaboration and creativity, according to Carly Summers, executive director of the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play will be presented at the conference, and attendees and speakers will come from fields such as education, landscape architecture, parks and recreation, health science, business, arts, animal behavior, and medicine.

The deadline to submit a presentation proposal for peer-review is September 18, and registration is also open with early bird rates available through November 8. For more information, visit or contact Summers at

The US Play Coalition is housed within Clemson’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, part of the College of Health, Education, and Human Development. For more information, visit and or follow on Twitter @USPlayCoalition.