NASPA12 Reflections – Thoughts from a SSAO
Our first in a number of upcoming reflections on the NASPA 2012 conference comes from the Vice President of Student Affairs at Towson University, Deb Moriarty
Flying back from NASPA my husband, who travelled with me to the conference for the first time, asked me about the highlights conference? My reaction was, wow, there were so many! Attending the new board member activities was a great start. I felt like such a rookie going in and by the end of the day on Saturday I felt both excited and more comfortable to begin my role as Region II Director. By the end of Saturday I was amazed at how much I had learned about NASPA, the staff, the huge network of volunteers, and the incredibly strong range of programs and services being offered to members. I felt much more prepared for my first regional advisory board meeting.
The advisory board meeting was the next highlight. The meeting confirmed the strong, hardworking, dedicated and passionate team of volunteers in place to guide and support the region as well as the outstanding job done by Laura Wankel, our outgoing Region II VP and Chair-Elect of the NASPA Board of Directors.
During my time in Phoenix, I was impressed with the number of Region II members who expressed an interest in and willingness to be part of our region. I kept telling people to “be careful what you ask for” as I and the members of the advisory board are committed to finding ways to engage all who want this connection. It became so clear to me that regional involvement is a great way to help us make that smaller community connection in an organization that is now 13,000+ strong.
Throughout the conference I was dealing with a very challenging issue back on my campus. While I was feeling bad about not being at home, I took advantage of being with my colleagues from across the region and country to seek advise, share strategies, and to receive both empathy for the issue and affirmation that my colleagues and I were moving forward in the right direction. I am so grateful that I had access to the kind of resources that NASPA provides and as a result, I feel equipped to continue to work through this challenging time on our campus.
I found great comfort in the messages of the keynote speakers and the message at the center of the candlelight vigil. These messages reinforce for me that by working with the college generation, we are privileged to be part of shaping the future of our country and world.
I could go on and on but let me summarize by saying this was an incredibly stimulating experience for me not only because of the content but as much a result of the interpersonal interactions and connections, many of which have been part of my professional life for years.
On the way home, I asked my husband, was your time with me at this experience what you expected? His response was an emphatic no! Despite numerous warnings in advance of how little he would see of me, he could not believe the hours we all commit to this learning, working, and networking adventure. My response — “I told you so”!