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Notes & Coffee: January 9-15
Catch up on this week’s trending student affairs and higher ed news including scrutiny of new Koch grant; the debate over bathroom politics in Texas; why STEM majors need the humanities; hashtag campaign urge protection Title IX; Georgia tech’s model expands; NASPA wishes you bon appetit with a cookbook; and a new NASPA Right Now for the new year from President Kruger.
NASPA Right Now - January 2017
The start of a new year often brings an opportunity for renewal, growth, and new beginnings. While there have been significant challenges in this academic year, I am optimistic about the future because of the passion, commitment, and energy I feel from our community. NASPA continues to engage in the integral aspects of student learning, closing the achievement gap, access and equity, and many other issues that have an impact on our students. I look forward to continuing an action-oriented and collaborative student affairs agenda that will provide meaningful support to our students, our colleagues, and our profession.
Conquering Your First Professional Conference
Going to professional conferences can be refreshing, a chance to focus on your growth, a needed step away from your day to day, and a reenergizing experience, but they can also be tiring, filled with anxiety, and challenging. As an introvert heading into my first professional conference as the only attendee from my institution, I definitely identified with the latter. I am a first semester graduate student, in a new region of the US, so I got to explore St. Louis for the first time, which was great. I went to a recommended pizza joint, then headed to the conference. The first night there included a big social and I walked into a big room filled with people, and there was not a familiar face in sight. I learned a lot about myself that I was not expecting to learn when heading to a conference to learn more about the profession. Attending this conference alone was not easy, but I would not change a thing and I would do it again tomorrow if I could.
Breaking the 4 Year Myth
So you didn’t graduate in 4 years. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many college students don’t receive their Bachelor's degree in four years. Be it taking classes we don’t have to take, having to retake classes, not getting into the program we wanted to right away, or, if you’re like me, switching your major (I did 4 times )While it might seem like you failed because you couldn’t make it out in 4 years, my victory lap year (that’s what I have chosen to call my 5th year of undergrad) was probably the best year of my college experience!
Religious Councils of Students are Important
A few years ago, I had the privilege to help launch with several students our campuses’ multi-faith student council (MSC) which was, at first, simply a group of students who were interested in interfaith dialogue, had an interest in getting to know each other, and were available. From the beginning, I knew this would be a tricky organization to build and manage. The University of Minnesota, where I am currently employed, has almost 90 religiously affiliated student groups currently. This multi-faith student council was designed from the beginning to support and in many ways be the voice of all of these groups. How to do this was going to be the challenge.