2014 BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA General Assembly Theme

In my time as a peer educator, I attended four BACCHUS General Assemblies. It is at these meetings that I made some of my most fond memories during my undergraduate career. General Assembly is a place for peer educators and their advisors to engage with people who have similar passions on their respective campuses. When you are around so many people who love the same ideas, an amazing thing happens - you are inspired. As peer educators, the school year is not only about you, but also about helping your peers thorough potentially tough times. While completely worthwhile, this work can be exhausting. During General Assembly, ideas are shared, friends are made, knowledge expands, and, with all of that, inspiration takes place. Students and advisors alike are inspired to return to their campuses and continue their hard work or even broaden and improve the work that they do. This feeling of inspiration was reflected in past conference evaluations and is, therefore, part of our 2014 theme: #inspired.

After my first General Assembly, I went back to my campus with many ideas. There was one in particular, however, that became my main focus with my peer education group. I wanted to obtain healthier food in our cafeteria. After attending a nutrition session at General Assembly, I was truly empowered to make a change.  I saw what was wrong, and I knew how we, as a peer education group, could make it right. When I got back to my campus, I started on the journey to a healthier, better quality meal environment in our cafeteria. After many months of hard work, progress was made.  The cafeteria agreed to increase the quality and health of its meals.  They also granted us permission to plan a lunch once a month that could include any menu items that we wanted. Without General Assembly, I never would have been empowered to do this. Many attendees feel the same way when they leave General Assembly, empowered and ready to create change on their campuses.  This feeling was also reflected on conference evaluations and became a part of our theme this year: #empowered.

The students and advisors that attend General Assembly are outstanding individuals not only on their campuses, but in their personal lives as well. They know how much of a privilege it is to be at a conference such as this and to be gaining the knowledge that is offered. This can be seen in any of the presentations that take place. The attendees are highly engaged.  From breakout sessions to meetings, keynotes to award ceremonies, lunch conversations to the famous dance party, people are present and eager to learn. Our attendees sense this engagement and reflected on this in the conference evaluations giving us the last part of our theme this year: #engaged.

In the digital world we live in, images are constantly making their way into our hands.  This is especially true with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Visual representation is reflected in our theme by presenting attendees with the idea, “Picture Yourself.” Imagine that you are inspired, empowered, and engaged. What do you think you can accomplish by experiencing these feelings? Anyone who attends General Assembly has the opportunity to leave with this mindset and return to his or her campus to make a truly important change. In this modern age you can change any picture you take to look more vibrant, black and white, or rustic before uploading it to your favorite social media. General Assembly is known as being the friendly, outgoing conference. Attendees do not like to hold anything back, are eager to meet as many people as possible, and to be themselves.  They are unfiltered in this sense. We want to encourage attendees to drop the filters so they can experience “Peer Education Unfiltered.”

Whether you are a student, peer education group advisor, or other faculty member interested in peer education, you won’t be disappointed when you leave the BACCHUS General Assembly.  The BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA invites you to “Picture Yourself: #inspired #empowered #engaged. Peer Education Unfiltered” at the 2014 General Assembly in Orlando, Florida, November 13 – 16, 2014.