This is the Year. Now is the Time.

It may truly feel like every year is the most important year to attend the NASPA Strategies Conferences. When is alcohol and other drug education, sexual violence prevention and response, mental health, and the well-being and health promotion of our students not important? Every year is an important one for the Student Affairs professionals who are dedicated to doing this work on the front lines on our campuses. The Strategies conferences, as NASPA’s second-largest conference behind only the annual meeting, has always been the “home” event for professionals in these fields. But somehow this year feels different.

The list of urgent issues facing those of us in these fields seems endless: dwindling state support for higher education, the threat of rollbacks on Title IX protections and oversight, increased pressure by DOJ to prosecute drug crimes, heightened anxiety about increasing numbers of hate and bias incidents on campus, threats to DACA-protected and undocumented students and their families, and so many others. These issues are real for our students and for those of us who work with them. They impact our students, our campuses and our profession on a daily basis. The changing dynamic of these issues at the national level affects the safety of our students, their mental health, and their overall well-being. During turbulent times like these, students may turn more frequently to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Studies show that economic instability results in increases in problem drinking among racial minorities. Socioeconomic instability then can also result in similar behaviors among minoritized student populations, rendering students directly impacted by many White House efforts at greater risk.

So yes, this year might be a bit different. Student Affairs professionals continue to do the amazing, supportive work that they always do, this year as in all years. One of the best ways to support one another and to share what is working to support students during this turbulent time is to propose a session for the Strategies conference. This conference provides the unique opportunity to both present to a range of Student Affairs professionals in various fields at the same conference, and to attend sessions from any of the four conferences during the three day conference.

We, as the planning committees from each of these four conferences, want to hear from you. We believe that the strongest way to forge ahead on these tough issues during especially tough times is to share best practices, network and commiserate with our colleagues in the field, and elevate innovative ideas in the profession. Now is the time. This is the year. The deadline for the Call for Programs is September 10 so you have plenty of time to gather your colleagues and gather your thoughts about ways to contribute to this year’s conference. The Call for Programs can be found here for the Alcohol and Other Drug conference, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response conference, the Mental Health conference and the Well-Being and Health Promotion Leadership conference.

We look forward to seeing you, networking with you – and learning from you – in Portland in January!

-        The Strategies Conference Planning Committees

  • Alcohol and Other Drug
  • Mental Health
  • Sexual Violence Prevention and Response
  • Well-being and Health Promotion Leadership