Why I Am Looking Forward to the 2017 NASPA Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities Convergence
The very fact that this Convergence is happening prompts an important question: why couldn’t these heroes be student affairs professionals? Why couldn’t their example be the inauguration of new legacies for others to walk in? I am reminded of Swami Vivekananda’s opening and closing remarks at the first Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893. Little did he know that his words would still be reverberating over a century later. In one of his final statements, he expressed gratitude that the Parliament “proved to the world that holiness, purity, and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character” (Vivekananda, 1893). This Convergence could drive a similar stake in the ground for student affairs; a declaration that giving credence to religious, spiritual, and secular identities can serve to enhance our profession, not threaten it.
Why Convergence Matters: A Chaplain’s Perspective
In less than two months, NASPA will have completed hosting its first Convergence conference, inviting together Student Affairs professionals, those employed within the structures of institutions of higher education to do work related to religion and spirituality (for the sake of brevity, I’ll just call us chaplains), and those employed in structures outside of institutions of higher education that seek to meet the spiritual, religious, and secular needs of college and university students. While these three areas intersect in diverse ways on campuses across the country, creating space in which we can talk to one another across all three of these distinct disciplines at the national level is something that does not happen. Convergence comes, as has been well documented by Jake Jacobsen and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen in their scholarly work, at an evolutionary time for the role of religion in higher education. Let’s take a brief look at what those complexities might involve for these three interrelated professions.
From Identity to Community
CONVERGENCE will begin with this preconference session as a way to ease anxieties, cultivate understanding, increase cooperation, appreciate participants’ strengths, and more importantly to discuss how to leverage each other’s networks and expertise to make our communities more welcoming, developing, and supportive for our students and staff. From Identity to Community will serve as the foundation for CONVERGENCE by providing a historical framework of religious pluralism and spirituality in higher education, sharing recent changes and issues in religious and spiritual life, and exploring current research and data in religious and spiritual explorations.
#CLDE17 OPENING PLENARY | CivEd Talks and Our CLDE Theory of Change
The 2017 Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meeting organized by the American Democracy Project (ADP), the Democracy Project (TDC) and NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, is continuing the conversation set forth during the #CLDE16 meeting by introducing our emergent theory of change adapted from elements of the 2012 A Crucible Moment report. We encourage attendees to reflect on how to build campus cultures that enhance the following threads of our work: civic ethos, civic literacy and skill building, civic inquiry, civic action and civic agency.
Don’t Touch My Crown
Braids. My natural hair. Wigs. A sew-in. A head wrap. There are limitless ways I choose to style and wear my hair. Besides my clothing, my hair is one of the ways I enjoy expressing myself. My hair is a symbol of creativity and patience but also a symbol of love for myself.
2017 NASPA Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities Convergence
The beginning of a new year always brings about feelings of excitement and anticipation for me. I’m always making a list of things I’m looking forward to or pushing myself to achieve in the new year. One of the things I’m most looking forward is a chance to gather at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center, May 22-24, 2017, for the 2017 NASPA Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities Convergence. #RSSIConvergence is a gathering designed for professionals and students working in higher education, featuring amazing conversations and specialists who are leading the discussion on what is means to support the religious and non-religious identities of students in higher education. We want you to be there, to engage in the conversation that is so needed in higher education and to bring about your unique experiences so that we can all learn from one another.