After the Con, NASPA Lives On
Benji Jensen, The Ohio State University
April 4, 2017
So you just returned from the NASPA Annual Conference and if you are anything like me you are coming out of a post conference hibernation, literal or figurative, and your life is returning to normal. Now that the conference is over, work is setting in, and the post-conference “high” is wearing off you might be wondering, “what do I do now?”
Here are a few post-conference tidbits that I have found useful to remain engaged amidst the end of the year rush:
Foster your new connections. Maybe you gave your card to someone at a social, went up to a speaker after a presentation, or had an awesome conversation waiting in line at Whataburger. Don’t let your first interaction be the last. Shoot them an email, message them on Facebook, or give them a call. You never know when a new connection may become a friend, a mentor, or someone who will offer you a job. It doesn’t always have to take a lot of time and these small gestures speak volumes.
Maintain relationships. One of the best parts about NASPA is the opportunity to build relationships with amazing professionals around the world. However, I have found that when you don’t see a person on a regular basis it is easy to neglect keeping in contact. Holding yourself and each other accountable for facetime conversations, email check-ins, or even just sharing your Apple health data are great ways to stay connected and grow these relationships.
Get involved online and with regions. NASPA does a lot more than just the annual conference. They host many different webinars, forums, affinity groups, and are constantly producing online publications. NASPA regions also have their own conferences, meet-ups, advisory boards, and year-round initiatives that provide great ways to get involved and stay connected with NASPA. https://olc.naspa.org/ https://www.naspa.org/constituent-groups/regions
Get involved with Knowledge Communities (KCs). NASPA uniquely offers KCs for various affinity groups and passion areas in student affairs. In my own experience, as a gay man, I have found the Gender and Sexuality KC an amazing resource that also helps me stay updated on important social justice issues via multiple online platforms. Additionally, I have found my home with the API (Asian Pacific Islander) KC. Knowledge communities are also another great way to gain volunteer and leadership experience. https://www.naspa.org/constituent-groups/kcs
Start planning for your next conference. Annual conferences can be a pretty significant cost so it is a good idea to start saving and looking for funding now. Asking your department for pro-devo funds early can increase your chances of getting approved. Additionally, if your department does not offer pro-devo funds there are multiple scholarships that you can apply for through NASPA to help fund your conference. The following blog post also offers some practical ways to save money at conference: http://conference2017.naspa.org/blog/saving-money-at-naspa
While this is not a comprehensive list, hopefully these tidbits have helped stir your thoughts and given you some ways to stay engaged even after the conference is over.
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