Back to School, Back to Prevention

Andrea Coryell, Assistant Director, Substance Abuse Prevention, Colorado State University

August 21, 2018

Greetings, colleagues!

Welcome back to a new academic year. As I’m writing this, our campus is welcoming around 5,000 new first year students to our residence halls. Tonight, many of them will fill our recreation fields for our annual Ram Welcome Carnival – a chance for students and their families to play some games, win prizes, and meet many of the Student Affairs staff that will serve them throughout their time at Colorado State University. Their wide-eyed excitement and energy is contagious. It’s these moments that remind me of why we do what we do. While so much of it happens without students noticing, we all contribute in some way to their story.

As you settle into the hum of another fall semester, I’d like you to think about what you’ll be up to January. What?! Yes – I said January. The 2019 NASPA Strategies Conferences are happening January 17th-19th in Washington, D.C. I’ve been a collegiate health educator for going on twelve years, and this is by far my favorite conference. While my focus is in alcohol and other drugs, I love the flexibility to attend sessions around mental health, violence prevention, and the newly added health promotion leadership track. Our work is interwoven and this creates an opportunity to learn from top experts and practitioners in each field. I always leave with a fresh perspective and feeling energized to take on the spring semester. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting a career in college health or student affairs, I guarantee you will gain valuable insights and connections to others in your field.

Tangent: there’s something so comforting in talking with other professionals who do what you do, and get the work. If you’ve ever tried to explain to family members over Thanksgiving dinner what the social-ecological model is and your role in creating and sustaining a health-promoting environment, you know the struggle is real.

Second tangent: Could they have picked a warmer location (perhaps San Diego, hint hint)? Probably. You won’t want to go outside though, as you’ll be captivated by all of the great sessions and networking opportunities. The good news is that you have plenty of time to knit yourself some woolen socks in preparation for this outstanding professional development opportunity.

The deadline to submit to the Call for Programs is September 28, 2018.

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