So You’re a NASPA Member, Now What?

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Rachel Winters, SLPKC Conference Team Lead

October 12, 2018

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the size of NASPA? Are you wondering where to go to find your home within the association? When thinking about ways to navigate through and connect within NASPA I’ll start with my own journey.

My first experience with NASPA was presenting during SA Speaks at a NASPA IV-West conference. It was thrilling. I’d never been in a space with so many talented people all working in the same field and devoted to improving the student experience on their campuses. I made connections, I found compelling programs that would be a great fit at my home institution. I was inspired to collaborate with other divisions and institutions in the region. Then I moved. I left my network I had so carefully crafted within my region. To fight the isolation I was feeling in my new role, institution, and state I started looking for a new home within NASPA.

When I joined NASPA, I subscribed to a few knowledge communities and read their emails. However, I had not really engaged with them other than participating in a couple of webinars. Then I saw the call for applications to join the leadership team for the Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community (SLPKC). So, I took a leap and submitted an application for the Co-Coordinator of Conference Events. I was shocked to get an interview and then the offer to join the team! This involvement with the knowledge community led to the support of my department to attend the National Conference for the first time. Building the relationships with those on the leadership team kept me grounded especially with the shock of attending my first National NASPA Conference. The sheer amount of attendees and the numbers of sessions to attend was very overwhelming. By leaning on those in the knowledge community for guidance and having the SLPKC sponsored events to organize, I maintained a sense of purpose and made deeper connections than I expected to find.

Speaking of making deeper connections, I want to highlight a new program I’m particularly excited to announce. The Leadership Educator Exchange and Development Program or LEED is a new year-long mentorship program sponsored by the Student Leadership Program Knowledge Community and the New Professionals & Graduate Students Knowledge Community. Based upon feedback from SLPKC members and a desire to connect with member beyond the annual conference, the SLPKC leadership team created this program to foster connections and meaningful relationships between graduate students and higher education professionals interested in student leadership development. Mentor and mentees will be matched based on submitted applications. The SLPKC and NPGSKC will develop programming and content for mentors and mentees to discuss monthly. The monthly programming content is meant to serve as a guide and springboard for further conversations and growth. The program is limited and application based. Participants should be NASPA members as well as members in the SLPKC and NPGCKC as appropriate. The initial cohort will be selected for their interest and commitment to engagement in the program. Mentor applications and Mentee applications are live!!! Applications are due by November 30th, 2018.

Plugging into the SLPKC gave me the home I was seeking within the larger NASPA community. Through this connection I realized there are a variety of ways to find the level of engagement you may be looking for. Here is a list of ways you can get involved:

  • Subscribe and contribute to the knowledge community newsletters. For those that may be seeking a way to write but aren’t ready to pursue publishing in a journal this is a low barrier way to showcase your work.
  • Reach out to do an SLPKC Instagram takeover! @naspa_slpkc
  • Subscribe to the NASPA Leadership podcast on Soundcloud
  • Volunteer to review KC sponsored sessions and/or submit a proposal to be considered for KC sponsorship
  • Reach out to [email protected] to volunteer in other ways with the KC
  • Start a conversation on social media @naspaSLPKC #SAlead (twitter) Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community-NASPA (facebook)
  • Submit your research/best practices to be included in the knowledge community resources
  • Be a mentor or mentee at your regional conference, the national conference or through our NEW partnership with the New Professional Graduate Student KC - LEED
  • Celebrate great work through the Spotlight Series and Awards
  • Attend a webinar and/or reach out with an idea for webinar content you would like to see past webinars can be found on Youtube or search for NASPA SLPKC
  • Find us at your regional conference or at the National Conference! Here’s where you can find the SLPKC at the 2019 Annual Conference in Los Angeles:
  • Think Tank & Awards Tuesday, March 12th 2019, 10:00 - 11:30 am
  • Pre-Conference Session, Career Readiness through Leadership Education March Sunday, March 10th 2019, 1:00 - 4:00 pm
  • NASPA Grad Prep & Knowledge Communities Fair Monday, March 11th 2019 7:00 - 9:00 pm
  • New! Lunch and Lead Series
  • Knowledge Community Sponsored Sessions
  • And finally, consider joining the KC leadership team! Open positions are listed in Volunteer Central.

For more information about the SLPKC check out the website.

We are always looking for new ideas and partnerships. You can connect with me via email at [email protected]

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