VPSAs, Don’t Overlook the Opportunities Connected with NASPA Regional Conferences

Eric Grospitch, Vice President for Student Life, Washburn University

September 10, 2018

I recently had the opportunity to visit with a colleague about the history of Region IV-West and fondly remembering seeing the likes of David Ambler, Suzanne Gordon, Jim Rhatigan, Barb Snyder, Prakash Matthew and others in crowded hallways.  They were trying to find a few minutes to connect with each other while also making themselves available to other conference attendees that wanted to pick their brains on a top issue of the day.

As we laughed I was struck when she said – and that’s you and your friends now, Eric.  My laughter stopped.  No way are we the same as those that came before us, we couldn’t possibly serve those same roles.  Sure, we have their jobs, but not their roles.  Upon further reflection, we are them.  We are the senior student affairs officers that many new and mid-level professionals aspire to be.

With all of the competing calls for our time, conferences to attend and campus challenges, it is easy to put the regional conferences on the back burner and send our directors and AVPs to represent our universities. Since a top 10 list takes too long I ask you to take five to prioritize your NASPA regional conference this year:

5. Leading the way, provide an example for your team of the value of a regional conference. Regionals tend to be closer and less expensive. Bring a larger group, comprised of undergrads, grads, and members of your team to create more synergy.

4. Opportunity for "deep dives" with other VPs from the region. Conference sessions are great, but much of the value is from the face-to-face hallway chats with other leaders from institutions with your regional commonality.

3. Opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with new professionals and graduate students.

2. Connect with NASPA leadership regarding the current NASPA strategic planning process, Advisory Services and dialogue about fraternity and sorority life.

1. It's time! We've gained so much from our NASPA connections--colleagues, information, friendships, resources--now is the time to give back through association leadership, mentorship, and support.

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