What is the Value of National Student Affairs Conferences?

'Worth' highlighted, under 'Value' ACPA

Conference Registration = $600 (less if done earlier, $450 for early bird)

ACPA Membership = $93-149 (2013-14 Membership Rates from ACPA)


Conference Registration = $480 (less if done earlier, $430 for early bird)

NASPA Membership = $75-242


Hotel = $200/night (average for Tampa, higher for New Orleans)

Airfare = $200-700 (depends on several variables)

Total (average, estimated) = $1,900 cost per conference + food, parking, taxis, and misc. items

I'll be honest, I thought this would be a lot higher. While it could be a tad higher depending on individual variables, and food could also be a huge expense, I envisioned costs being much higher (and they most likely will be especially for ACPA in Montreal next year). With that being said, a lot of folks are not going to be able to just drop this sort of money on a conference without any sort of assistance. Many of us are going to have our own homes and families to keep afloat and a national student affairs conference (which has had dwindling returns and value in my opinion) just will not make the cut when there are plenty of cheaper (or free) and better professional development options out there. This goes too for the webinars I've seen out there for student affairs folks. Why are they so expensive? Is it assumed multiple people are sitting in on one registration? Isn't it just someone doing a presentation virtually? It seems absurd to me that it needs to cost professionals hundreds of dollars for at times just an hour presentation.

I'm very grateful to be able to have had the support of my institution to go to a national conference. This is a rarity though (especially to have most everything covered) and not to be assumed to be available to most folks. I presented at ACPA and appear to be one of a few in my Student Life office going to any conferences this year. I'm not competing for this funding with anyone so I haven't had to valiantly prove why I deserve to go.

I think what this high cost results in is an insular, privileged, select group of people that can afford conferences or are lucky enough to have their institution support them. This ends up with us having the usual suspects at conferences and leaving a lot of other amazing professionals out of the inner circles. It comes across as clique-y and oft-putting for people from the outside. What these conferences always do best is bring people together but it isn't doing too well at that if it is the same cohort of people coming together all the time. We need more voices included in these discussions. This will add value and return on investment for sessions, committees, and the entire experience when there is more diversity of perspective from different institutions and people from different backgrounds.

I've been wanting to capture my thoughts on this for a while now. I gave it a fair amount of consideration before posting and I appreciate any insight from others who may have planned conferences or just have something to share. I think this is a valid discourse to have so I felt it important to put forth my thoughts here. We need to do better to bring people in for these opportunities to move our profession forward. It seems like we all could really use it.

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

The Student Affairs Spectacular Podcast Premiere Episode!

SAC PodcastI just want to push out the project I've been working on for a while now to everyone. I've been producing a weekly podcast for The Student Affairs Collective, interviewing awesome professionals from the field. It has been a lot of fun and the premiere episode just went live yesterday. You can find it here. I appreciate your support of this endeavor! It's been a lot of work but it is all coming together and I'm really happy with the end result. Check back every week for a new episode!

Book Review: The I's Have It

71Id5dCTjPL._SL1500_So I just blew through this book recently and enjoyed it's perspective not only on introversion but on it's impact on student affairs work. As I get ready to emerge into the field, I look forward to utilizing this text and recommending it to others to more fully understand how I work and operate on a daily basis. It's a quick, fun, easy read for a lazy weekend coming up so check it out and support the author, Amma Marfo, (who is a fellow student affairs professional no less!). I'll keep some book recommendations coming as I begin to read a lot more frequently on my train rides and while waiting for flights and things.

Perspectives on Productivity and Procrastination

procrastination So I've been wanting to write on this for a while now, as I've been trying to "hack" my life in terms of productivity. It's a topic I'm very interested in since I always have this desire to do more or at the very least, do what I need to do more efficiently.

I read an article recently entitled "The 80/20 Rule and Listening to Your Inner Procrastinator" which had some very intriguing insights into the idea of productivity. It is from Entrepreneur so it has a bit of that focus but the points it makes are still poignant and valid.

My personal favorite is the idea of flipping your to-do list. You always are going to have that one thing you just don't want to do for the day, and you'll do everything else to rip off that metaphorical bandage. You might go do your dishes, vacuum your entire apartment, all instead of doing what needs to be done. The author recommends flipping it, doing the worst thing first and gliding through the rest of the day. Even if you don't get everything else done, you got a big, nasty behemoth of procrastination out of the way.

Also, I've noted recently my admiration for the Lumosity app for fun brain games. I usually play them on my iPhone when I wake up but I've noticed a difference in my scores on an important variable; whether or not I've eaten breakfast yet. This simple change is a lesson we should all take in about the most important meal of the day (there is some argument here whether or not it is the MOST important, but that might be another blog post). Getting the day off to the right start, eating well, and getting enough rest to begin with are all important aspects to how productive we'll be throughout the day. If you eat a bunch of sugary confections and a gallon of coffee every morning because you need it to wake up since you didn't sleep enough the night before, the day is already spiraling out of control! Break the cycle; get to bed early, detox off the bad breakfast foods (or start eating anything at all), and go all beast mode on your to-do list!

"Fit" This Article in for a Read.

"Fit" This Article in for a Read.

This great article, titled "A Good 'Fit' - Student Affairs, Fitness, and Your Professional Development" was written by a great colleague here at Rutgers University, Krista Kohlmann, and essentially encapsulates what I want to do with this blog. It makes connections through all my interests to guide my own development as a person and a professional in the ultimate goal of doing the best work I can. Enjoy!