Ahh…the most wonderful time of the year…CONFERENCES!! Those of you that follow me on Twitter have probably seen that earlier in the fall, I was doing a bit of traveling. PDFM U is a rather small school, so we don’t have a huge professional development budget to send all of us student affairs professionals across the country to big, fancy conferences. Instead, we get creative and we stay local. Creative is me finding things like #sachat and creating this blog to touch base with other SA pros. Staying local is MACUHO – the Mid-Atlantic Association of College and University Housing Officers.
The first conference I ever went to for MACUHO was MAPC – the Mid-Atlantic Placement Conference, great for if you are doing a regional job search. I wasn’t originally planning on going, but I decided to sign up at the last minute as a warm up for the MUCH larger TPE (The Placement Exchange). The good news is that every job offer I received came from MAPC! For those of you in grad school now, don’t discount smaller, regional conferences.
In October, I went to the Student Staff Live In (SSLI) at Rutgers, Newark. This conference was aimed at all sorts of live in/on staff, ranging from RAs to professionals. I enjoyed bringing my RAs with me and talking about why they were choosing the sessions they wanted to attend. Additionally, I got to attend some sessions aimed at new professionals. One thing to note – this conference was held on Saturday, October 27th, a day that most schools in the area were announcing their decision to close due to Hurricane Sandy. Lots of the professionals were constantly answering calls and texts regarding their institutions’ plans for the hurricane. It was definitely interesting to hear how other schools were planning to handle things. Also, it was nice knowing that I was not the only person with two phones in the room.
Earlier in November, I went to MACUHO’s annual conference in Baltimore. While SSLI has a lot for RAs, the annual conference is more geared at grad students and up, but can also be useful for students that have decided they want to do college forever…or in other words, become a student affairs professional. This conference made me eager to participate in more MACUHO events, such as helping with a committee or participating in RELI – Regional Entry Level Institute.
A bonus for both of these conferences was seeing people I knew from other institutions. The world of student affairs is a rather small one…you know the whole “six degrees of separation” thing? Well, in student affairs, it’s like two. If that. I loved catching up with old friends and making new ones. At MACUHO (it was a three day event) they had social events including a casino night and karaoke night. Tons of fun. I honestly am already looking forward to next year (Pittsburgh!) and seeing some of the people I met this past year.