Q: What’s Your Happy Place?

Answers:

a) ACPA17 National Convention
b) Volunteering ^
c) Networking ^
d) All of the above!

If you are anything like me, the annual convention is your happy place. It’s been on your calendar for a while (or for at least a year) and you’ve been excited about the positive energy that a diverse conference community that refuels your purpose and transforms your work in Higher Education brings.

Last year, I was able to connect with my Student Affairs family, especially with one of my past mentors, Jayne Brownell (a 2017 Diamond Honoree!) who helped frame my work as an emerging professional ten years ago. During our conversation, our paths also crossed with Sandra S. Johnson!  It was a surreal moment, to be standing with two exemplary women who shaped my philosophy for leadership and student affairs.  Time flies! Today, I reflect and cannot believe that it’s been ten years since I took my first job in Higher Education.

I have a challenge for you this year- volunteer at the ACPA17 National Convention. Attending the ACPA17 Convention provides a multitude of opportunities to be an engaged learner, but it also offers unique opportunities to network and/or volunteer.

In our work, we challenge our students to get engaged, so why not fully maximize your ACPA17 experience through volunteering and networking?

Volunteering can be a great many things, it can be 1) networking, 2) challenging your comfort zone, 3) being a positive influence and/or 4) making a difference! Volunteering can also be a creative platform to job search, make a new life-long friend or invest back into the profession of Higher Education. Whatever your reasons and/or outcomes, it is important to realize your involvement with ACPA17 can be more than your happy place, it can become your future.

Networking and/or volunteering can assist in developing new skills or add invaluable experience to enhance your strengths. It can expose you to new possibilities and/or open a door that you didn’t even know existed; there is power and potential in a single exchange- you never know when you could meet your next boss (just make sure to follow up through LinkedIn, an email or phone call)!

During this year’s convention, attendees will have the new opportunity to volunteer on-site with local not-for-profit agencies; this new initiative will be called “Service-on-the-Go!” and provide hands-on-activities to make a difference for $5.00 or less. Attendees can make a blanket for a child in foster care,  paint an affirmation rock and/or make a activity kit for Children’s Hospital.

I am thankful to be a member of the Convention Experiences team, they have been nothing but supportive; together, we have brainstormed ideas to shape a great convention experience for 2017! Being a part of the planning team has also helped me to refocus my attention on the heart of hospitality and enhance my practice with my students at Columbus State Community College, to consider their needs and to focus on tangible ways to support them as they face challenges in their lives.  I hope that you will think about volunteering and networking as another way to experience the convention and develop your career in Higher Education.

Q: Will you take the chance and decide to offer your time this year as a volunteer?  And/or will you make the promise to network and be prepared to engage others fully, in order to create an atmosphere which celebrates our diverse membership?

Answers:

a) Yes, I will appreciate the importance of our diverse membership and use my skills as a contributing volunteer.
b) Yes, I will maximize my convention experience through networking (& follow up on my connections through LinkedIn, an email or phone call).
c) Yes, All of the above!

To learn about ACPA17 volunteer opportunities and how to sign up as a volunteer, please visit the Convention website and check your email in February!

kim-rhyanKimberly Rhyan is the Director of Student Engagement and Leadership for Student Life at Columbus State Community College. Kim has been working in Higher Education since 2003 and received awards and honors in New York and Ohio for her innovative programming. She earned her B.A. in Fine Art from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and M.A. in Creative Arts Therapy from Hofstra University. Kim seeks to support college students to increase levels of personal and academic growth, especially in connection to leadership and advancement of a career. She coordinates the Columbus State Scholar Network and chairs the Ohio Reach Campus Liaison Team (S.P.A.R.K.) at Columbus State; S.P.A.R.K. Supports foster youth to Prepare, Achieve, Realize and Keep their educational goals within reach.

@kimberlycolleen

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