By Alex Accetta, Mick Deluca, and Simon Bravo
NIRSA 2013 was a truly incredible experience for your Board of Directors.
As we think to 2013 and beyond, the 2,700+ NIRSA students, professionals, and associates who rocked Las Vegas for the 2013 Annual Conference offered us so many concrete examples and stories of members activating the association’s strategic values in their work on campuses across North America, and even beyond.
The event will be a well-spring of inspiration as your Board, and other volunteer leaders, along with the National Center team, share and continue working to rollout a strategic plan for the association.
As we come out of the conference, we are thankful for the opportunity to co-locate our Annual Conference with students and colleagues from ACPA – College Student Educators International. For the first time in the association’s 64-year history, NIRSA’s marquee event was held alongside a convention for one of the leading associations for students and professionals in the field of Student Affairs.
NIRSA members cultivated a spirit of collaboration with our ACPA counterparts as educational sessions were extremely well attended for both associations and saw very good cross-pollination of members. The shared theme of Inspiring Communities of Wellbeing demonstrates the collective nature of our work with a shared commitment to student growth and development and the unique nature of collegiate recreation serving the entire campus community.
At the Annual Meeting of Members, attending members a tangible metaphor to help them think about the six strategic values of the association; a top with Leadership; Service; Sustainable Communities; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Global Perspectives; and Health & Wellbeing printed on top was given to each attendee, as a window into thinking about how the association’s six strategic values can inform their work on each of their respective campuses.
As the Heritage Museum in the Expo hall made clear, collegiate recreation and NIRSA have a rich history. Significant growth and contributions have occurred throughout the decades as demonstrated by the timelines of our work. We encourage all of us to think about the timeline NIRSA, and of your university and your program as the foundation that has made the present possible and the inspiration that launches us into the future.
Co-location also offered the association an expanded platform to kick-off celebrations for a Centennial of Collegiate Recreation. As the centennial video played out, enriching a college or university student’s experience—equipping the them with the tools they need to make healthy, inclusive, sustainable choices for a lifetime of wellness—are the core of why collegiate recreation professionals, new and old, do what they do.
NIRSA leadership recognizes that we are “one NIRSA” and that our work swirls and blurs together to create a strong association without one value taking precedence over another. Whether it is us as individuals, our departments and campuses more broadly, or the association for leaders in collegiate recreation who activates this these values, who spins the top so to speak, it is balanced on our sweet spot of inspiring healthy, diverse, inclusive individuals and communities. The top serves as a symbol to demonstrate that it is the intersection of our values that makes us unique and strong and unites us all as members.
As we prepare to release our strategic plan and continue working to offer NIRSA members a broader, richer pallet of professional growth opportunities, your volunteer leaders are grateful that the NIRSA Family doesn’t just come together for their annual reunion; we look forward to your feedback and questions throughout the coming year. As always, please feel free to contact any member of your Board of Directors, the Member Network, Assembly, or National Center team for more information, or to tell us about what’s happening on your campus.