The NIRSA conference is a family reunion and so much more

NIRSA members look forward to the annual NIRSA family reunion every year for a reason. They know that the spirit of every NIRSA event—particularly this incredible NIRSA family reunion—is, as NIRSA Student Leader Will Trent has summed up perfectly, “Peace, Love, and NIRSA.”

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The NIRSA Annual Conference is a once-a-year opportunity to reconnect with old friends, embrace new ones, and learn all about the latest trends in collegiate recreation. The 2017 NIRSA Annual Conference & Campus Rec and Wellness Expo more than lived up to expectations of thousands of attendees and exhibitors who are already excited for what NIRSA 2018 in Denver will have to offer.

“NIRSA means family. Every time I have attended conference, I come back with new ideas, new friends, and a refocused attitude and outlook. The sense of family was especially strong this year. ‘Peace, Love, and NIRSA!”

Richelle Harvey, Aquatics and Youth Programs Coordinator at Western Washington University

“The NIRSA Annual Conference is a great opportunity for collegiate recreation professionals to gather and share their knowledge, wisdom, and ideas with each other. It feels like a big family reunion! I’m already looking forward to next year!”

Lisa Shea, Associate Director, Fitness & Wellness, Membership Services, and Marketing at the University of Michigan

“My first NIRSA Annual Conference was an incredible week. Despite there being so many attendees, I never felt like just a number. I felt valued and invested in and I cannot wait for Denver next year!”

Caroline Ciell, Program Assistant at the University of Florida

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Whether you come to learn…

There is no better annual professional development opportunity for campus recreation professionals and students than the NIRSA Annual Conference. It’s the place where leading professionals and institutions come together to showcase best practices, cutting-edge programs, and life changing stories.

See related: Watch the NIRSA 2017 panel on “Creating a Culture of Wellbeing

“I left with new ideas, trends, best practices, and useful information and knowledge to implement at my institution. I can’t speak highly enough of the quality and variety of educational sessions.”

Chelsea Phipps, Assistant Director, Marketing & Informal Recreation at the University of Akron

“Every year I attend, I learn more and bring many ideas back to implement at my university.”

Alecia Stegenega, Aquatics Coordinator at the University of Illinois at Chicago

“I learned so much about campus recreation and student development that I did not know before.”

Sarah Mezzy, Videographer for Virginia Tech Recreational Sports Marketing

“The sessions were phenomenal and there was a very broad range of topics. I often found myself wishing I could attend multiple sessions at once.”

Brad Griffith, Director of Community Health Education Complex at John A. Logan College

To be inspired…

As usual, the conference presented members with some amazing keynote addresses. Ben Nemetin kicked off NIRSA 2017 with an inspiring presentation based on the question “What do you want to do before you die?,” pushing NIRSA members to think about how they can turn their hopes and dreams into realities.

Michel Falcon’s Closing General Session address asked members to consider how they can best service their participants, a perfect topic since NIRSA is all about how to improve the student experience and create future leaders.

“The connections you make and the information you learn will change your life and cultivate your passion for recreation.”

Troy Thornton, Marketing Supervisor at California State University, Northridge

“Attending the NIRSA Annual Conference is a sure-fire way of reestablishing my passion, values, and commitment to excellence.”

Liza Thalken, Instructional Programming Graduate Assistant at the University of Nebraska

To connect…

From hallway meetings to planned socials, the connections made outside of educational sessions are also a huge part of spreading and feeling the NIRSA love.

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“The Annual Conference is a great opportunity to network and learn in an atmosphere where we feel we all belong and can be ourselves.”

Andy Shell, Director of Campus Recreation at Campbell University

“Connecting with my colleagues at the NIRSA Annual Conference makes me proud of the work we are doing on all our campuses! We are making a difference in the world!”

Cindy Wright, Director of the Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Fitness and Director of Campus Recreation at Gettysburg College

The Cherry Blossom Ballroom of the Gaylord National was milling with people during both the People of Color Social and the LGBTQI & Friends Social, both of which were generously sponsored by PLAE.  Everyone came ready to celebrate some of the diversity that makes our Association so wonderful. In these often-tumultuous times, this showcase of camaraderie and unity was more than welcome!

“The NIRSA Annual Conference gave me the opportunity to meet professionals, learn about new trends in the industry, and form lifelong connections that I’ll cherish forever!”

Margie Wallington, Special Events Graduate Assistant at Ball State University

“The Annual Conference is a great place to connect and reconnect with colleagues across the industry. The ability to build and maintain relationships, while being inspired to enhance recreation and wellness services on your home campus is incredibly valuable!”

Chris Nasti, Assistant Director of Fitness and Wellness Programs at American University

See related: Watch the NIRSA 2017 “Annual Meeting of Members

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campus rec & wellness exhibitors

To discover what’s trending…

This year’s Campus Rec & Wellness Expo had a new name, but the exhibitors who displayed their products, services, technologies, and more continued to shine an amazing spotlight on what’s hot in campus recreation.

“The Campus Rec & Wellness Expo provides me an opportunity to interact face-to-face with vendors. To see them in person and to put in the time to cultivate those relationships is invaluable to me!”

Ross Rodriguez, Assistant Director at the University of Texas at Austin

“The Campus Rec & Wellness Expo is by far the best vendor exhibition of any professional association in higher education.”

Victoria Lopez-Herrera, Associate Director Student Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio

“As a designer of recreation facilities, I am absolutely floored to be surrounded by such like-minded people who are engaged to make living a healthy well-balanced life with health and fitness at the forefront of one’s thinking. I will be back!”

Alexandra Bojarski-Stauffer, Sports & Recreation Professional Designer at HOK

“While the conference is a wonderful opportunity for sharing and learning, it really is a catalyst for meeting fantastic people and developing lifelong relationships.”

Chris Sgarzi, Principal at Sasaki Associates

To celebrate…

Members had the chance to celebrate both Rec Day and Canada Day with their NIRSA family members this year. On February 22—NIRSA’s birthday—members flooded the Campus Rec and Wellness Expo to grab a slice of cake, visit booths where they could pick up a Rec Day 2017 T-shirt, and check out all the exciting vendors.

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awards presented

Canada Day was a wonderful celebration of NIRSA’s newest region. Members had the opportunity to attend several Canada-specific educational sessions, proudly wore their NIRSA Canada pins, and made sure to stop by the Canada Social that evening. The social ended, of course, with a rousing chorus of “O Canada.”

To give back…

Whether it is by treating a student to lunch, lending a hand to the community service project, making a gift to the NIRSA Foundation, or connecting with a mentor to update them on your professional and personal developments, the NIRSA Annual Conference provides an unparalleled platform for campus recreation professionals to pay it forward.

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registrations provided by the NIRSA Foundation

 “My first NIRSA Conference was in 1995; while much has changed about the Association, what made me fall in love with it in the first place has not. The people, the willingness to share ideas, the desire to learn, and the embracing of mentorship—those are the reasons I’m NIRSA blue!”

Jacob K. Tingle, Director of Experiential Learning at Trinity University

 “Being at NIRSA has confirmed that this community is the one where I want to spend the rest of my professional career. I was honored to receive a scholarship to attend. Now I’m hopeful I’ll be able to find a job in the industry so that I will be able to attend future NIRSA conferences. I plan on giving back as much as I can so that others can have the same opportunities!”

Maia Canning, Graduate Assistant, Adventure Rec & Youth Programs, Marshall University

Whatever your reason, join us next year in Denver for more peace, love, and NIRSA

Inspiring educational session and guest speakers, countless chances to network, so many preconference opportunities, a dynamic Career Opportunities Center, NIRSA 2017 had something for everyone!

So, what keeps NIRSA members coming back year after year to the NIRSA Annual Conference? We asked a few NIRSA 2017 attendees to explain what makes the annual family reunion such a treat—why they look forward to embracing “Peace, Love, and NIRSA” with so many members every year.

“I left the conference reenergized, inspired, and excited to get back to work at my institution. I look forward to the journey that lies ahead with my new NIRSA family!”

Namoonga M Mantina, Campus Health and Wellness Coordinator at Beloit College

“As always, I leave feeling like I have learned new content and ideas and have seen my family in our big reunion. We continue to stick to our core values and we were reminded of how wonderful this network is.”

Stephanne Musser, Assistant Director of Fitness Programs and Services at The Ohio State University

“This was my first time attending the NIRSA conference and I was overwhelmed by how positive, friendly, and helpful literally everyone at the conference was. I think this is a testament to the culture of NIRSA itself, but the conference and all the sessions I attended really helped foster that open and inclusive environment. I loved it!”

Rose Freeman, Assistant Business Manager at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center

We hope to see you in Denver for NIRSA 2018!

Get your Peace, Love, and NIRSA t-shirt

Don’t miss your chance to get a Peace, Love, and NIRSA shirt from the Café Press online store.

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