This is the time of year when we say goodbye to the dog days of summer and gear up for the start of school. You can feel the excitement building as we turn our attention towards the WELCOMING of new students and the WELCOMING BACK of those returning to our campuses. Every residential move-in, program orientation, and staff training brings us closer to our start. What’s great is that each year we don’t settle back to where we ended but move forward with new ideas, visions, vigor, and enthusiasm.

Make a difference

To the #HumansofNIRSA, I WELCOME you! A special welcome aboard to all the new members and congratulations to the recently graduated who have started their professional journeys. In this upcoming year, I challenge all of us to make a difference on our campuses and within our Association.

Want to make a difference but don’t know where or how to start? Consider these unexpected but realistic ways—adopted from Jim Ziolkowski, founder of buildOn and author of Walk in Their Shoes: Can One Person Change the World?

Start with your own (NIRSA) Family
Be engaged, be informed, and be involved. You impact others as a mentor, a role model, a teacher, a learner, and a leader. Talking about leadership, it’s never too early to start thinking about leadership opportunities within the Association. Believe it or not, recruitment is already underway for the NIRSA Board of Directors and the Member Network for 2018-2019.

Rethink a special occasion
We all want to engage with others regularly, but when our calendars start exploding with to-dos, we often forget to schedule the hours—or can’t even find them. Use special dates such as your birthday (or NIRSA’s birthday), an anniversary, or special occasions to set aside some time to engage with others, perform service, or pay it forward to the profession.

Be you (even the not-so-chipper you)
Always strive to be the best you that you can be. Your impact will be felt when you commit to and engage with others. Consider being part of a shared NIRSA Community of Practice.

Start a chain reaction
Be involved and get others involved. Be that spark.

Reaffirming our values

In each edition of my President’s Notes, I plan on highlighting how the Association or our members have reaffirmed our values. This month, we celebrate Health & Wellbeing. NIRSA’s health and wellbeing model was recently welcomed and highlighted at the 6th International Forum on Student Affairs in Monterrey, Mexico. April Lovett (Moore), Assistant Director of Assessment and Student Development at Florida State University, and Darryl Lovett, Assistant Director for Campus Recreation’s Fitness Facility Operations at FSU, presented on the impact of recreation and integrated wellbeing on student programs and services. Thank you, April and Darryl for representing NIRSA and leading with our values! Let’s hope this starts a chain reaction.

Strategic planning

I would also like to welcome aboard the Strategic Plan Task Force. The learning journey starts now to inform strategic thinking; design and lead engagement with stakeholder groups; and draft a strategic plan for the next 3-5 years. More updates will appear in future communications. Here are the members of the task force:

  • Leah Hall-Dorothy, Co-Chair, Director of Recreational Sports, Oregon State University
  • Don Stenta, Co-Chair, Director, The Ohio State University
  • Earl Cabellon, Assistant Director of Student Personnel, University of Maryland-College Park
  • Victoria Lopez-Herrera, Associate Director for Student Development in Campus Recreation, The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Kevin Marbury, Vice President, Student Life, University of Oregon
  • Cara McFadden, Assistant Professor, Elon University
  • Chavonne Shorter, Assistant Director of Wellness, Spelman College
  • Pam Su, Director of Campus Recreation, San Francisco State University
  • Pam Watts, Executive Director, NIRSA
  • Erin O’Sullivan, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships, NIRSA

In memoriam

I welcome all to remember and reflect on the accomplishments of a true NIRSA original and an individual who made such a difference for so many. With the passing of Tony Clements this past June, NIRSA lost one of its giants. The Association can never adequately pay tribute to a man who contributed such considerable talents so selflessly and so frequently.

Tony was a great leader in our NIRSA Family; he joined NIRSA in 1972, volunteered in dozens of leadership positions, presented at more than 50 NIRSA events, and was a founding faculty member of the NIRSA School of Collegiate Recreation. The NIRSA Foundation honors the life and memory of Tony with the Jesse A. “Tony” Clements Heritage Scholarship.

Finally, welcome to the start of a new school year!

Peace, Love, and NIRSA,

#ElevateYourPath

Executive Director, Campus Life Services & Campus Center at |

Bill Crockett, RCRSP is currently the Executive Director of Campus Life Services at the University of Maryland Baltimore and the President on the NIRSA Board of Directors. He can be reached at president@nirsa.org.