Amidst the hustle and bustle of staff banquets, exit interviews, evaluations, and graduation, I can’t help but have words of John Dewey resonating in my mind: “We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” It is my hope that as NIRSA students, we take the time to reflect on the past year. Think of all the wins this year, big ones and little ones, that brought you to where you are today. I hope that in your reflection you find that you, your institution, and your constituents are better than they were a year ago today. Besides thinking about quotes in my spare time, I also think about values. My personal values—community, integrity, excellence, leadership, and learning—are all at the center of everything that I do. They also spell out my last name (C-I-E-L-L), so I never forget that they are a part of who I am. As you can see, there is some overlap with NIRSA’s Strategic Values, which is a big reason why involvement in NIRSA is so fulfilling for me.

As we, NIRSA students, work on forging our future as part of the student membership, we must remember to keep values at the center of everything we do. I know that the Student Leadership Team is committed to forging our future with these values and YOUR perspective at the forefront.

The Student Leadership Team (SLT for short) are also guided by four pillars: Student Driven Issues, Student Member Recruitment and Retention, Advocating for Students, and Student Development. The four pillars guide our work teams and committees to keep students at the center, as the heartbeat of NIRSA. The Student Leadership Team wants to hear where you want to see NIRSA students go this year and we want to make it happen. We can’t forge our future without your input, so I strongly encourage you to reach out to your regional student leader or myself with any ideas, comments, or feedback:

Canada: Zack Sephton
Zack is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Windsor where he works with marketing, fitness, low-ropes, events, intramurals, and facilities! He loves quoting Taylor Swift and Will Ferrell. This year, Zack is excited to “lay the foundation to bring the Championship Series and GA positions to Canada!” After meeting him at the Annual Conference it is safe to say that Zack is going to bring some great ideas to the SLT this year!

StrengthsQuest Strengths: Adaptability, Competition, Restorative, Deliberative, Strategic

Region I: Jonathan Sanders
Jonathan is currently a Graduate Assistant for Intramural Sports at Boston College. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of South Carolina and loves peanut butter m&ms and gummy bears. Jonathan can’t wait for “everyone to visit my *new, adopted* home in Boston for #NIRSA2019!” So make sure you stop by and say hi to Jonathan when you’re in Boston because he loves meeting new people!

Strengths: Activator, Woo, Communication, Harmony, Includer

Region II: Corrine Pruettnirsa student
Corrine currently serves as a Graduate Assistant for Facilities and Special Events at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She completed her undergraduate work at Central Washington University and wants to host a “Region II Retreat” for state student leaders in Region II. Corrine is also very organized and believes that “excellence is never an accident. It is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.”

Strengths: Relator, Significance, Restorative, Achiever, Responsibility

Region III: Stephanie Calhoun
Kid President Stephanie Calhoun was a member of the #RamFam at the University of Georgia before becoming a Graduate Assistant for Intramural and Club Sports at Indiana University- Bloomington. She wants everybody to “be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody.” She is originally from Athens, GA and is excited to continue to showcase all that NIRSA has to offer to NIRSA students. If you ever want to make Steph’s day, just buy her a pack of wild blueberry skittles!

Strengths: Harmony, Developer, Includer, Belief, Responsibility

Region IV: Cie Cie Leonard
Cie Cie Leonard and I had the privilege of working together in undergrad at the University of Florida. She now currently serves as the Graduate Assistant of Fitness and Wellness at Texas A&M–Commerce. She lives by this quote from Mark Twain: “With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.” Cie Cie brings the energy and she can’t wait to unite all of the students in Region IV and show them all of the great things they can accomplish together this year.

Strengths: Restorative, Arranger, Individualization, Relator, Belief

Region V: DeVanee Lasley
DeVanee Lasley attended Western Kentucky University in undergrad before becoming a Graduate Assistant for Development and Special Events. DeVanee has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know and she is committed to forging the future for NIRSA students. DeVanee is passionate about issues surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion and this year wants to direct fundraising efforts to HBCUs. DeVanee loves “seeing something that I have done help someone. There is no better feeling than when the results pay off.”

Strengths: Learner, Responsibility, Arranger, Restorative, Discipline

Region VI: Rachel Horras
Rachel Horras attended Arizona State University in undergrad before becoming a Graduate Assistant for Facilities at Washington State University. She is originally from Denver, Colorado and loves corndogs (looking at you @LSU). Rachel believes in the words of Elenor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” She also wants to hear from you, NIRSA students! So don’t be afraid to call her or beep her if you wanna reach her!

Strengths: Activator, Significance, Command, Arranger, Communication

Past President’s Representative & NIRSA HQ Liaison

Rounding out our SLT are two professionals who are integral to how we function as a team. Mike Waldron, a Boston native and Past NIRSA President, currently serves as the Past President Representative. He brings a strategic and historical perspective to help guide our team. Our NIRSA HQ Liaison is Ms. Emily Hughes. Emily works with the Member Network and specifically with the SLT, providing us everything we need to function successfully. Our team couldn’t do what we do without both these individuals and for that we are truly thankful!

Mike’s Strengths: Strategic, Relator, Communication, Analytical, Learner

Emily’s Strengths: Individualization, Strategic, Arranger, Connectedness, Learner

The SLT would also like to extend a special thank you to Vicki Highstreet for facilitating some team building exercises to dicuss and engage with our strengths.

Staying Connected

Check out the Student Resources page on the NIRSA website. This has great information about the Mentor Program, Awards and Scholarships, and much more. You can also get involved with the NIRSA Championship Series—don’t miss out on a great opportunity to develop personally and professionally with extramural tournaments. Each of our email addresses are linked to the regional student leader’s name and mine is linked here. If you’re not sure about who your regional leader is, there’s more information regarding NIRSA’s regions available on the NIRSA website. Send us your ideas about how you want to #ForgeOurFuture as NIRSA students.

If you want to hear more from your SLT, tune in to #RecChat on Wednesday, May 16 at 2:00pm EST where we’ll get to engage and talk more about forging the future.

You stay classy, NIRSA family!