“Don’t be a pepper on the eyes of people; Rather be the salt on their tongue and make a difference that influences their sense of belonging to the earth.” — Israelmore Ayivor
What is the first word that comes to mind when you are asked to give? We often only think of giving in financial terms and miss the invitation to pay it forward with our time or talents.
I am sure we can all recall a mentor from our life that has selflessly given hours to listen, coach, and support our personal and professional growth. Reflect on how you have given your time to NIRSA and our shared profession. No matter what stage you are at in your career, you have opportunities to give your time.
The simple act of taking time to connect with another member at a local, regional, national, or even international learning event or mentor an emerging professional online are ways to give of your time to advance our profession.
You may have volunteered to serve as a session monitor or taken the leap to submit you first conference presentation proposal—both of which involve giving time in service of others in NIRSA.
What about your talents? What expertise can you share that will contribute to the campus recreation profession and our association? Your talents are far more than simply the job functions you fulfill on a day-to-day basis. My advice to young professionals on this topic is “never define who you are by a job description!” We are all so much more than the jobs we do and we all have talents that we haven’t even discovered yet.
Your talents are unique to you because it’s the way you use them that will impact others. Global analytics and advice firm Gallup contend that “people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.” In a 2014 Business Journal article, author Susan Sorenson argues that using your strengths and talents “leads to improved health and wellness outcomes,” and makes people less likely to report “experiencing worry, stress, anger, sadness, or physical pain,” and boosts positive emotions, increases levels of energy and engagement.
Our talents can also be shared in many ways to advance the success and work of our professional organization. The pathways to leadership are many and diverse in NIRSA. Consider sharing your talents by getting involved at any level.
Volunteer to serve on a committee or a dedicated task force. State and Provincial involvement is local and rewarding; Regional event committees and networking leadership are great ways to make memories and build connections; NIRSA Foundation volunteer opportunities will expose you to some of the most generous people you’re likely to ever meet; Boards of Directors, the NIRSA Assembly, NIRSA Services Corporation, NIRSA Championship Series, conference program committees, and event-based opportunities: chose a path and share your talents!
There are many places in our lives that we are asked to give of our treasure. We each have our own life experiences that influence where we choose to give financial support to a cause or charity.
A tradition in my family is to decide together at the beginning of each year which charities we want to support. That family decision doesn’t always include the NIRSA Foundation as a priority. But my family knows that I value the role the NIRSA Foundation plays in supporting the next generation of higher education professionals through scholarships, as well as funding important and influential research and student sports officials’ development. The NIRSA Foundation may be most visible at the Annual Conference; but the work of our Foundation is focused year-round on creating pathways to giving that meet members where they are in their careers and life.
If you haven’t ever before chosen a way to give financially to the philanthropic arm of our organization, I encourage to reach out to a NIRSA Foundation Board Member to learn if there is a giving pathway that inspires you.
My family celebrates both the Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving holidays. The focus of both our celebrations is the opportunity to give thanks for what’s good in our lives, honour our friends and family, and celebrate nature’s bounty. This year, I want to especially honour all of the volunteers who have served our NIRSA this past year and express my thanks to the NIRSA HQ team.
Take time this autumn to reflect on what you are thankful for and consider ways that you can share your time, talent, treasure, and thanks heading into 2020.