Whether in person or online, NIRSA conference attendees are rarely shy. As the 2021 NIRSA Virtual Conference & Campus Rec and Wellness Expo, presented by PLAE launched, attendees, presenters, and exhibitors were finding ways to connect — in session chats, ad-hoc group channels (looking at you “WandaVision Spoilers/Theories” Group), and on social media.

Here’s a look at some of the buzz during the first day.

Lobby chatter

The excitement in the lobby and across public conference chats was palpable.

“Seeing familiar faces is bringing a smile to mine!”

“Sending love to the NIRSA fam! Nice to see you all here! 💙 (And major kudos to everyone involved on putting this together – so well done!)”

“Thank you to NIRSA for all the hard work to continue to support our professional development as campus recreation professionals. I am thoroughly enjoying the virtual conference!”

“A huge thank you to all the donors to the Jennifer de-Vries Endowment who made the scholarship program possible! So thankful to be able to attend this Virtual NIRSA!”

“Home run, NIRSA Events. Bravo. Let’s GOOOOOO!”

Michelle Poler on the Main Stage

Many attendees appreciated Michelle Poler’s message from her Main Stage session “Fear Less, Do More” to face our fears and grow.

“Michelle Poler’s talk was super inspirational! So happy to have started my day this way!”

“Very empowering!”

“Love the concept of being authentic -Be You, as presented by Michelle Poler. I also enjoyed ‘The enemy of success is comfort.’ Great presentation!”

“LOVE MICHELLE’S INTRO! I’ve been dancing all morning!”

“Overheard” in sessions

Live and on-demand sessions engaged attendees throughout the day!

“Going through this chat gave me excitement as someone that facilitates on EDI/DEI. Thank you April for getting everyone excited from the assessment aspect. #AssessmentNerdsRule” – From “Culturally Responsible Assessment Practices

“Loved your message! This will help me so much!” – From “Mindset Matters: Planning Special Events to Be Adaptable for Changes Big and Small

“Historical and cultural perspectives are so crucial to understanding barriers to participation!” – From “Ask the Black Girl: A Conversation Spanning Wellbeing to Improved Programming for Black Students

“Fantastic job team! Appreciate you sharing best practices and supporting wellbeing for all students & employees. A lot learned!” – From “Health and Wellbeing in 2021 and Beyond: Insights and Lessons Learned

Highlights from social media


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In case you missed it…

Did you get hung up on a Zoom meeting and miss one of the many live sessions that you could have attended? Don’t worry, most live sessions will be recorded and available to watch on-demand through April 30. Here are a few other things that may have slipped by today, but whose opportunities have not yet gone.

Welcome from NIRSA leaders

If you didn’t have a chance to check out the “Welcome to NIRSA 2021 Virtual” conference kick-off message from NIRSA President David Davenport and Executive Director Pam Watts, attendees can watch it on-demand.

Facility tours

Attendees can tour facilities—like Texas A&M University’s Polo Road Rec Center, sponsored by Mondo or Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Fitness and Wellness Complex, sponsored by Life Fitness—in the on-demand section of the conference.

Fitness forum

On-demand fitness sessions from some of our favorite associate members—like Full Body Workout with Michelle, presented by Life Fitness or Functional Hip Mobility Workout, sponsored by Mondo—will inspire you while you perspire.

Foundation 5K

It’s not too late to participate—individually or as part of a team—in the NIRSA Foundation Virtual 5K experience. Register as an individual or sign up a team and raise money for emerging needs such as the COVID-19 membership fee relief, an EDI climate study, and other strategic initiatives.

Award updates

Kevin Martin received the 2021 Juliette Moore Distinguished Leadership Award during the 2021 Founders People of Color Social, sponsored by PLAE. “I will keep serving for free, so long as I am free to do so,” said Kevin in accepting the award. In celebrating Kevin’s contributions, Juliette Moore added: “Kevin Martin is the true spirit of our founders.”

A detailed list of all the award recipients who are unveiled during conference will be published at the end of the event.

Coming up Wednesday, February 24

Three blocks of live and simu-live sessions will be available tomorrow. Other events you may want to add to your Wednesday schedule include:

Meetings and Events Director at | NIRSA Profile

Sierra Smith is currently the Director of Meetings & Events at NIRSA.