The third day of live programming flew by and attendees were so thankful for the opportunity to connect and engage with friends and colleagues at a time when doing so at such a scale in-person isn’t yet safe.

See what people were saying on the final day of a truly memorable virtual conference and expo.

“My first NIRSA and honestly one of the best conferences! Great speakers and I actually enjoyed getting the extra info via chat more than anything! I would never get that and those extra resources in person! Thank you everyone for all your hard work!”

“I miss everyone! Thanks for making this the best it could be under the circumstances. Love our NIRSA fam!”

“Without a travel budget, this has been amazing for me to connect and engage with NIRSA!”

“Thank you for delivering so spectacularly in a new format and in a whole new world!”

“Being my first time at a NIRSA Conference, I didn’t know what to expect…I really appreciated the variety of sessions you offered. The guest speakers were AWESOME. Thank you for a great experience.”

“Thank you for a great few days! The content was great!”

“I can’t believe it’s coming to an end.”

The sessions and speakers were again amazing, and #SocksofNIRSA continues to go strong among members. But, be honest, who had “#dadjokesofnirsa on their NIRSA 2021 Virtual bingo card?

Here are a few other highlights from day three.

Greg Bell on the Main Stage

Hundreds of people tuned in for Greg Bell’s main stage session “What’s Going Well? Tools for Difficult Times” and his Learning Lab session with Director of Administration and Assessment at Colorado State University-Fort Collins Erin Patchett. Attendees enjoyed Greg’s positivity and enthusiasm.


Greg reminded listeners “you are a miracle. Treat yourself and those around you as a miracle and you find good things will happen.”

“I absolutely love this. Such a positive way to think and start your day. Strange that even though it sounds so simple, we forget. Greg Bell reminds us how to stay positive and thrive. His words are perfect.”

“Greg Bell’s session this morning got me feeling energized!”

“Overheard” in sessions

Three blocks of live and simu-live sessions kept attendees learning and sharing. Fitness breaks kept the blood circulating. Live conversations with exhibitors provided a forum for answering questions. And social meet-ups kept us laughing.

Most live and simu-live sessions have been added to the on-demand section of the Pheedloop platform and will continue to be accessible to registrants until April 30.

See what people were saying about just some of the sessions that debuted on day three.

“This presentation is just what I needed for my dissertation. I literally was about to start deep diving this topic.”

“This is so on point for us. We are having the same set of questions raised about what is a user and why.” – From “Who Ya Callin’ a User? the Impact of How You Define Participants in Campus Recreation

“Gosh, thank y’all so much for the conversation!”

“These are excellent takeaways/action items. And Jim, your role modeling and active efforts are something that are often missing from leaders with dominant social identities.”

“Thank you all for a powerful presentation!” – From “More than a Diversity Statement: Infusing EDI in the Everyday

“Cannot wait to apply some of these ideas to our intramural program!”

“Great jobs and ideas! I will definitely be incorporating some of these with my staff.” – From “Open the Gates for Staff Retention: Strategies to Motivate, Develop, and Recognize Student Staff

“This group is dedicated to creating resources for our community to assist in developing esport programs on your campus! Our mission is creating some standardization. This presentation is just the beginning.” – From Cybbi Barton co-presenter of “Developing a Comprehensive Esports Program in Campus Recreation

Conversation around esports , as with many topics addressed during the 2021 Virtual Conference, will continue on NIRSA Connect and through future Ideas in Motion conversations.

Closing Session

Without flights to catch, many tuned-in to the live NIRSA 2021 Virtual Conference Closing Session and shared their goodbyes and kudos! 2021 NIRSA Virtual Conference Program Chair Erin Patchett, NIRSA President David Davenport, and NIRSA Executive Director Pam Watts spent a few minutes wrapping-up of conference events and looking to the future of our association.

“Admittedly, I am a little sad we are heading into the closing session. It has been great to connect with so many of you, but I know I haven’t ‘seen’ many people too. Thank you NIRSA and the planning committee for really doing a great job.”

“Great job Erin, the program committee, the NIRSA HQ staff, and everyone else who helped put this on!”

“So grateful for all of the wonderful people in this profession. Really enjoyed this conference – shoutout to the program committee and the Headquarters staff and all of the presenters and everyone else who made it work so well!”

“Opening session [of 2022] may just have to be HUGS!” – Stacey Hall 2021 NIRSA Honor Award recipient

“Excellent job y’all! Loved this experience.”

The final live event of the NIRSA 2021 Virtual Conference program was the NIRSA LGBTQ and Allies Social sponsored by PLAE. Friends and colleagues gathered together on Zoom for the virtual edition of the annual social. In addition to the dancing and fun, attendees honored past and present recipients of the Frederick R. Braden Scholarship for Social Justice in Collegiate Recreation.

Award updates

An important part of what we do each year at conference is celebrate the contributions of our colleagues. The final day saw Mark “the Shark” Williams awarded the 2021 Sarah Fain Distinguished Service Award during the Series Talk Live presentation.

This week, we celebrated Regional Award of Merit recipients and we were treated to not one but two Honor Award celebrations; NIRSA appreciates Mondo’s support in toasting Eric Nickel and Stacey Hall.

Highlights from Social Media

See you for NIRSA 2022

We hope to safely see you next year! Dates are set and space is secured for the 2022 NIRSA Annual Conference and Campus Rec & Wellness Expo: plan to join us March 29-April 1, 2022 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.

Meetings and Events Director at | NIRSA Profile

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