One of the many tasks NIRSA faced during the height of the pandemic was management of in-person NIRSA Regional Conference event cancelations. This work brought to light issues around internal structures, as well as opportunities for NIRSA to improve them to better support important member offerings.
Through this work, NIRSA leaders reaffirmed the overarching goals of regional educational conferences are to provide a professional development and networking opportunities that are more accessible than association-wide events due to proximity to members and lower costs.
We are excited by the outcomes of this important work. Through the discussions of NIRSA leaders about cancelations of 2020 and 2021 in-person regional conferences, financial risks were exposed and have been addressed. We are planning for regional conference educational events to be back in-person after this year. The educational content and networking opportunities for these events will continue to be planned by local collegiate recreation professionals.
Summary of changes
So, what’s changed? Going forward, NIRSA will provide more financial management support for the events by assuming the risks associated with signing venue and hotel contracts (previously, the regional contingency funds acted as the self-insurance fund for event cancellations). Regional leaders and event planners will continue to select host sites—as they always have—and partner with NIRSA on event budgets to ensure best practices and keep costs as low as possible for attendees. An outcome of this change (i.e. NIRSA assumes the financial liability for these events) is that the self-insurance accounts, known as “regional contingency funds” are no longer necessary.
The Member Network is in discussion with regional leaders to develop plans for spending down these accounts over the next couple of years, in ways that benefit each respective region’s needs and goals. Ideas under consideration include funding regional recruitment and engagement activities and transferring funds to each region’s respective NIRSA Foundation regional endowment to fund additional regional scholarships.
Members can learn more about the changes, considerations, and answers to frequently asked questions by exploring the process document that is now available in the NIRSA Connect Community Library.
- For more information, members can contact Cara Lucia, Chair of the Department of Sport Management at Elon University and current President of NIRSA; Derek Hottell, Coordinator of Accreditation at the University of Louisville, member of the NIRSA Board of Directors and Chair of NIRSA Finance Committee, or Nigel Harris, Director of Programs & Facilities at Kennesaw State University, member of the NIRSA Board of Directors, and liaison to the NIRSA Member Network.