Update, January 18: This article has be updated to reflect a change to the submission deadline. Proposals will now be accepted through August 31.

April Lovett is currently the Director of Academic Health Data Programs at Florida State University. Over the years, she has presented many sessions at in-person NIRSA events. So it’s probably no surprise that—after the pandemic torpedoed most in-person learning—April is counted among the pioneering NIRSA members who volunteered to present at virtual and online learning opportunities organized by the Association.

April has presented virtual sessions on her own and as a member of two different teams of presenters. Along with Rachael Decker, Associate Director Programs & Assessment for the Office of Recreational Services at the University of Toledo, and Caroline Dotts, Associate Director- Healthy Lifestyle Programs at the Georgia Institute of Technology, she facilitated the #WFHWK (Working From Home with Kids) Roundtable Discussion that took place in March of 2020. The roundtable gave NIRSA members a chance to come together and discuss strategies for navigating the new world of full-time jobs and full-time parenting. At the 2021 Virtual Conference, she presented on culturally responsible assessment practices and—as part of a team of presenters—she also presented on navigating a recreation department CAS review in a virtual world.

We recently caught up with April to ask her why she invests her time and talents into presenting at NIRSA events, and why others should consider submitting a proposal for the 2021 NIRSA All Regions Virtual Conference.

April Lovett shares her why

April has enjoyed presenting at NIRSA events because she thinks Association events “feel less ‘stuffy’” than the events she’s presented at that were held by other organizations. Aprils says, “There’s a genuine exchange of ideas between colleagues during NIRSA presentations.” She adds that presenting is also “a great way to expand my network and discover new, innovative ideas.”

“There’s a genuine exchange of ideas between colleagues during NIRSA presentations.”

April encourages up-and-coming professionals to consider submitting proposals to present at a virtual NIRSA conference or online institute. “Absolutely do it!” she says. “Especially if you haven’t ever presented at a conference before.” In April’s opinion, presenting is “a great way to ‘cut your teeth’”; you get to present in front of peers and colleagues at other institutions from a uniquely comfortable setting. With virtual presentations under your belt, April explains, “before you know it, you’ll be a seasoned presenter and ready for your in-person presentation debut when we can all be together again!”

Of course, there are differences between presenting virtually and presenting in person, but the differences aren’t all bad. “While I really miss in-person events, what I love about presenting online is that I actually have a greater chance to network both during and after the presentation,” explains April. She also finds the exchange of information—and the chronicling of those exchanges—easier when it comes to virtual presentations. “I could connect with people through the chat feature who may have been running to catch another presentation if we had been at an in-person event,” says April. “I also love the replay functionality that accompanies many virtual learning opportunities. When live and in-person restrictions are removed from the learning experience, there are more people who potentially get to see your message and interact with you.”

Proposals are due August 31

The thoughtful sharing of professionals and students at a local level plays a huge role in driving this profession forward. So wherever you’re at in your campus recreation career journey, we invite you to consider submitting a presentation proposal for the All Regions Virtual Conference!

Featuring a virtual Student Lead On on December 3 and combined All Regions Virtual Conference program happening December 7–9, the combined All Regions Virtual Conference will be open to campus recreation professionals and students across all NIRSA regions and will utilize the same platform that delivered the popular 2021 NIRSA Virtual Annual Conference.

The proposal form is available now and proposals will be due Tuesday, August 31. Resources for presenters are available online now.

Submit a proposal