Project Description

NIRSA Elections
NIRSA Elections

Candidate for Region III Regional Representative

Megan Choiniere
Oakland University

Biography/Summary Resume

Megan has served as Coordinator of Member Services for Oakland University since August 2017. Prior to this position, she served as Member Services Associate at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and had the opportunity to open their East Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

In her current position, Megan focuses on membership recruitment and retention, customer service, risk management, member management software training, student supervision, and student staff development. Throughout her career, she has developed strategies to improve customer service, member satisfaction, and student development opportunities. Over the last three years, Megan has restructured Oakland University’s membership offerings and opened their facility to the surrounding community. She has been able to grow the membership base and increase member appreciation and retention efforts.

Megan has been a NIRSA member since 2015. Throughout her professional career, she has volunteered in various capacities at several state, regional, and annual conferences and workshops. She volunteered as an education session reviewer for the 2021 Annual Conference, facilitated multiple Ideas In Motion roundtables for membership throughout 2020. She graduated from the 2019 NIRSA Collegiate Recreation School Level I. She has served her state association as Chair of the Membership Engagement Committee and currently serves on the MIRSA Executive Board as the treasurer.

Megan has a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently lives in Pontiac, Michigan and is an Indiana native. As a two-time alumna of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she suffers as a Nebraska football fan. She loves spending time with her family and traveling to see friends across the country.

What do you see as opportunities in collegiate recreation and our Association? How would you collaborate with the Member Network team to address these issues?

During the past year our professional landscape has been changed forever. Collegiate recreation has had to adapt our programs, facilities, and services to meet the ever-changing climate. With this shift in our profession, NIRSA has had to shift to meet the current needs of its members; however, I believe that it has shifted in a positive direction and needs to continue to move forward with new opportunities in the future.

I believe going forward collegiate recreation and our Association have the opportunity to continue to shift to serve our members current needs and the higher education climate. I believe by continuing to offer online and virtual resources that are affordable through trying times and after is one way that our Association can maintain relationships with our members and retain them. The NIRSA mission states that NIRSA is “dedicated to excellence in student and professional development, education, research, and standards.” Due to the current state of higher education, many budgets have been cut, many of our members and colleagues have faced furloughs and layoffs which can make participating in professional development increasingly difficult or impossible. I believe that in collaboration with the Member Network team we can continue to address the needs of our regions and continue to find creative ways to offer accessible developmental opportunities for all members.

Our Association also has the opportunity to continue the work of personal development for our members. Creating developmental opportunities that give the members a chance to explore themselves such as the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge creates spaces to learn, have difficult conversations, and to grow not only as a professional but on a personal level. This needs to continue. I believe that the Member Network team can find ways to continue these opportunities not only at the national level but regionally as well. As the regional representative I hope to continue to make professional development opportunities available, relatable, and accessible in the future.

In describing your contributions to NIRSA, identify how your involvement and experiences meet the position criteria and qualify you to serve NIRSA in this role.

I have made it a priority to get involved and serve NIRSA on the state, regional, and national level in various ways over the past five years. Through the encouragement of mentors, I unknowingly have been following the NIRSA Pathways into Leadership and I believe I have truly grown as a professional through each step. There are two important experiences that I believe will assist me in succeeding as a candidate in the regional representative role. Facilitating NIRSA roundtables and assisting with redesigning our state workshop this fall have been instrumental in my professional development.

Throughout the pandemic I had the opportunity to facilitate five NIRSA Ideas in Motion roundtables for those interested in discussing member services. I was able to work with a group of member services professionals from two different regions. We were able to collaborate to bring these roundtables to life. Conducting our roundtable sessions showed me the importance of connecting NIRSA members not only regionally but nationally. These discussions allowed member services professionals across the association to collaborate and potentially adapt practices at their own institutions. I believe these free opportunities to members have added value to the association and hope to see them continue.

During the pandemic, the MIRSA Executive Board, which I serve on, was also able to implement this idea at the state level. We hosted several rounds of state roundtables. This allowed us to get various institutions involved who were dealing with similar challenges to collaborate and share how to continue to serve our populations throughout these continually changing times. These experiences were some of the most rewarding experiences I have had because I was able to connect different members from all across the nation and the state, to actively participate in developmental opportunities, and it has definitely prepared me to become a candidate as a regional representative.

Unlike other regions in NIRSA, Region III uniquely runs state associations in every state of the region. In order to be prepared to become a candidate for regional representative, I believe it is important to be actively involved in your state association. Upon moving to Region III, I quickly realized getting involved at the state level is something I needed to do in order to be connected in this new region. I served as Chair of the Membership Engagement Committee for two years. One of our major projects last year was to update a list of potential members in our state from various institutions. When the pandemic hit and MIRSA started offering various roundtables, this newly updated list with smaller institutions allowed for opportunities to engage with our association and ultimately for some have become active members since. These experiences can translate to engaging members at the regional and national level as well. Taking the extra step to widen our circle and show others what our Association can offer is key in member engagement and retention. These experiences will assist me in becoming a successful candidate as a regional representative.

Please share your ideas for engaging volunteers and identifying leaders in your region.

Throughout the past year, we all have a better understanding of how connection and engagement contributes to our personal and professional lives. Every year, Region III hosts individual state workshops as well as many different opportunities for student and professional development throughout the year. This would not be possible without students and professionals stepping up and being actively engaged in different state and regional opportunities. Often the students and professionals that volunteer at our state and regional opportunities are the ones that will be identified as leaders in the region and actively participate in national volunteer opportunities as well. During these state and regional events it is important for the regional representative, along with the student leader, to actively engage with participants to form relationships. These relationships are essential to engaging new volunteers and reengaging past volunteers.

The NIRSA Mentor Program is also a great way to encourage others to get more actively involved in their state, region, and nationally. Mentor and mentee relationships can be a great avenue to recommend upcoming volunteer and leadership opportunities across NIRSA. Recommendations for mentor or mentees can be based on knowledge of personal and professional goals. Using the NIRSA’s Pathways into Leadership could be a great topic for monthly conversations between mentors and mentees. Making these opportunities more widely talked about can allow for more students and professionals to get actively engaged in the Association.

NIRSA Elections: Megan Choiniere