We are quickly approaching the 2012 NASPA Annual Conference in Phoenix. The planning committee has nearly completed its work of organizing for a meaningful experience for conference attendees. The conference program will offer stimulating, engaging, and provocative sessions, while our slate of keynote and featured speakers will enlighten, educate, and arouse our hearts and minds. We believe the program reflects the dominant issues that are commanding our attention today and will attract our energy in the future.
A few random thoughts leading up to the conference…
- The magical place that is Phoenix will offer opportunities to feel the spirit of the Southwest. We are excited to share with you the outcomes of our efforts and all that we have learned about the City of Phoenix and the State of Arizona in the course of our planning.
- When you see Gwen Dungy, please thank her for her remarkable leadership during her time as executive director of NASPA.
- There is one event for which I am personally very excited. On Tuesday, March 13, we will hold a Candlelight Vigil from 8:00-9:00 p.m. This will provide an opportunity to convey hope for our world, as well as engage in sober reflection about the places where we need to engage in healing and restorative work. We will have the opportunity to express our spiritual solidarity with the people of Arizona who work for dignity and humanity, as well as an opportunity to both honor the social movement for justice that has evolved in Arizona and share our voices and commitment to those involved in the struggle. Please try to attend.
- Visit “Exploring Immigration Issues Through Art,” the incredible work of Claudia Ramirez Islas.
- Tweet and retweet.
- As we have planned for the conference and reached out to community-based organizations in the State, they have consistently reminded us that Arizona is not a static environment – they have not been sitting passively waiting for groups that visit Arizona to come to their aid. They ask that we respectfully acknowledge their efforts and not regard them as victims. They ask that we not treat their issues as “quick-fix” issues that can be taken up for five days and then be left behind. In so many ways this is not unlike the unspoken requests that accompany our work with students who have been confronted with incredible challenge – they want our support and understanding of the depth and complexity of their issues, but they do not want to be seen as victims.
- Reconnect with the passion that drew you to student affairs.
- Our meaningful experience should also be meaningful for those with whom we interact. We have the ability to create a powerful learning environment and leave a profound impact on all with whom we interact during our time in Phoenix.
- Bring enough good energy to share with others.