NEWSLETTER July 2020
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Updates from our
Greetings Region VII! I am hoping that while you are reading this, you and your loved ones are as healthy and safe as possible. A lot has happened in the past few months since the pandemic spread throughout the world, with it especially hitting hard within our region. Our institutions and state governments made decisions quickly that continue to change how we operate for the foreseeable future. When the Board of Trustees for our association made the decision to postpone and eventually offer the 2020 Annual Conference as a virtual experience, it was after much deliberation and information gathering. Similarly, the regional directors have been staying informed of state and institutional statuses over the past several weeks. Many institutions have restricted financial spending, as well as travel, and there continues to be health risks to gathering in larger numbers, so we have decided to focus our efforts on developing a virtual Regional Conference experience. I want to thank the 2020 Conference Planning Team and Howard University for their willingness to adjust our regional plans for this year. Please see 2020 Regional Conference Planning Team's update in this newsletter on page 8. Plans for an in-person experience for 2021 have not been confirmed, however we hope to have more information in the coming months.
As a region, we have been coming together on Friday mornings over the past few weeks and the Regional Leadership Team plans to continue the virtual space to address the racially-based harms happening in the world and the systemic issues on our college campuses, as well as looking at it through our responses to COVID-19. While it was initially communicated as a space for healing, I have struggled with calling it that. It is more like triage as we continue to see harm occurring to our black and brown students, friends, and colleagues. During our previous meetings, members have shared their plans to review policies and practices of their office/department and ask the following: Why the policy is in place? Does it get applied equitably? Does it negatively impact minority students? Can the policy or procedure be revised to be equitable? How are conflicts handled? Can staff be trained in de-escalation techniques instead of calling campus security/police? Does your campus have resources that can respond to students other than campus security/police such as counselors, student affairs staff, etc? As an ally, I continue to learn more of the history that has not been taught but continues to impact our world today. I know that each step we take to dismantle racism will lead to another step and then another. COVID-19 has changed the paradigm for what is possible. Six months ago, it was common for staff to be told that work could not be done from home, that taking additional time before a medical procedure, becoming a parent, or simply having a mild cold or illness was not permitted without sick or vacation leave being used. Now the expectation is to work from home. If we can change that pattern so drastically, then we can change other patterns to meet the needs of a more just and equitable world. As an Association, we can both look inward and to our campus to make those changes.
On an exciting note, I am pleased to congratulate and welcome Regional Director-Elect Anthony Otero of Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Normally the transition process would begin this July with the Associationâ€™s Leadership Team meeting in Bloomington, Indiana, however no travel will be happening. We will continue virtual meetings and work to address the needs of the region moving forward. Regional Director-Elect Anthony Otero will coordinate the selection of the upcoming Regional Leadership Team members for 2020-22 that will begin their terms in November. I ask that each of you continue to build community. Ask for help when you could use it. Offer to help when you can. Be there for one another. I am an email away. Be safe, Be well, Be just, Vinny
Region VII congratulates and welcomes Anthony Otero, Regional Director-Elect, from Rutgers University- New Brunswick.
ACUI Region VII
GOALS 2019-2020 Advancing inclusion goals into action by documenting standards in which our services incorporate everyone Aim to be the role model for other regions in defining the words diversity, inclusion, and equity and what that means for Region VII Build an engaged, caring, and welcoming community that strives to meet the needs of all members Connect community of practice leaders and communities to engage and develop further learning & networks Create and implement an intentional assessment plan to help guide the region Create a budget that is fiscally responsible and accessible Create an education plan for the region that aligns with the Association's education plan as outlined by the Education Council Expand our knowledge of best practices outside the union by researching other industry standards (e.g. hotel, amusement parks, etc.) Foster holistic development for each member Foster personal well-being of members in our region through social connectivity and by providing an engaging atmosphere Identify inclusion and practices of equity and social responsibility within Region VII Identify innovative practices at member institutions to share their creativity in regional communication Maintain timely communications for events and opportunities Provide diverse and accessible professional and personal development opportunities to all regional members Work towards making visible the invisible (mental health, autism, differently abled)
Mark your calendar for
UPCOMING EVENTS In these "unprecedented times", ACUI has ramped up its online learning opportunities! There's a full calendar of seminars and institutes, as well as opportunities to connect regionally and virtually. Visit www.acui.org/events and www.acui.org/onlinelearning for details.
Student Engagement and Learning: Grounded in the Role of the College Union July 9, 3 p.m. Navigating Organizational Change July 14, 2 p.m. Mentorship in Onboarding August 6, 3 p.m.
Virtual Book Club Wednesdays, June 17–July 22, 4 p.m. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Team welcomes you to join a Virtual Book Club focused on Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, Second Edition, by Özlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo. Participants can join at any time, as each meeting will discuss a few chapters.
Updates from the 2020 Region VII
PLANNING TEAM This team has been hard at work since February planning and brainstorming what we envision for the 2020 Region VII Conference! We’re working hard regardless of any roadblocks we may face and are ready to bring you an engaging virtual experience. We were excited to host this conference at Howard University and in America’s capital following a national election.
When it came to discussing the theme, we started thinking about what this time of year and location would mean for us as higher education professionals and what it could mean for our student leaders who attend the conference with us. We asked our host chair, Reggie LeGrier, to present Howard's vision, mission, & values and everything that is notable and exciting about the District of Columbia. Concepts of leadership, vision, and forward thinking were proposed. After a very successful group think tank, we came up with Leading Forward. While the conference may not be taking place at Howard anymore, the theme holds strong. We’ve made a lot of changes regarding the conference and we’re moving forward to bring you the best possible experience. We still want to highlight forward thinking, leadership, selfimprovement, and education. This theme embodies all of these and more while artfully being visualized as a campaign message. We hope our attendees will fully embrace this theme by “leading forward” and taking what they learn to better themselves and the students they encounter every day. The Conference Planning Team meets bi-weekly on Zoom, much like the rest of the world is doing right now, to talk about all things ACUI.
But sometimes, we can get a bit off-topic...call it bonding or maybe even self-care. We start each meeting with ice breakers and getting to know each other more, but we didn’t think we’d be spending time talking about whether or not cereal is a soup or if a hot dog is a sandwich. One question we have asked each other recently was to name our funniest or most interesting quarantine purchase, since most of us have been working from home and passing the time. So here's the 2020 Region VII Conference Planning Team and our quarantine purchases (in our own words). -Sabrina Selvaggio, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
What's your funniest or most interesting quarantine purchase? Nick Wagner, SUNY Delhi Education Coordinator A pizza stone. It really makes a difference when you’re making pizza at home! Definitely recommend. Heather Maclin, Daeman College Entertainment Coordinator A power smokeless indoor grill. Kim Celano, Temple University Fundraising Coordinator An LL Bean cowl neck hoodie & a Voltrx massage gun :-) Both from Instagram ads, ha! Casey Coleman, Montclair State University Keynotes and All Conference Session Coordinator Puzzles, Pokemon Fire Red for Gameboy, Nail polish. Sabrina Selvaggio, Rutgers University–New Brunswick Marketing and Evaluation Coordinator I resorted to ordering instant yeast off amazon since the stores were all sold out. It yielded some great copycat Krispy Kremes. Ashley Wallace, American University Registration and Evaluation Coordinator Wine glass holder for the shower, for my roommate’s birthday!
Dan Hartman, Rowan University Technology and Logistics Coordinator Lots of golf (One of the few legal things to do right now in NJ). Jennylee Ramos, Temple University Student Experience Coordinator During quarantine I decided to purchase a bright blue trumpet and a wax stamp kit, no regrets! Chrissie King, Rutgers University-Camden Vendor and Sponsorship Coordinator The most random purchase I've made was a fit on the tip of your finger, garlic grater.Â It caught my eye when perusing Pinterest and was only $2 on Amazon!Â Love it! Lorraine De Leon, Suffolk County Community College Volunteer and Member Engagement Coordinator Almost bought a $2,000 Peloton Bike out of impulse. It was suggested to make a pro's and con's list. Did not get the bike. Ashley Venneman, University of Maryland 2020 Conference Coordinator Too many things! Funniest might be a gallon sized cold brew coffee maker. Reginald LeGrier II, Howard University 2020 Conference Host Team Chair An impulse buy that I have made during the quarantine is additional games and remotes for my old Nintendo Wii. Andrea Giachino, Temple University 2021 Conference Coordinator Fabric Shaver (look it up, its revolutionary!) and a clip on strainer. Jake Dawes, ACUI Central Office Liaison An inflatable kiddie pool and balls to make a small ball pit for my kids.
Updates from the 2020 Region VII
The Conference Planning Team would like to unveil the logo for this year’s Regional Conference! The logo was designed by Valerie Lozano, a senior graphic designer for Student Centers & Activities Marketing at Rutgers University - New Brunswick and a graphic design major with a concentration in Print at Mason Gross School of the Arts. She has also earned a Heritage Certificate in Spanish and is graduating in May 2021. After graduation, she hopes to have a job as a graphic designer specializing potentially in UI (User Interface). Valerie enjoys coding in HTML and CSS and says, “designing websites is a whole puzzle within itself. I have gradually gained a love for problem-solving. I would love to work for a nonprofit organization or a group that pushes for positive change.” We asked Valerie why she loves designing and to share a fun fact about herself and she said, “As an ex-band nerd, I like the idea of creativity with structure or parameters. For example, in music, there are scales to indicate notes played, amount of beats in a measure, but you had the creativity to phrase, to give the sheet of paper life, and that's what makes it music. Similar to music, graphic design has typography, grids, but you have the creativity to create the visuals to relay a message. [A fun fact about myself is that] I like copying fonts by eye! The fascination of fonts led to my desire to major in graphic design and learn how to use the letterpress.”
Valerie Lozano, Graphic Designer, Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick
Musings from Region VII's
COORDINATOR Dear Region VII, As you know, there have been a lot of people affected by countless murders in the Black community as a result of police brutality including George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and Breonna Taylor. First, I give my deepest condolences to George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and Breonna Taylor’s families. The actions from those officers are unacceptable. It is clear that what has happened has affected many people from our Student Union community as well as those in our country. We may feel defeated, and as if we have no hope. As the ACUI Region VII Inclusivity Coordinator, I am here to support you. Speaking on George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, I can tell you that this is not an isolated situation. Racism and killing of unarmed black people in our country has existed since its birth. We as a community have to come together to understand what is happening and the effect it has to our communities. First, we have to understand the historical context of our country. Our country has been dealing with racism and prejudice through slavery and now more prevalent through police brutality. We have a community that needs support and we have to do this together. Without doing this, you are doing more harm than good.
Musings m RegionI's
As student union administrators, we need to support our students and staff who have been affected by this tragedy. We as a community need to take time to process our students anger and hurt and try to support them throughout this time. Creating virtual spaces where people can process is a start. Activism is shown in many forms. We may have opinions on how citizens of our country should advocate, but still, we are not in the position to decide how someone advocates. By doing this, you are showing your privilege. Try putting yourself in the shoes of who are disadvantaged. We need those who are privileged to support those who do not have the same access. This is key. Understand that not everyone’s experiences are the same. Grouping all people together creates a false narrative, distracts from the real issue, and discredits the Black experience. Do not believe everything you hear. There are agitators taking many forms throughout this process. This can be seen in the frontlines of these protests and the media creating false narratives. This is not a political issue, this is an issue of systemic racism and the killing of unarmed black people in our country. With this being said, I want to make clear that is a volatile time in our country and the world. We must unite to overcome the injustices that are happening in our communities. We, as the ACUI community, need to continue to support each other and our students. We need to have meaningful conversations and support those who are affected. Progress is only made when we uplift each other. Sincerely, Jay Patel ACUI Region VII Inclusivity Coordinator Pateljay@rowan.edu
Reflections from the
VIRTUAL CONFERENCE Neela Patel, Rutgers University- New Brunswick
Connecting, Learning, and Community Building Virtually We have shifted our jobs to focus on virtually connecting, learning, and community building for our students. Most of us spent hours in meetings discussing how to do that and we had to act very quickly for the spring semester when it all came to an end abruptly due to COVID-19. We are now spending time thinking about the fall semester and as institutions decide what to do next, some are coming back fully while others are still deciding their next steps. There is so much uncertainty in how we will support our students, but more than that how we will create community in this new world. Community building is at the core of what we do as student union and activities professionals for our students. As we do this we need to also think about our community as professionals and how we continue to learn, engage and connect with each other in this virtual world. ACUI had to quickly transition and move to this scenario when they had to cancel the 100th Annual Conference. As a member of the Conference Program Team, we spent 18 months together planning with community, inclusion, and learning at the core. When we cancelled the day before most of us were ready to travel, we quickly moved to what we could do next, reschedule or go virtual. Virtual was the way the Association headed, and as much as we were becoming pros at creating virtual experiences, we really wanted to be in person since we thrive on those “ACUI Hello’s and Hugs”. The Central Office quickly worked with the Conference Program Team to transfer content planned from the Annual Conference into virtual format, created new educational sessions to support the needs of COVID-19, and planned ways for members to connect. No one knew how it would turn out. Would members connect? Would the keynotes and educational sessions resonate? I can say that the Virtual Conference did all of that and much more. It will never be the same as being in person, but the Virtual Conference came at the perfect time when we all needed it. As always, ACUI knows how to show up when we need it the most, even though we don’t realize it. We don’t know what the 2021 Annual Conference will look like since we are still in the middle of a pandemic and our institutions are faced with fiscal constraints. It might be a while until we all can gather together again, but what I do know is if anyone can do virtual community buildng it is ACUI.
Reflections from the
VIRTUAL CONFERENCE Melissa Ulmer, Rowan University March 16th, 2020 was an interesting day for me. Not only was it my last day in the office at Rowan University, but moreso – it was the day that I would have hoped to be spending in Atlanta, Georgia surrounded by friends, colleagues, and family as our first full day of the ACUI Annual Conference unrolled. Although we couldn’t be together then – I felt more than grateful for the virtual opportunity that I was able to participate in during late May. As an attendee of ACUI’s Virtual Conference – I learned a lot. A lot about how our campus communities are responding to COVID-19 in practice and policy across the country. A lot about myself and the role I play or can play in continuing a steadfast commitment to myself and the advocacy of others. But most importantly, a lot about how even in a virtual environment – a community can come together, raise money for financial relief/assistance, and still share laughter, knowledge, and unwavering support. This conference was my first fully virtual experience. I found the platform to be user friendly and conducive to the learning environment, but also appreciated the preservation of the personal environment that so many of us cherish ACUI for. Throughout the conference I appreciated the opportunity to have “breaks”, whether for a moment to get up and stretch, to jump in to a quick video chat with friends, or to turn back on my parent and caregiver hat at home – the flexibility was appreciated. To sum up what I learned throughout the conference would take a lot more than 250 words, but one of my biggest reminders that I absorbed and left reflecting on was that our work is never finished. This field is committed to not giving up and ACUI, as an association will always do what it can to put learning and joy first. Thank you for a great experience, ACUI!
Who's Innovating in Region VII
STUDENT EMPLOYMENT Temple University At Student Center Operations, we often describe ourselves as family. We stick together in good times and hard times. When COVID-19 closed our Student Center in March, one of our immediate thoughts were, “What about our student staff?” We employ 82 undergraduate students across 7 service areas, several of whom depend on their paycheck they earn by working for our department to pay rent, buy food and other life essentials. So how do we engage them remotely? How can we provide meaningful employment opportunities? CAN we provide employment opportunities virtually? Our primary initiative was to create an Online Learning Curriculum, which provided professional development opportunities for students to engage them in various mediums of learning – such as podcasts, Ted Talks, LinkedIn Learning and virtual webinars offered by Temple University departments. Students completed a reflection worksheet to earn credit for each activity, responding to questions to gauge their level of understanding and participation in the online exercise. We had 32 students submit a total of 216 reflection worksheets. Some students did one or two reflections, and a few submitted 20+ each. We had a small group of students that were able to work remotely on a number of tasks. Our graphic designers did incredible work on our student staff yearbook and other design projects. Some students assisted with reviewing service area manuals and internal employment policies. Our marketing intern continued to maintain our social media and begin summer/fall planning, and our tech intern worked on quite a few project as well.
In addition to online learning, or “skills” as we call them, we also transitioned our tradition of monthly socials to a virtual platform. One student volunteered to create a student staff trivia Kahoot!, and hosted a Zoom that had 25 attendees. We also moved our Year End Banquet online, presenting our traditional awards and years of service recognition. One silver lining of this time at home was it allowed us to truly pause, and focus on things we normally don’t make time for, and provided an opportunity to involve students in the process. Their perspective is so valuable to have when reviewing various policies, and beginning to outline fall training. This is something we will certainly continue this coming Fall semester, and moving forward! Kim Celano is the associate director of the Howard Gittis Student Center at Temple University
View Student Center Operations' amazing virtual staff yearbook online at https://issuu.com/templegmc/docs/scoyearbook2019-2020
(Unsolicited) Student Feedback “So many of us have talked to each other about how we can’t thank everyone enough at SCO for all you guys do for us especially in times like these.” – Jordan Crisci, building manager “We all really appreciate you guys helping us out. This is a really tough time for some of us and you guys didn’t have to put this all together, so just wanted to thank you and the team :-).” – Jarek Rutz, building manager “I’ve never had supervisors who are as caring for their employees as those working at the Student Center. One of the things I’m going to miss most about college is actually working as a building manager; it was one of the best experiences I had at college.” – Salman Tahir, building manager
Check out these
Volunteering for Region VII is a great way to expand your network, develop your skills, and give back to your professional association of choice. Applications for Regional Leadership Team opportunities are being accepted through July 13. Apply at https://www.acui.org/volunteer/applications/regionvii-volunteer-application
Scholarships from Region VII are available to participate in upcoming ACUI learning opportunities. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis online at https://www.acui.org/regions/vii/regionalscholarships.Â
Now's a great time to reach out to a colleague to encourage self-care and stress management. Take a moment to touch base with one another. Kind people are our kind of people!
Taking a look at the
GRAD STUDENT PERSPECTIVE When I started my new role as graduate advisor for the Student University Programmers (SUP) at Rowan University, I was confident in my abilities to create programs and engage with students, but I now I had to take on new responsibilities with which I had little experience. My role was no longer to create programs but rather to advise my students and help them create programs. This transition from student programmer to advisor came with many challenges but the biggest, yet unexpected, challenge I faced was trying to set boundaries with my students and find a balance of personal and professional relationship. When I began this new role I became much more than just an advisor. I became a role model and a confidant to twelve amazing students who I hardly knew. My first mission was to begin building relationships with all of my students, getting to know who they are, how they work, and how we would work together. I had a recurring thought that if I had gone to Rowan for my undergraduate degree, I would have been friends with my students, after all, they are just a year or two younger than me. This caused an internal struggle in the beginning as I tried to discover the right balance between friend and advisor. I was always hyper aware of my interactions with my students at first. It took some time, but then I became comfortable and found the way I would advise, plus it helps a lot when you have an amazing supervisor and role model who leads by example. I was able to have fun with my students, make a tik tok or two, but then also have those tough conversations when needed. I was able to let them into my life and show them that I understand and will be there for them no matter what but that there is time and place for everything. For those who are about to start their graduate assistantships and are going to be advisors, here are some lessons I have learned. First of all, don’t overthink too much, it’ll cause you more stress than anything else. It’s okay to build friendships
with your students but understand that there are boundaries in place for you as a professional (and yes, you are a professional). This may not come naturally and you might mess up but don’t let that discourage you, own the mistake and correct your behavior. Secondly, make sure you set your own personal boundaries from the beginning but don’t be like me and stress for months about whether you should let your students follow you on instagram or not, those decisions will come with time. Thirdly, when those moments come that you are doubting yourself, remember that you were hired for a reason; your supervisor saw something in you and knew you would be able to do this job and do it well. Last but not least, enjoy the time with your students because it goes fast. You are going to create wonderful memories with them and while you will have an impact on their lives, they will have an even bigger impact on yours.
Region VII Community Healing & Reflection Fridays in July at 10 a.m.
Join members of ACUI Region VII every Friday in July at 10 a.m. Eastern in a virtual space to discuss the current harms in and around the world in relation to our work at the campus level. We plan to provide breakout spaces as well as question prompts that will assist in developing plans for returning to our campuses and supporting our students, staff, and faculty of color. Please use your full name and institution when logging in to Zoom. Visit: https://iu.zoom.us/j/91608225908? pwd=R2pIYy9RY3pLUHFoWGFPR0grSzNTQT09 Enter password: 727274 Once logged in, access audio instructions to connect via phone or computer. Please contact Regional Director Vincent Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Recognizing the achievements of oustanding
REGION VII MEMBERS Distinguished Honors Legacy Leader Award
Kerry Spicer, Daemen College
Meg O'Sullivan, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Tina Pinocci, Rowan University
Steve Gnadt, Univerity of Marlyand
The ACUI Values Award Mike MacStudy, Ramapo College
Two Year College Professional Service Award Don Phelps, County College of Morris
The Chuck Morrell New Professional IPDS Scholarship Denee Jenkins, SUNYâ€“Old Westbury
Greer Dawson Wilson Scholarship Yakima Melton, Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick
Writing & Research
Chester A Berry Scholar Award Dr. Brian Magee, Dr. Tricia Shalka, and Chloe Corcoran, from the University of Rochester
Writing & Research
The Earl Whitfield Regional Outreach Award Region VII
Steal This Idea
View the 2020 Steal This Idea Gallery at https://acui.smugmug.com/Steal-This-Idea/2020 CALENDARS/SCHEDULES Student First: Multiracial Heritage Month 2019; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Penelope Hutchins, Savannah Gaines Professional Third: Latinx Heritage Month 2019; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Whitney Schepf, Valeria Morales
DIGITAL CAMPAIGNS Student First: TerpZone Billiards League; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Drew Darden Professional Third: Fireside Chat; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Whitney Schepf, Nathan Grine
INTERIOR WALL ART Professional Second: Studio A Wall Decal; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Whitney Schepf, Tara Youngborg
MISCELLANEOUS Professional /Student Third: Community Inspiring Buttons; University of Rochester; Jennelle Hart, Tiffany Nicholas
LOGO/BRAND IDENTITY Professional First: Terps Interfaith Exchange; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Whitney Schepf, Denise McHugh, Cori Carfagno
MULTI PAGE PUBLICATION Professional First: STAMP Student Employee Handbook; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Charlene Prosser Castillo, Marinel Martinez-Benyarko Student Second: SCCA Annual Report; Rowan University; Ashley Fackler
PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGNS Professional Third: Black History Month 2019; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Charlene Prosser Castillo, Janai Raphael
PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS Professional First: Graduate Student Life Lounge Keychain; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Whitney Schepf, Cori Carfagno, Karrin Thompson, Luanjiao Aggie Hu
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS Student First: Transfer & off campus Student Appreciation Week 2019; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Hannah Shams Professional Second: Gradulting Workshops; Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland; Whitney Schepf, Debbie Mikutsky
https://www.acui.org/resources/covid-19-resources COVID-19 is changing the world and impacting higher education. The ACUI resources online may assist you in navigating how to best serve your students and colleagues through this ever-changing situation.
Who's Innovating in Region VII
as a High-Impact Practice
In May, an ACUI Research Team published the article, “The Case for Student Employment in the College Union as a High-Impact Practice.” This publication can be found in the online ACUI Bulletin. Their work confirmed what many of us know to be true; employment in a college union provides students with the tools needed to be successful inside and outside the classroom, as well as life after college. Using the eight key characteristics of high-impact practices and the eight NACE Competencies, researchers were able to identify the unique factors making employment at a college union impactful. The following are statements shared by students from around Region VII that articulate how these concepts are showing up in their college union employment experience.
When asked about increased ability to problem solve, students shared the following: “It was really cool to watch myself progress into a person that everyone trusted to make quick decisions. What I really appreciated is that my supervisors trusted me enough to make these decisions and supported me.” “I often worked during the evening and weekend shifts and I learned to problem solve without always depending on supervision. My communication skills, empathy, and critical thinking were tested and developed greatly during those experiences.” “I think being pushed outside of my comfort zone in having to think quickly on my feet and having the support of my supervisors and coworkers made it easy to grow more confident in my own abilities.”
When asked about their ability to share knowledge and initiate change, students said the following: “My supervisor makes sure to create an environment where everyone is able to speak freely about their experiences and provide feedback. She intently listens and tries to follow through with the feedback/requests.” “I have been empowered to share my feedback on a regular basis. Because of the support I’ve received, I feel more confident when sharing my thoughts and opinions in all aspects of my life - even if I feel like they might be different than what everyone else is saying or thinking.” “My supervisor is always open to discussion, feedback, and finding the best way to accomplish the task. She is considerate of my time in the office, and she recognizes the optimal way to use my strengths within the workplace, while also allowing me to work on areas of improvement.” “The full-time staff recognizes that the student workers are the ones who engage the most with visitors and clients in our building. Because of this, they appreciate our input and suggestions about how to continually improve.”
Students drew the following connections between their work and academic experiences: “I have learned how to work and communicate effectively with a team. This has allowed me to successfully complete group projects in a classroom setting.” “I never really spoke up and gave my opinion. I always just did what everyone else asked me to do. Being a shift leader—and later, a manager—at my Student Center gave me the confidence to speak up during group projects and sometimes take the lead and delegate work evenly.” “I am privileged with information that pertains to more global topics, such as office etiquette and discussions on diversity/inclusion. Such skills are essential to both my academic career and future career as a physical therapist.” “Working together and communicating well are important pillars in creating a strong team that can accomplish a goal. By looking at my professors as part of a team that is trying to help in my educational and career goals, it can make the task of asking them questions much less daunting. I would not have been able to truly maximize my time if not for my experiences and lessons learned during my on-campus employment.”
Student believe their knowledge of diversity, equity, and teamwork have been impacted in the following ways: “Being able to hear everyone’s unique point of view is a great eye-opener because it really helps me approach or look at a situation in new ways. I am constantly reminded that we all have different strengths and that our respective backgrounds inform our diverse styles, thoughts, and methods.” “Equity ensures fairness across the board, no matter who you are and what you do. This is one of the most important concepts that is essential not only in your career but in your personal life as well.” “When challenges arise at work, having a team of people from various backgrounds helps us strategize effective solutions. We can uphold the values and beliefs of our institution, employer, and our customers by the input of a diverse team.”
Students felt they gained the following transferable skills due to employment at the college union:
“The biggest take away from my time working in the Student Union is my increased abilities to problem solve in a fast and efficient manner. This skill will be useful no matter what profession field I end up in in the future.” “No other job was going to have the diversity of thought and character, the challenges and subsequent adaptations, and the ‘every day is something new’ nature that this job had.” “It has helped me come out of my shell. It also has helped me develop professionally and personally. I hope other people that work here have the same experience I have because I would absolutely love to go back and do it all over again.” “I believe the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to become more adaptable. I’ve learned that, oftentimes, we have no control over the changes that happen to us in our personal and professional lives. It’s up to us to decide how these changes will affect us and the overall situation at hand.” Thank you to students at Daemen College, University of Maryland-College Park, Rowan University, Temple University, Montclair State University, and Rutgers University-Camden for sharing your experiences with us!
Andrea Giachino is the event operations coordinator for the Student Faculty Center at Temple University.
THE REGION Quarantine Beards & Furry Coworkers
Aston from Kiefer Timman, Temple University
Hermione fromÂ Heather Maclin, Daemen College
Anthony Otero, Rutgers University- New Brunswick
Grizzy from Kim Celano, Temple University
Bango from Andrea Giachino, Temple University
Roxy from Dawn Savage, Penn State University
REGION VII'S OurÂ Instagram account is alive thanks to the awesome work of Emily Kofman from West Chester University. She's been entertaining us with fun quarantine activities and reminding us of all upcoming events and deadlines.
Takeover our Story!
We want to showcase your work in union or activities in action! Email Emily at email@example.com for the opportunity to takeover our Instagram account for a day or two. This is a great way to highlight unique staffing practices, fun events, or building improvements. We're open to whatever! Last semester featured the most incredible takeover from the University of Rochester for their Spring Fest Weekend. We save the takeovers to our highlights, so you can go back to watch them at any time!