Region VII March 2019 Newsletter

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Highlights from our

REGIONAL DIRECTOR Greetings ACUI Region VII! I am excited to share a few updates with you as we are moving well into 2019! For those of you who were able to join us at the regional conference in Penn State, I hope that your experience was positive and memorable. Thank you to our hosts and the Conference Planning Team for delivering an engaging professional experience for students and staff from across our region

and for welcoming folks from Region VI as well. At the conference we had the opportunity to hear stories from several student leaders from University of Maryland, Penn State, University of Pittsburgh and University of Delaware. We received a glimpse as to how we build community and empower each other through the work that is done in our college unions, student centers, or by any other name we designate as the living room of campus.I encourage you to find ways to hear the stories of the students on your campus. Move beyond sound bites and surveys and listen to how students experience your campus and the impact our work has had on them in and out of the classroom. Additionally, we raised over $4,000 that will go towards scholarships for students and staff in order to attend ACUI seminars, trainings, conferences, or other development opportunities. Please consider applying or supporting a nomination for one of our several I-LEADÂŽ scholarships or the general scholarship. The form is live and available on

The 2019 Regional Leadership Team officially started in November and met in person at the end of January. During that meeting we reviewed regional goals and identified new ones. While some of these are simply updated versions of ongoing goals, we added several based on evaluation data provided by ACUI Region VII members and attendees of regional events such as the conferences at Penn State and University of Maryland, Baltimore County. You can find the goals showcased on the next page. The Regional Leadership Team has identified at least one actionable item to work towards said goal. We plan to assess these goals at the regional business meeting that will be held at the Annual Conference in Indianapolis later this month as well as provide a town hall meeting in April via Zoom video conferencing. An email and social media will go out with information to virtually attend both or either of those meetings. We want your feedback and we want to identify additional areas in which ACUI Region VII can support the work you are doing on your campus. If I or any member of the Regional Leadership Team can be of assistance to you‌ or if you are having a moment and could use an ear, please reach out to any of us as we are here to support each other. Best,

Vinny Jackson


GOALS 2019-2020 Advancing Inclusion goals into action by documenting standards in which our services incorporate everyone. Â 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 need of all members. Connect COP leaders and communities to engage and develop further learning & networks Create and implement an intentional assessment plan to help guide the region Creating a budget that is fiscally responsible and accessible Creating an education plan for the region that aligns with the associations education plan as outlined by the education council Expanding our knowledge of best practices outside the union by researching other industry standards (i.e. 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)

Meet the 2019 Region VII



This team is hard at work planning this year's regional conference which will be held at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey from November 14-16. Mark your calendars now for what is sure to be an impactful, educational, and joyful experience!

Alfred Burks, Howard University Madeleine Aborn, University of Rochester Katy Tufts, University of Pittsburgh Ashely Venneman, University of Maryland - College Park Casey Coleman, Montclair State University Kait Howarth, William Paterson University Adam Burgman, SUNY-Downstate Andrea Giachino, Temple University Megan McHugh, Rowan University Dawn Savage - Pennsylvania State University Laura Hood, University of Maryland - College Park Chrissie King, Rutgers University - Camden

Mark your calendar for

UPCOMING EVENTS Annual Conference Indianapolis, IN, March 24-28 ACUI Collegiate Clay Target Championships San Antonio, TX, March 25-30 CUPSI University of Houston, April 10-13 Essentials of Facilities Management Training Seminar Emory University, June 16-21 Region VII Drive In TBD, June 3-7 Student Organization Institute Xavier University, June 17-20 IPDS: New Professionals Orientation Indiana University-Bloomington, June 24-28 Region VII Drive In TBD, July 15-19 I-LEADÂŽ University of Vermont, July 21-26 Region VII Conference Rowan University, November 14-16

Pack your bags for the


For networking in the ACUI Family


For expressing your personality on your lanyard

Your appetite

For the Region VII Dinner and Meeting on Sunday, March 24 at 5 PM

Your smart phone

For accessing your conference schedule on the Eventsential app

Gym clothes

For the Education and Research Fund FUNd Run, Walk, and Roll or Jazzercise!

Dress clothes

For the Closing Banquet and ACUI After Party

Cool books, crafts, gift cards, swag, or other items For donation to the Silent Auction

Purple gear

For showing your ACUI pride on ACUI Spirit Day on Monday, March 25

Your helping hands

For volunteering at the conference. Sign up for a shift at

Musings from Region VII's


COORDINATOR If you're Facebook friends with Anthony Otero you're familiar with his weekly "Random Thoughts" posts on Thursdays. The thought-provoking topics range from superheros to social justice. For the Region VII Newsletter, we've asked him to share some Random Thoughts on diversity and inclusion as it relates to our work in student unions and activities.

Random Thoughts on Diversity & Inclusion Prayer spaces and mediation rooms, when utilized properly, are the best ways to service the needs of particular underrepresented populations on campus. There is no need to genderize a single stall restroom because technically they can become a gender neutral restroom. Wheelchair access should not be considered a feature to a venue when it should simply be part of the standard access for everyone. If you’re a man explaining something to a woman who already knows what you’re talking about, you’re mansplaining. Please remember not everyone learns nor retains information in the same way. Keep that in mind when creating manual for student employees, or posting signs in the student union. Blackface is not (and never was) okay. If students of color are referring to policies as culturally insensitive, try reviewing the policy rather than dismissing the criticism. It is actually possible to have someone identify themselves as a part of two different cultural groups. Intersectionality is real. Did you know that starting 2020, Ramadan will begin in April and each year after that (at least until 2025) will move further into March? Are your student unions prepared? Are your dining facilities prepared to serve meals during non traditional hours? Hearing loss in younger generations is on the rise. Assisted listening devices should be available at all entertainment and conference venues. Without the pursuit of equity, diversity and inclusion become buzz words.

Check out these


OPPORTUNITIES Volunteer Volunteering for Region VII is a great way to expand your network, develop your skills, and give back to your professional association of choice. Find contributing volunteer opportunities at Learn Region VII is proud to offer a number of scholarships to ACUI affiliated programs, including I-LEADÂŽ. Learn more about available scholarships on the Region VII website. Applications are due April 5, 2019. Work Did you know there are currently 8-10 vacancies within Region VII posted to the ACUI Career Center? Find them and more at

Now accepting applications:


SCHOLARSHIPS Anthony Ramos When Anthony was the President of the Student University Programmers (SUP) at Rowan University, he received the Region VII I-LEADÂŽ Scholarship. "I-LEAD opened my eyes to see leadership AND people in a different way. It made me see that everyone has potential to be a leader and leadership is something can be learned, practiced, and crafted into your everyday life." Anthony is now earning his Masters in Sports Management at Texas A&M University. He works as the Graduate Assistant for Marketing and Communications at Texas A&M Rec Sports. His dream job is to work for a professional sports team.

Anthony encourages, "If you are thinking of applying for a scholarship, do it! You may not think it is important now, but the skills you develop are going to be instrumental in your success down the road. I met people from all around the country who I can pick up the phone and call at any time. It set me up for a successful senior year!"

Apply by April 5 online at

What's happening


THE REGION Inspired by the service project from the regional conference at Penn State, Temple University Student Faculty Center (SFC) students spent time bringing Jared's Boxes to North Philadelphia. Nearly 100 boxes of toys and positive messages were donated to the Shriners Hospitals for Children which is across the street from their Student Union. It was a fun project and certainly fitting on a health campus!

Temple University SFC Staff felt right at home during the ACUI Region VII Conference closing banquet seeing our initials at Penn State's Beaver Stadium!Â

-Andrea Giachino

What's happening


THE REGION The University of Delaware Student Centers, the Division of Student Life, and the Cultural Programming Advisory Board had such a great time hosting Jess Hilarious for Perkins Live in February! UD was her first college show and it was an amazing time! Such a raw talent, and the students enjoyed themselves!

-Cara White

What's happening


THE REGION 2019 Steal this Idea Winners Announced! We're proud to celebrate the achievements of the following Region VII members: University of Maryland, College Park University of Maryland, Baltimore County University of Rochester Rowan University

Steal This Idea! For more information about those who placed in the professional and student sections of each category, visit The Best in Show will be announced at The Honors during the Annual Conference, and the Bulletin feature will be printed in the July/August issue.

Who's Innovating in Region VII


AT WORK Did You Know

One out of every 68 children is diagnosed with autism. Additionally, 90% of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continually struggle with the public perception that adults on the spectrum are unemployable. The Abilities at Work in Student Affairs (AWSA) program, developed at Temple University by Kaitlyn Howarth, is an inter-departmental initiative that provides on campus work experience for students with disabilities, with a specific focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Through a collaborative effort with the Office of Disability Resources and Services, students are matched with job opportunities that fit their interests and experience. These job opportunities strengthen students’ transferable skills and helps prepare them for future employment. The mission of the program is to provide on campus job opportunities for individuals with disabilities through departmental partnerships.

Learning Outcomes of AWSA As a result of the Abilities at Work in Student Affairs program, students will be able to: Complete a job search process beginning with the application process through the on boarding process. Perform designated job duties and serve as an active member of the team. Support their coworkers by creating an inclusive environment. Apply the social skills they have learned through the job in everyday situations. Develop work experience that will assist them in gaining future employment.

Strengths of Employees with Autism Average to above average intelligence Conscientious and committed to the work Detailed factual knowledge Detail oriented Excellent memory Follow instructions and rules

High level of concentration High retention rates Highly skilled in a particular area Logical decision makers Provide thorough descriptions Provide different perspective

Through the Abilities at Work in Student Affairs program, students with ASD will gain meaningful employment experiences, making them marketable to employers when searching for a full-time job after graduation and providing them with the tools they need to succeed in life.

Making Accomodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment, unless to do so would cause undue hardship. An accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Accommodations are often easy to make and you could already be making them for students on staff. The beauty of modifications is that the universal design of the accommodations or modifications being made can benefit not only the student with autism, but the entire staff. Some accommodations might require a little extra effort. Remembering that each modification that you make to job processes or job environment is helping a student perform their job better makes the extra effort worth it. Below are a list of modifications for individuals with ASD, separated by the different types of challenges they may face. “Hiring students on the spectrum is a very positive development for the Student Center. The employees at our Student Center have responded very well to the changes and I feel like I am part of the staff. It has really truly been a blessing. If this can be done at your university then it will pay enormous benefits. The staff will be enormously grateful if you hire students on the spectrum.” - Luke Tomczuk Info Desk staff at the Howard Gittis Student Center, Temple University

How Can You Bring AWSA to Your Campus?

The most crucial piece of the AWSA program is to connect with the student by developing a relationship with your on-campus disability resource office. This office is where students with disabilities are registered and receive on-campus support. Connecting is easy! Send an email or set up a meeting with a member of your disability resource office to talk about your goals for starting the AWSA program in your department. Provide your contact information with job descriptions, expectations of students in those roles, and how many students you are looking to hire. From there, your disability resource office will be able to pinpoint students that would be successful and benefit from a job in your department. Rutgers University – New Brunswick has adopted the “Abilities at Work Program” from Temple University and implemented it across their six student centers. Over the summer, Student Centers reached out to the Office of Disability Services and the College Support Program – an optional program for students with Autism that provides weekly counseling and support in their transition to college life. With both offices extremely interested, planning began during the summer months to roll out a timeline for hiring and training for professional staff and student managers. The fall semester was utilized as an elongated recruitment process during which students in the College Support Program were offered the opportunity by their counselors to work in one of the student centers. If interested, they were required to attend an information session that described the positions offered, expectations on the job, time commitments, pay rate, and transferable skills to be developed. Interested students were then scheduled for shadowing shifts where they could observe an employee in their desired position to determine if it would be a good fit. Students were then scheduled for interviews (although guaranteed placement) to gain interview experience and follow the same process as all other student employees. Currently, six students who identify as being on the spectrum are working in the student centers through the RU Abilities at Work program. Although this past year has been a “trial” year for the program, Student Centers has decided to continue the program. We were recently awarded a grant to conduct research on the initiative.

-Kait Howarth, Liz Desimone We want to hear from you! If you're doing awesome work in inclusion and equity, please share your story with Adriane Reilly at for a feature in the next newsletter! We're especially curious about prayer spaces, assisted listening devices, or gender-inclusive restrooms.

Who's Innovating in Region VII


CRAPPENING? Challenged by the Dean of Students to make weekend programming more educational, Casey Coleman, Coordinator of Student Activities, thought long and hard about how to make this possible. Taking inspiration from the poop emoji, he worked in conjunction with the Office of Health Promotion and the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics to create, “What’s Crappening?” an educational program at Montclair State University that still has students talking.

The workshop consists of a 30 minute interactive presentation all about gut health, probiotics, and what your stool can teach you about your body. All participants at the end of the presentation were invited to stuff their own poop emoji pillow. In its first year over 100 students turned out, with the numbers growing each year. Stuff a plush programs are a huge hit on our campus and we’ve been able to buy the products from wholesale companies which allows us to put on the popular program while being fiscally responsible. They’re taking away some education, having fun, and learning in a more relaxed setting. It’s been a win-win so far. The Center for Student Involvement has found success in this model of blending an educational topic and pairing it with a “make and take” program. We’ve recently paired up with our Health Center for “Tired of Being Tired” to educate students on how to get better sleep and making a pet pillow. For National Mental Health Day our Counseling Center did a workshop on emotions, “Managing Your Emojis” and students got to make their own emoji pillows.

-Casey Coleman

Coming soon to


Takeover! We want to showcase your work in union or activities in action! Email NaQuan Redd at 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! Keep an eye on our Story for more sites and scenes from the host of the 2019 Region VII Conference, Rowan University.

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