A storm is coming. It’s raining outside at the moment. The thunder rips through the quiet of my office. I am not ready for the semester. Here we are at the end of July. The semester will be here whether we are ready for it or not. Email trickles in slowly while we dash for final vacations or opening weekend meetings. It feels like only days have passed since graduation ceremonies ended but New Student Orientations are completing and welcome week is merely weeks away. I have no doubt that everything will come together. It seems to end in a perfect storm of stress, late night hours, coffee (or tea if you are into that), and a healthy dose of teamwork. Speaking of teamwork, the communications team has prepared some fantastic pieces for your reading. In this issue of Region VII’s newsletter, we will hear from current Regional Director Mike Patterson with updates from the Regional Leadership Team as well as from Bloomington. Hayden Greene shares his experience having recently started at Manhattan College and the philosophy that drives him. The Conference Planning Team has a call for student submitted educational sessions for the upcoming regional conference in Pittsburgh. Kim Celano shares some highlights from CUPSI and the regional representation that took first place! Additionally, we are starting a new column that hopefully you will enjoy. “Other duties as assigned” seems to be the unofficial motto of student affairs professionals, especially those of us in ACUI. Take a look at some of the stories and photos that Kristen Mruk compiled. Afterwards, hop on Instagram and tag @ACUIRegionVII in one of your #OtherDutiesAsAssigned.
A storm may be coming, but nothing a good umbrella of friends and co-workers can’t weather out.
Greetings from the Regional Director Mike Patterson, SUNY–New Paltz
Over the past month, the Regional Director-Elect Neela Patel was announced; the Region VII Leadership Team met for our June retreat; myself and Regional Director-Elect Neela Patel, went to the ACUI Central Offices in Bloomington for the ACUI Leadership Team meeting; and Region VII hosted a drive-in on supervision at Alfred State College. The following are some key updates from each: Regional director elect transition: Congratulations to Neela Patel from Rutgers University for being selected the next regional director! The regional director transition process has already started with the official transition taking place at the regional conference. As Neela is the sitting inclusivity coordinator on the Regional Leadership Team, we have added this position to our Regional Leadership Team selection process this July. We will select a replacement coordinator to complete the remaining term immediately and ending in November 2017. ACUI Region VII 2
Region VII Regional Leadership Team Retreat: The Regional Leadership Team spent a lot of time reviewing regional goals, in addition to the ACUI-wide Region Goals as directed by the collective regional directors. We spent time prioritizing those goals and we will be focusing on action items to meet those goals in the coming months. With the completion of our student focused program, Next Defining Moment, the Regional Leadership Team has decided to explore the possibility of hosting I-LEAD® Connect as a regional program. As this program develops, we will forward information. We additionally voted to move $10,000 out of regional surplus dollars and allocated those funds to support future scholarships through an investment account that will generate interest revenue. Planning for the regional conference in Pittsburgh continues to make strong progress with the team meeting in person July 11–12, 2016. As we transition the Regional Leadership Team positions for student involvement coordinator and student member of the Regional Leadership Team, we have developed a framework for ways to increase student engagement throughout our regional activities. Lastly we spent time discussing the mid-year regional budget update which will be submitted to the ACUI Central Office by August. ACUI Leadership Team Meeting in Congratulations to Neela Patel from Bloomington: The time in Bloomington each year Rutgers University for being selected is an opportunity for the regional director to meet the next regional director! important colleagues in the association, discuss regional activities and directions, and represent the interests of Region VII in large association discussions. Most evident from our visit was the implementation of the Association’s strategic plan – we will take time in the coming months to align our own regional goals with the larger association’s plan. Various technology platforms are being rolled out for project management, specific functions, and the website. I am impressed with the We additionally voted to move $10,000 out of selected platforms as they will greatly the effectiveness of the region regional surplus dollars and allocated those funds to benefit and regional volunteers. We received support future scholarships through an investment a report from the Future of the Brand Task Force – the region will have account that will generate interest revenue. an opportunity to get updates and participate in feedback sessions at the regional conference. In terms of business, the regional director’s elected to change the number of required educational programs offered to better align with participation numbers and fiscal constraints. It will be expected beginning in 2017 that we host at least one face to face program and two online programs beyond the regional conference. Region VII Drive-In – Supervision: On June 24, Educational Programs Coordinator Michele Williams and her educational programs episodic volunteer team hosted a Supervision Drive-In at Alfred State College. Eighteen participants registered and attended the program. Thank you to Gregory Sammons and Spencer Peavey from Alfred State College and Kerry Spice from University at Buffalo for providing the educational content of the program.
-Mike Patterson Regional Newsletter Vol. 1 Issue 2 3
Let me tell you a story about… Written by Hayden Greene, Manhattan College
My office is in our Student Commons and there is food service on the first floor. Comfortable seating, TVs, lots of light, a variety of food options, and a Starbucks. The Starbucks alone is enough to get students to congregate in the lounge but groups often times use the circular seating hubs as informal meeting places. As I came down for my afternoon coffee, one such group was assembled near the Starbucks. One of the students recognized me (I’m still the “new guy” on campus) and beckoned for me to come over. I walked over with my Tall Pike (I’ve had to learn baristaspeak) and the student introduced me to her companions, who were all part of a new dance group on campus. She mentioned to the group that I had been a stepper when I was younger (much younger) and the members had questions. I started to share stories about my stepping days and they seemed intrigued. That conversation led to a discussion about Greek Life. Someone used a catch phrase from “Teen Titans Go!” which led us down a path to talk about new cartoons vs. old cartoons. From there, someone asked about the camera over my shoulder (note: there is always a camera over my shoulder) and the discussion moved to photography. By the time I had finished my coffee, it felt like we had gone around the world and back with our topics. Since that time, I have become the coach for their step team, another ACUI Region VII 4
student came to see me about their concerns around joining a fraternity, a few others set a time to talk more about photography, and one particular student will become my new ambassador for the Multicultural Center. All of this occurred from a conversation over a cup of coffee. We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to reach students. We go to seminars, conferences, and workshops to get new tips and tricks on how to break through the seemingly impenetrable wall that is the young adult attention span. Speaking for myself, I have tried email blasts, Facebook event pages, Instagram posts, Twitter feeds, the works. Some of it is effective and some of it feels like spinning your wheels in the mud. The truth of the matter is that none of it will work unless students view the sender of the messages as an authentic person. People support people not offices, or positions, and definitely not random emails from someone that they haven’t vetted. Let’s face it, students don’t view us as authentic people, with real lives, until they experience something that humanizes us. How many times have you seen the look of surprise on a student’s face when you tell them that you won’t be able to make an event on campus because you will be going out with your mate. Or the utter shock they feel when they run into you at a grocery store or mall and it dawns upon them that you don’t actually live in your office! Regional Newsletter Vol. 1 Issue 2 5
The simplest way to humanize yourself is to tell stories. The human brain loves stories. I read somewhere that the brain loves stories so much that it keeps telling them even when we’re asleep! Stories are powerful. Once a student can see that you have lived some aspect of what you are asking them to tackle, they are more apt to sign on for whatever program you’re pitching. If they know that you have a life outside of campus, they tend to be more considerate of your time. The step team that I am now working with originally proposed a meeting time of 4:30–5:30 p.m. but voluntarily changed it to 4–5 p.m. because “we know you have two girls to get home to.” That’s important to me and they only knew that because I told them a story about my kids. I do not write this under the misconception that being able to Story telling is not for everyone. Now, tell your “story” is an intuitive skill. In fact, for a lot of us, it’s difficult. I respect that, however, as with any new skill, it takes practice in order to master it. And this is a worthwhile skill to have in your toolbox. Your students want to know that you have a story. They need to know that you “get” them on some level. The reason that I now have a dedicated cohort of supporters from the coffee time encounter is that those students resonated with my stories. They knew that I understood some aspect of their life, be it their love for comic books or their desire to be better photographers. My story matched their story and that made me accessible and validated everything else that I had to say. I know going forward that I can count on those students when I need someone to vouch for me and the programs that come out of my Center. Like I said before, people support other people and when your students hear from their peers that your programs are worthwhile, you’re golden. So learn how to tell a story. It’s a useful skill. I have done countless icebreakers for young adults where the participant has had to tell the group some thing or things themselves. Repeatedly, I have encountered students who claim that they Everyone has a story. about can’t come up with anything special about themselves. They say that they’re just “ordinary.”It’s not until I remind them that they have been on the earth for over 18 years and it’s virtually impossible to not have something to say about almost two decades of life, that I get some responses. Everyone has a story to tell. The problem is that not everyone has been empowered to believe that their story is worth telling. That’s where you come in! When you share your stories, unwittingly you say to others that if their story is similar or better, it’s okay to share it. The “Oh Wow! That happened to me too. I thought I was the only one!” moments are invaluable and are critical to the development of our students. Granted, they may be getting that empowerment elsewhere, but on the off chance that they aren’t, you’re their person, unbeknownst to you or not. are lots of reasons to tell stories. Knowledge taught is knowledge twice deepened. There Some do it to get a laugh. Others to hear themselves talk (we all have that friend). Some tell stories to pass down information or history. It’s that latter reason that will serve you the best when dealing with students. There is a beneficial side effect though: a deeper knowledge of the topic. When you tell a story about something, your understanding of the issue gets reinforced. Sometimes in the midst of telling the story, you remember a detail that you had forgotten until you recreated the scenario for that particular story. It is good to deepen our belief and remind ourselves of our intrinsic values. Furthermore, hearing other people’s reaction to your story can widen your own concept of the topic. I often tell students that five people can walk into a room, experience the same thing, and walk out with five different options about the experience. That becomes even more pertinent when those five people are from disparate demographics, as many of our student groups are. When your recount hits someone’s ear who is from a different race, or socio economic status, or geographic location, or age group, how they react to it and what they resonate with, will give you a window into their world and how they perceive reality. You can’t buy that kind of access…and people have tried! The world is a much more colorful place with the vibrant stories of our lives. I love hearing about the hijinks of people’s youth. I love to hear about family traditions that always seem to center around food! I respect and honor the painful stories and recognize how they have shaped the teller. I am a sucker for stories about love and romantic gestures. I have a special place in my heart for stories of people who triumph and overcome the odds. This is the true fabric of our society and anyone who has met me knows that I love to add my stories to the tapestry. I believe that everyone should as well. We are all wonderfully complex beings and if we shared that vibrancy on campus, think of the wonderful communities that we could build.
The Brain LOVES Stories!
Now go ahead…tell me your story!
ACUI Region VII 6
Region VII Regional Conference – Student Presenter Program & Mentor Program Written by Kiley Cinelli, The College of New Jersey The Conference Planning Team is excited to share the “Student Presenter Program” as an exciting component of the upcoming Region VII Conference at the University of Pittsburgh. Inspired by the importance all members have for the role of students in the mission and purpose of ACUI, the Conference Planning Team wanted to provide students an opportunity to present and share their experience, knowledge, and passion with other conference attendees. Our goal is to assist students in their professional development through this program. Students who present will take away valuable transferable skills such as communication, public speaking, planning skills, networking, time management, and confidence building. There will be a dedicated session block for student presenters. If you supervise or advise a student who would be a great addition to this session block, please encourage them to submit a proposal by the Sept. 9 deadline. The link to submit can be found here -- http://acui.org/Regions/Region_VII/Regional_Conference/2016/32165/ If you are looking for pointers to guide students through the proposal process consider sharing these tips: • Students should have a clear purpose and objective • Propose on what they know or have experienced first-hand • Consider how information is transferrable to other institutions • Think of what take-away points they want their audience to leave with, take time crafting a title session • Ask a professional staff to review before submitting, and have fun. If you are a professional staff member excited about this opportunity for students, we are also seeking volunteers to be mentors for selected student presenters. Volunteers should have previous experience presenting at the regional or annual level (does not need to be ACUI specific). This is an excellent opportunity to give back by sharing your expertise with first time presenters. If selected, you will be asked to support students with presentation planning and delivery. You will need to connect at least two times after being matched. The deadline to apply to be a mentor is Sept. 9. You will be notified on Sept. 26 with the contact information of the student. You also have the opportunity to request to be matched with a student from your home institution. ACUI resources will be provided to serve as a guide. The link to apply can be found here -- http://acui.org/Regions/Region_VII/Volunteer_and_Awards/24293/ Regional Newsletter Vol. 1 Issue 2 7
Community Abound at ACUI’s 16th Annual Poetry Slam Written by Kim Celano, Temple University The 16th annual College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) took place April 6–9, 2016 at the University of Texas– Austin. During the event, 68 teams from across the United States, Canada, and for the first time a team from Scotland attended to compete for the top honors. Attendees participated in two days of preliminary rounds of competition. In typical poetry slam fashion, randomly picked members of the audience judged the performances on a numeric scale. Marissa Tambasco, a rising junior double majoring in mass communications production & theatre at SUNY Oneonta, remarked, “I was floored by the audience dynamic; I’ve never seen an audience so in touch, so responsive, and so compassionate about the poet/poem performing/being performed.” One of CUPSI’s primary goals is that participants are enriched by sharing poetry, embracing the value of inclusivity, and supporting a program in which everyone’s voice is welcome. “CUPSI creates a unique environment for students who come together to build community surrounding their passions and love for spoken word and self-expression,” said Kim Pho, CUPSI Coordinator & ACUI Central Office Educational Program Coordinator.
Slam Poets of SUNY Oneonta ACUI Region VII 8
On Day 3 of the event, prior to the evening semi-final rounds, students were able to attend workshops like “Spoken Word & Social Change,” “Who Were the First Slam Poets?,” as well as other groups where poets could sharpen their skills in various spoken word techniques. This overarching sentiment of community was echoed by Daniela Plunkett, a rising mass communications senior at SUNY Oneonta. “Everyone during CUPSI made an effort to reach out to the poets surrounding us and say, ‘you are here, you are valid, you are safe’, and that to me was the most rewarding part.” Jasmine Combs, who recently graduated from Temple University with her degree in English, agrees. “The best part was building community with likeminded students around the country.” Jasmine is a member of Babel Poetry Collective, Temple’s only performance poetry ensemble, founded in 2008 by student Malcolm Kenyatta. Together Babel produces two showcases a semester and performs for various events on-campus, across the city, and at other universities. Babel members from Temple University won top honors at CUPSI this year, earning 1st place overall, as well as two Coaches Awards for Best Team Performance and “The Gutbuster Funny Poem” for their “Drake Meek Mill” piece.
Members of Babel Poetry Collective at Temple University took 1st Place Overall
While students were at CUPSI this year, tragedy struck the UT Austin campus. True to its mission of community, CUPSI formed a coaches meeting that allowed students to process the situation, and discuss steps that they could take to be supportive of the UT Austin community during this hard time.
The impact of CUPSI extends beyond the four days that students spent in Texas. Tambasco reflected, “CUPSI changed my life. The poets, people, and experiences I had at CUPSI completely changed my idea and original perception of spoken word. Listening to the poetry showcased at CUPSI was an absolute honor and privilege.”
Regional Newsletter Vol. 1 Issue 2 9
#OtherDutiesAsAssigned Written by Kristen Mruk, Genesee Community College and Joe Bohrer, Stevenson University As student affairs professionals we know that our jobs require us to do some out of the ordinary tasks. This article will serve as a way to showcase some of those duties that are outside of our written job description but part of our job. Share your stories with us on Instagram using the #OtherDutiesAsAssigned and tag @ACUIRegionVII so we can highlight some of the whacky things we do for our students and our institutions.
“That’s me, in the yellow, directing traffic as the 2016 grads process into the gym for our 48th commencement.” Kristen Mruk, Genesee Community College Photo Credit: Mary-Grace Jacinta Gabalski, Genesee Community College 2014
“Oozefest is THE craziest event that I’ve ever done.” Kerry Spicer, University at Buffalo Photo Credit: Kerry Spicer (@k_spice_78) Oozefest, one of the nation’s largest doubleelimination mud volleyball tournaments, is one of the most notable traditions at the University at Buffalo. The local fire department sprays 250,000 gallons of water onto the courts to make the event extra muddy! ACUI Region VII 10
As I reach the end of my fourth year at Stevenson University, it is fun to think back at all of the crazy and outlandish requests that have been made. I have always felt that the best policy is to never say no, unless safety is involved of course. So when tasked with recalling a specific story, I could not help chuckling to myself. The story I feel compelled to share with you today, though maybe not the most absurd, is completely blameless to all involved. That way no names would need to be changed to protect the innocent. I had been at Stevenson for six weeks when it came time for Freshman Convocation. I was still new, but had already begun Photo Credit: Joe Bohrer, Stevenson University to build relationships with as many departments as I could. I was tasked with overseeing the Freshman Barbeque, which was to take place in a large tent in the middle of the Apartment Quad, set for 600 people with additional seating around the quad. I spent a majority of the morning working with the cover band that the school had contracted to play for the guests. As Convocation came to a close, down the hill from the quad, we heard rumors of 2,000 attendees on their way to the barbeque. Though it was more than anticipated, there was plenty of food and seating for everyone. The main issue came with the path the guests were taking to the tent. Instead of everyone going to the tent to get their food, disperse and make their way to the drink stations, we suddenly had every single guest pouring into the first two drink stations that they saw. As many of us know, once a crowd has started in its path, there is little one can do. So the caterers immediately made adjustments to try to handle this influx of people at only 2 drink stations. I began speaking to people throughout the line to try and persuade some Photo Credit: Joe Bohrer, Stevenson University to move to another line. I grabbed every staff member that I knew at that time and we all began to attempt to communicate to the masses. Unfortunately, no one seemed to believe that there were other lines and would not budge from their spot. As I glanced over to the drink table, I see the Catering Director frantically refilling the large drink containers with lemonade, iced tea, and water. I ran over to try and assist. We quickly realized that we could not fill these containers as quickly as people were trying to get through the line. So we did the only thing we could. Cleared the containers and began filling cups, each of us pouring a gallon jug from each hand. At that point, the caterers working the other drink table saw our tactic and began doing the same. Before we knew it we were emptying a crate of juice in under a minute and the line was moving as fast as the guests could walk and grab their cup. I do not think one realizes how heavy gallon jugs can become after extended pouring, but we knew the end was in sight. In minutes, the line finally slowed to a trickle and we were able to place the containers back on the table and resume normal operation. At this moment, I declared the end of my catering career. I tell anyone who asks me what I do for a living that I never have the same day two days in a row. I truly believe that this is one of the many aspects that we love so much about this field. There is rarely a dull moment, and when you think that you have seen or heard it all, you find that you can still be surprised. This day made me realize the real sense of community we have at Stevenson University. Every department is always willing to jump in and help. I have seen Vice-Presidents setup and/or breakdown chairs after a long day. I have seen Directors vacuum or mop up a spill. I have built stage and sound checked a sound system with Housekeeping. Other duties as assigned are something everyone embraces at Stevenson and I am proud to be a part of such an amazing community. - Joe Bohrer, Stevenson University Regional Newsletter Vol. 1 Issue 2 11
Regional Leadership Team Regional Director
Regional Director Elect
Patterson, Michael SUNY–New Paltz firstname.lastname@example.org (Dec. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2016)
Patel, Neela Rutgers University email@example.com (May 25, 2016 through Nov. 4, 2016)
2016 Regional Conference Coordinator
Reilly, Adriane Temple University firstname.lastname@example.org (Oct. 9, 2014 through Nov. 30, 2016)
2017 Regional Conference Coordinator
Tiberi, Thomas University at Buffalo email@example.com (Sept. 1, 2015 through Nov. 30, 2017)
Membership Coordinator Irizarry, Abdias University of Maryland–Baltimore County firstname.lastname@example.org (Oct. 9, 2014 through Nov. 30, 2016)
Online Learning Coordinator
Jackson, Vincent University of Delaware Sellmeyer, Rebecca email@example.com Marist College (Sept. 1, 2015 through Nov. 30, 2017) Rebecca.Sellmeyer@marist.edu (Oct. 9, 2014 through Nov. 30, 2016)
Corporate Partnerships Coordinator Vacant
Educational Programs Coordinator
Student Involvement Coordinator
Sermarini, Sara Shippensburg University firstname.lastname@example.org (Sept. 1, 2015 through Nov. 30, 2016)
Williams, Michele Marist College Grossman Leopard, Jennifer Volunteer Coordinator email@example.com Pennsylvania State University– Dougherty, Lauren (Sept. 1, 2015 through Nov. 30, 2017) University Park Siena College firstname.lastname@example.org Ldougherty@siena.edu (Sept. 1, 2015 through Nov. 30, 2017) Inclusivity Coordinator (Oct. 9, 2014 through Nov. 30, 2016) Patel, Neela Rutgers University Awards & Scholarships Web and Social Media email@example.com Coordinator (Sept. 1, 2015 through Nov. 30, 2017) Coordinator Melton, Yakima Frailey, Darcy Rutgers University American University firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (Sept. 1, 2015 through Nov. 30, 2016) (Sept. 1, 2015 through Nov. 30, 2017)
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