Author: Corey Ray
At my very first NWASAP conference, I knew right away something was different at this regional gathering of Student Affairs professionals that none of the other organizations I had been involved in and/or attended had. Simply put, making connections and having on going conversations with colleagues occurs at NWASAP, others organizations just say that happens.
Just like larger regional and national conferences, you find excellent presentations at NWASAP to help further develop those who choose to attend. One doesn’t have to give up quality in order to make connections at NWASAP.
With NWASAP, one actually gets to interact with the keynote speakers before, during, and after they speak. Too often I have sat in a large conference rooms, with 3-5k of my closest colleagues, watching the keynote speaker on a screen. Do not get me wrong, national and other regional conferences have educational value, but they lack the ability to really have meaningful conversations that makes a connection – the strength of NWASAP. As someone who has served on both regional and national boards and committees, this is something NWASAP has perfected.
Example – I can immediately follow up with a presenter after a session, who I have never met before, and have a dialog. Then at a meal or after other sessions, I can continue to have dialog with him/her, which may lead to more conversation during some of the social activities at NWASAP, and finally may lead to a connection that goes beyond NWASAP.
The size of NWASAP allows one to almost have a cohort experience vs. being lost in the crowd at larger conferences where you might not even see a colleague from your own institution.
Other benefits of NWASAP is the pricing (feels dirty to talk about money, but it is the reality). I appreciate the fact I can send 6 professionals from my unit for less that it costs to send 1 to other conferences. Let’s face it, with budgets shrinking and conference pricing rising, NWASAP still keeps exceptional learning affordable.
Now that I have been all too serious in this post, I did want to mention that I am excited about this year’s conference and reconnecting with you all.
NWASAP Past President