Per Brandon’s request… The Puget Sound Colloquium recap (with some personal opinions):
As background, the Puget Sound Colloquium is an event that all of the universities in the area decided to establish in order to continue professional development, network, reconnect, collaborate, and just have a great opportunity to recharge.
The day consisted of an extended period of “free” time at the beginning that allowed individuals to arrive as needed and connect with “new” and “old” individuals in the Student Affairs professional. Following this period, a guest speaker (Dr. Eileen Hulme of APU) spent a large portion of the day leading everyone in a “lecture” on Engaging Students. In her approach she also incorporated numerous times for table groups and pairs to discuss various topics and brainstorm accordingly. Lunch, and further discussion followed and then we called it a day.
Personally, as a “new” member to this community, I really identified with the professional development, networking, and recharging aspects of the event.
From the moment I stepped out of the car I realized that it wasn’t just me who was trying to network with the senior officials at the various institutions, but a lot of those same people that I am pursuing were pursuing us. The best example was when I was walking in the parking lot to the Colloquium, a professional from PLU asked me if I knew another SDA graduate and whether they were going to be at the Colloquium. She had wanted me to make sure I directed them to each other so they could discuss an internship. Sometimes it is easy to forget that as an SDA student I am the future of the field and people will look to me to continue on this process.
Similarly, it was great opportunity for me to connect with individuals that I met at the internship fair. Nothing like a little extra face time to help reinforce your excitement in an internship or working at a particular institution.
As I said earlier, professional development was apparent. I really enjoyed Dr. Hulme’s presentation and thought it provided a lot of insights into the various opportunities that we as developers of students can focus, specifically developing curiosity and breaking the mundane. I think that breaking the mundane is a great part of our role in the process. Students know what to expect from class. They understand why they are here. It is our role to be creative and get them out of their normal routine because they crave something new. Granted, some people like the routine, but there are still ways to keep students engaged through curiosity.
Lastly, I think that the concept of recharging is huge. I could see that best in our own VP of Student Life, Dr. Jacob Diaz. He didn’t wear a tie! I mean something so simple, but he was able to just relax and enjoy the event. It was a day that he could meet up with old friends, hear new ideas, and have a break from the same old routine. Being on a different campus even, despite being only a 15 minute drive, was invigorating.
Personally, it was great to be reassured in my choice and understanding the amount of people that have the same desire as me to serve students. Often it is really easy to get cornered into thinking you are fighting a battle by yourself, or you rely on the same people all the time. While the consistency is great, as Dr. Hulme would say, having something different and exciting keeps you curious and engaged in your daily work.
All in all, glad I was able to attend and I look forward to next year!