Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Why NASPA?

Many people have been asking me, why did I choose to spend my summer at NASPA? Why not find work on a campus in orientation or housing? When I started my search for a summer internship, that is exactly where I started. I thought I should broaden my horizon and leave the Fraternity and Sorority Life work behind for the summer, so I began to turn to orientation and housing internships. As I began to apply, however, I saw the announcement for the NASPA summer internship. While orientation and housing internships would expose me to new areas of the standard student affairs division on a campus, a NASPA internship would expose me to a whole other side of the profession. While we very often think of student affairs as being a campus-based profession, there is so much that goes on off campus – through professional organizations, vendors, private organizations (ie: LeaderShape, inter/national fraternity headquarters) – all of which the profession could not succeed without. I thought an internship at NASPA would be a neat opportunity to experience the off-campus aspect of student affairs, especially looking at the role that the leading student affairs professional organization plays in the field.

But I’m just spending 2 quick months at NASPA and will return to a campus very soon, which is nothing compared to the professionals who dedicate their careers to NASPA, some of which have been on the NASPA staff for ten plus years. When I started in the office almost a month ago, one of my favorite questions to ask each staff member was “so how did you end up at NASPA?” In a field that many assume is just about what happens on campus, what made these professionals decide to leave the campus setting to come to NASPA?

So, I pose that question to the NASPA staff and am asking them to comment on this blog. Why NASPA?

1 comment:

NASPAkaaryn said...

While I’m not one that “left the campus setting to come to NASPA” in the traditional sense of coming from a student affairs background, I did come to NASPA because this field is so much more than what happens on campus.

As a student leader on my campus, I had many wonderful interactions with the student affairs personnel with whom I worked – whether it was orientation, admissions, student government, or any number of other roles. When considering applying for my current position, the “commitment of student affairs to educating the whole student” contained in NASPA’s mission really resonated with me. This is what my educational experience was about, I thought.

While I learned many wonderful things in the classroom, the most valuable experiences I gained from college were outside the classroom….and, as Tyler alludes to, even beyond the campus. My most valuable experiences were those of collaborating with other student leaders at the state and national levels and being able to bring those experiences to bear on my own campus; to encourage my fellow students in civic engagement and in understanding their broader societal role.

When this opportunity became available at NASPA, it gave me the chance to reconnect with the student affairs professionals with whom I’d worked during my college years, and they couldn’t say enough good things about NASPA and what a wonderful opportunity it would be for me. From my interview with staff who really seem to love the work they do (a rarity in DC, I might add) to my first days at the Annual Conference, it was clear this was the right decision. I am so honored to be able to serve all the professionals that work every day to ensure the kind of college experience I had for each new cohort of students and who, in turn, shape the society in which we live. I’m glad to be able to give back and contribute to that in whatever way I can.