Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season (if you started singing that song you get my reference), but I love this time of year as well! It all started in 1987 when I attended my first NACURH conference at Central Michigan University. It was a blast! At that time, believe it or not, I was a junior in college and active in my hall government. I was recruited by the MACURH Director to serve as the regional secretary. This was long before computers – we addressed paper newsletters by hand and phone calls were the norm vs. texting or e-mail.
I remember running down a hill at NACURH’89 with all of my regional besties lined up to do our roll call dance to Grease Lightning. I also remember hours of van rides and airport delays anticipating the fun that we were going to have at the conferences. Fast forward to 2014 and I’m working at OCM preparing for NACURH 2014. I still anticipate the fun travels that will ensue and now being a NACURH veteran, I look forward to seeing many people that I have met during my time with OCM.
Now before you think I’m ancient, I share my NACURH history with many friends who have chosen to serve students as a profession, so I’m not the only one with memories of past NACURHs. And, I want to you to know that the adage of “the more things change the more they stay the same” holds true. There are some cool traditions in NACURH that still exist (some with a twist). There is still the fun (and drama) that comes with traveling with your schoolmates, co-workers, and friends. There are the happy travelers who revel in the fact that they are getting to go on a trip. Then, there is the “are we there yet?” traveler who wonders what the heck they signed up for when saying yes to a 14 hour bus ride followed by 3 days of non-stop cheering and extrovert overload. NACURH continues to provide the excitement of meeting new people, presenting a program, wearing matching outfits 3 days in a row, cheering until you lose your voice, bidding and winning awards, opening ceremonies, roll call, board meetings and the closing banquet. There have been some tweaks to all of these things – the cheers are more inclusive, the outfits are probably a little cooler, the presentations are much more high tech, and attendees have most likely already met via social media prior to the conference starting. What hasn’t changed? That feeling you get arriving at the conference knowing that something great is going to happen! 30 years later, I still have that feeling.
NACURH 2014 is going to be a great experience for everyone involved. Forming friendships during regional travels and expanding that circle to the national level is one of the highlights. There’s nothing better than that surge of school pride you have when seeing your logo or mascot on a screen. Not to mention that moment where you hear your school name being announced along with one of your friends who won an award. These unique and special moments continue to be the wonderful moments that NACURH brings year after year. NACURH provides a time for celebration to honor a successful year while also creating a venue for new leadership opportunities. Students and advisers from across the country get the opportunity to collaborate ways they can continue meeting the needs of the next group of students coming to campus in the short following months. To me, this is about as close to the holidays as you can get!