Hi NASPA friends! My name is Hannah Brencher and I could not be more excited to join you for the National Conference in March this year! I love having the chance to write you a letter about why I am coming before even getting to meet you face-to-face.
Funny story: I planned to go into the field of Higher Education when I was in college. I loved everything about student leadership and it seemed like the ultimate honor to become one of those people I looked up to as a student leader. Life turned out differently for me (as you will learn when I get the chance to tell you my whole story at conference) but I love how I am still able to stay intertwined with the world of Student Affairs through conferences like NASPA!
Plain and simple- I am spending the week with you in San Antonio. The folks at NASPA have graciously given me a booth where you and I can spread a mission that is near to my heart. It’s a mission I really think the world needs more of right now: love.
I run an organization called More Love Letters. For the last 5 years, our mission has never changed: make love famous. We pursue our mission through the power of social media by asking people to get offline and write letters to one another. We house letter requests on our site and we always give people the opportunity to make a difference in and through their own words. We call them “love letters” because we believe any note filled with encouragement and positivity is ultimately a love letter.
I started leaving these love letters around New York City in 2010, right after I graduated from college. I was dealing with depression and these notes were my coping mechanism. I had no idea that those letters scattered around a sometimes lonely city would end up going viral and turning into a movement that has since spread to all 50 states, over 70 countries, and over 100 college campuses.
We work daily to keep love at the forefront of what we are doing. We mail bundles of letters to people in need all over the world. If you visit my booth at NASPA, you will have the chance to participate and contribute to some of those bundles. You should never doubt the impact that words on paper have in this world today. Especially in an increasingly digital age, we need this form of connection more than anything.
I can’t wait to see you at NASPA but I know that it is still a few weeks away and I cannot close this letter without a bit of encouragement. Maybe you’re feeling lost or you’re wondering if your work even matters. I’ve been there before.
I hope you know that each of you plays a valuable role in your university, college and organizations. Never doubt that. I know it isn’t always easy and there are definitely days when you want to give up. Keep going and keep pushing for the goals you set in your mind. If it has been a thankless 2017 so far then please know that you’ve made a difference in my life. Even if we’ve never met or spoken before, the professionals in the field of Student Affairs are who I have to thank for encouraging me to step out and take on my dreams and goals. You are needed in the world today. Your work is seen and valued.
Join Hannah Brencher for an inspiring story on Monday, March 13 from 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM in Hemisfair Ballroom C3 located in the Convention Center! Author, TED Speaker, and online educator with a heart for building leaders, Hannah will engage the audience in her story and tell you how you can participate in this amazing opportunity to show total strangers that they are not alone in the world. Her first memoir If You Find This Letter was released in 2015 and is available in bookstores across the country. Since 2011, More Love Letters has spread to over 70 countries, all 50 states, and over 100 college campuses.
Remember to visit the World Needs More Love Letters area of the #NASPA17 Exhibit Hall anytime between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Monday or Tuesday to take part in the 2017 NASPA Annual Conference letter writing campaign. Whether you are writing letters to the highlighted communities or to fellow NASPA conference participants, help spread the message of love during your time in San Antonio!