As #NASPA17 concludes and the NASPA family parts ways once again, we first want to thank all of our attendees for investing in themselves, supporting each other, bringing and sharing their expertise, and helping us create an unforgettable conference experience. The critical dialogues, forged connections, and rejuvenation our community found in San Antonio will carry us forward in our work through the next year, and though we face magnified challenges, in the words of closing speaker Bree Newsome, “every period of awakening and social changes has been marked by turmoil. Every person has the power to be a change maker.”
Day Three launched with featured speaker Julián Castro who shared his story of the ways that ongoing support from his family, friends, and community made all the difference in his ability to overcome obstacles and find his path to higher education. In his rousing remarks, Castro stated that, “The best way to make sure a child gets ahead is to make sure they never get behind in the first place," putting forth a call to action for our attendees to “become the megaphone” that tells the stories of DACAmented and undocumented students.
The themes of equity and inclusion continued throughout #NASPA17 with many attendees contributing images to the Loving Tree display brought to us by the Multiracial Knowledge Community. The leaves of the Tree displayed stories and images of multi-racial relationships to serve as a reminder of the universality and permeation of loving relationships comprised of individuals of different races.
The NASPActs Call to Action Vigil brought together attendees to take a moment to reflect on where we are personally in the midst of increasing challenges, and the critical work that lies ahead on our campuses, within our communities, and the governing and legislating bodies of both the U.S. and abroad. Our speakers reflected on personal tragedies and encouraged each of us can contribute in our own individualistic way to activating social change. Dr. Ajay Nair also invited your perspective and passion to the newly created Division of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice. Dr. Nair will serve the inaugural term of this new and essential seat on the NASPA Board of Directors, ensuring these issues remain central throughout NASPA’s work.
Our SA Speaks presentations brought incredible energy to #NASPA17 with personal and inspiring stories of challenge and leadership. Stay tuned for the recordings of each speaker on NASPA’s YouTube channel in the coming weeks.
In addition to reports on NASPA operations and programming, and the statistics for the 2017 conference, the NASPA Business Meeting marked the passing of three proposed resolutions brought forward by the Board of Directors: a Resolution Honoring the Life of Alice R. Manicur, a Resolution Condemning Discriminatory Transgender Legislation, and a Resolution Pertaining to United States Federal and State Governmental Actions. The full text of these resolutions will be available on the NASPA website in the coming weeks, and we are proud of these additions to NASPA’s living history.
Our final day was enriched by the poignant and impactful message of closing featured speaker Bree Newsome, who framed her remarks by drawing parallels between her personal journey to activist and the historical path-forgers of the civil rights movement that inspired her with the strength to climb the flag pole of the South Carolina State House and remove the confederate flag. Newsome’s reverberating message that “the measure of my humanity is linked to my ability to recognize the humanity in others” is one we will all carry back with us to deepen the compassion we bring to our work with students.
If you missed any of the amazing programming at #NASPA17, please consider bringing the conference back home to your campus team with the Virtual Ticket. Free previews of the sessions are available and recordings can be purchased, complete with a full year of streaming access.
NASPA is its members, and #NASPA17 could not have been such a powerful success without the engagement and energy brought by our nearly 7,000 attendees. We are so pleased you choose to make NASPA your professional home, and are honored the NASPA Annual Conference has become the premier gathering for the field of student affairs. We will continue to strive to connect our community with transformational programming and create spaces for the critical dialogues that shape the future of our profession.