2 conferences, 7 days, 6 students, 9 hours in a van and I lived to tell about it

…by Meg Dumaine, Resident Director

Two conferences within seven days. One with students in Syracuse, NY and one with professional staff in Newport, RI. Exhausting and daunting are two words that describe my mentality as prepared for this as well as… you volunteered for one knowing the conflict. Energized and fulfilled are two words to describe my mentality on day 8. Let me take a few steps back and provide a bit of background information.


I started at BSU in June 2014. I knew I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity so I could prepare for the next step. A few weeks after I started; my director, Beth Moriarty, asked the department to prepare professional development plans and preferences. NASPA has always been my organization and conference of choice, so of course this is what I submitted. A short time later I was approved to go to NASPA Region 1 November 16-19 in Newport, RI. Fast forward a few months, RHA was looking for an advisor to take a delegation to NEACURH Regionals in Syracuse, NY…. November 14-16. This was it. An opportunity to reconnect with an organization I love- if you’ve ever seen 300+ college students cheering to Marty the moose you know what I mean- as well as the ability  to connect with BSU students in a different format. A perfect opportunity. I spent time thinking about it and was asked by my supervisors if that that was truly manageable. I came back to one answer: it’s going to be exhausting but can I say no? Would I regret it? The answer was easy… absolutely, yes!


The six days of conferences were amazing. I can only think of a handful of times professionally when I have felt that fulfilled and invincible. NEACURH (the student conference) started off interestingly; a six-hour drive with 6 students, all with various needs and musical interests. On hour three we hit a snag, music. My solution, let’s practice our cheering for the conference. The response was moans and groans but like good sports, they did it and didn’t stop for three days. They attended sessions, made new friends and made critical assessments on how they (and RHA) could be more effective. The ride home was filled with conversations about future involvement and recounting the weekend. A new bond was formed within this group and I hope the momentum will gain as the next conference approaches in March.


Have you experienced the conference excitement?  Were you able to jot your thoughts down afterward and put them into action?


Meg Dumaine is a Resident Director at the Great Hill Student Apartments.

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