My name is Art Esposito and I am serving as your Region Membership Chair. In our most recent meeting, Regional leadership asked me to start a dialog with this blog post focusing on the topic of involvement in NACADA. We want to help each of you identify the myriad of ways in which you can participate—to welcome you not only to volunteer at our regional conferences each spring, but to seek out ways to get involved throughout the year and in roles in every sector of the Association’s organizational structure.
I’m honored and excited to be the one in the region to start this conversation because one of the things I like most about NACADA is how the Association responds to people who just want to get involved. The best way I can explain how I know this is by sharing with you how the NACADA community has always responded to my willingness to contribute.
I joined NACADA in 2004, and in the build up to my first regional conference, I was searching for ways to get the most out of the experience and learn as much as I could about the Association. I was a new advisor, so I didn’t think I was qualified to volunteer to do anything except stand there and look puzzled. So instead of offering to help, I looked for help by requesting a Mentor through my region’s mentoring program. I was introduced to my mentor on the first day of the conference, she and her colleagues took me out to dinner, and by the time appetizers were cleared, they had helped me define my areas of scholarly interest within the Association and we’d begun drafting an outline for my first presentation.
By the following year, I had presented at my first conference, become active on the listserve dialogs of two commissions, and joined their steering committees. In the years that followed, I presented at conferences and on Webinars; I’ve delivered a keynote address and spoken at various institutions with the Consultants and Speakers Service; chaired a commission, a region conference, and a region; published in Academic Advising Today, co-authored a chapter in a NACADA monograph and one in a peer-reviewed book independent of the Association; served as mentor in the Region 2 program and for ELP; and served on a handful of NACADA Committees.
All of those opportunities were given to me because I built up the courage to ask to get involved. The Association welcomed my volunteering to serve, my participation in our dialog of professional development, and my attempts to contribute to the profession.
Another great thing about NACADA is that there are so many entry points to involvement. With three divisions comprised of over 40 commissions and interest groups (now called Advising Communities), ten advisory boards, and eight formal committees, your options are plentiful for volunteering. And that doesn’t even include the number of ways you can participate on the region level. Here is a link to one of the Member Services pages that is dedicated to helping folks discover ways to get involved (or become more involved) with the Association.
When it comes to involvement on the Region level, I was hoping to make this post a jumping off point for dialog with the various leaders in the region. Rather than try to tell you all of your opportunities to volunteer in the Region, I’m inviting our current leaders, State Liaisons, and our Conference Volunteer co-chairs to either chime-in on the comments section below, or send a blog post off to Janine and Ben to talk about your roles and the ways folks can participate.
Thanks for reading this, and I hope to see you all in Springfield in March!
Region 1 Membership Chair