Northwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

Why Are Pre-Conferences Worth It?

By the Pre-Conference Committee Members

2015 Pre-Conference session with Ed Cabellon, Keynote Speaker

2015 Pre-Conference session with Ed Cabellon, Keynote Speaker

After working on the pre-conference opportunities for the past several months we have stopped to think about why you should attend one of these opportunities. We all know why attending the annual conference is important and how we benefit from it but we believe we rarely talk about what we can get from a pre-conference session. At this year’s annual conference there will be 3 pre-conference opportunities, they are roundtable discussions for SHO’s, people who work in Facilities or Operations, and Residence Life/Education (SHO Summit, The Facilities Mixer, and Residence Life & Education Discussion Forum). Within each roundtable there will be at least one facilitator from the Professional Development Committee that will help guide the discussion that the participants design that day. The Professional Development Committee understands that taking more time away from work can be difficult, but we’ve outlined some of the benefits of attending one of the pre-conference roundtables:

  • Learn something new
    • These roundtables are designed to share ideas with your colleagues from the NWACUHO region. After this experience you will have new ideas to bring back to your institution and implement in your department, staff, or building.
  • Helping others
    • A big part of these opportunities is sharing ideas and solutions to problems that we are encountering at our home institutions. Maybe you have dealt with a similar situation before and have some expertise to share or you are a problem solver that can help other people think outside the box in order to solve their problems or concerns. Both are immeasurably helpful when it comes to improving our programs.
  • Meet someone new
    • If you are a new time attendee or this is your 20th NWACUHO you are bound to meet someone new. It can be difficult going to a conference where you may know no one. For our “New to the Northwest Professionals” this is a great opportunity to find someone to help guide you through the conference or find the people who are in the same boat and navigate the conference together. As for you seasoned veterans to NWACUHO there are bound to be new people at the conference that are looking for someone to help them or have a great idea that inspires you for the future. A big part of conferences is networking and what better way to start than with open discussion and small groups to get to know people on an individual level.
  • Collaboration
    • I think I may have mentioned this once or twice but the idea of these roundtables are to share what you know and learn something new. We are all here to support each other and make sure we have some new ideas and inspiration to go back to our institutions after NWAUCHO with a renewed passion for our jobs. Collaborating is essential to how we grow and what we do within our profession. Collaboration helps us learn more about ourselves, others, how to work with others, and nothing is better than having two heads instead of one. Another aspect of collaborating is to see and understand diverse viewpoints which will lead to higher-level thinking as an important result. There is no hierarchy when we collaborate. We will all be in the same room and it won’t matter who has been in the field or their position for 1 year or 15 years, we all have different experiences and thought process that will help bring up ideas to solve the issues or problems we will discuss.
  • Networking
    • Who knows where you are going to go next or where your next career move will take you. This is a chance to meet a lot of people around the region and who knows who you will run into at your next interview.
  • Low cost
    • This year’s Pre-Conference Roundtables are only $10! This fee covers refreshments for the duration of the pre-conference session. There are not many other conferences that offer out $10 pre-conference activities.

These roundtables are opportunities to further develop yourself as a professional and they are intentionally placed before the conference so you don’t have to choose between one of these options and an interesting conference session.  The investment will pay off almost immediately and you’ll probably help someone else in the process.  What a great way to begin giving back to others in the region?

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Pre-Conference Committee – Alex Matiash (amatiash@ewu.edu), DJ Kelly-Quattrocchi (dj.kellyquattrocchi@digipen.edu), or Andrew Beck (andrew.beck@wsu.edu). Register for the Annual Conference, and one of the Pre-Conference opportunities today!

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