It was the fall of 2003, and I was a graduate student at Clemson University working in the Gantt Intercultural Center and was VolunTOLD by Melissa Shivers that I would be helping her with her role as the SACSA conference registration chair for the 2003 conference in Myrtle Beach, SC. The following year, fall of 2004 when I am a new professional at Western Carolina University and my direct supervisor, Jane Adams-Dunford is now the SACSA conference co-chair and she also insists that I will attend the conference in Chattnooga, TN. That is when I began to see that this SACSA thing is the REAL DEAL! 14 years later after serving multiple times as a committee chair, as a trustee for the SACSA Foundation, graduating from both NPI and MMI, serving in elected roles as member-at-large, and the Vice President for Member Relations, I am humbled to serve you as the President of the Southern Association of College Student Affairs. I am a firm believer that all things happen when and where they are supposed to. So, it is no coincidence that I received the gravel and gavel while in Chattanooga, TN and will reign as president as we prepare to go to Myrtle Beach, SC...the 2 locations were SACSA first began for me.
As we move into the next year, the Executive Council and Committee Chairs will focus much of our time on the recently approved strategic plan for 2017-2020. Our 3 main focus areas are on:
- the recruitment, engagement, and retention of our membership,
- financial stability, and stewardship, and
- strengthening SACSA's ability to prepare professionals for the future of higher education;
We will not only identify, but create a plan to better connect and engage with our colleagues who serve at community colleges, HBCUs, and Hispanic and Multicultural serving institutions. We will review the current structure of the Executive Council and examine the ways in which we prepare all members for all leadership positions. We will review our financial policies and procedures and explore new corporate and association partnerships to provide in-kind and monetary sponsorship. Since the beginning, SACSA has been committed to our vision, mission, and core values and as challenges on our campuses and in this nation continue to increase we will work with our public policy committee to develop advocacy resources such as a First Amendment and Campus Free Speech summit. Advocacy resources such as these will allow us to create additional opportunities for members to not only discuss and communicate issues affecting higher education, but also have some tangible resources to help us best guide and advise the students that we serve while also understanding our roles as administrators when engaged in political and cultural hot-button issues.
SACSA is successful because of the work many of us do on a voluntarily basis. Thank you to all of those who have answered the call to serve in past years and as we prepare for the future. As we prepare for the 2018 annual conference in Myrtle Beach, SC, Jane Dane' from Old Dominion University will serve as our Conference Chair. So, November 3-5, 2018 do not beat us there, but meet us there! Meet Us at the BEACH! Where we will Build ways to Educate, Advocate, Cultivate, and Heighten our purpose in Student Affairs.