SEAHO: Behind Closed Doors

Attending the conference vs. helping to PLAN the conference – two entirely different things. Serving on the SEAHO host committee has shown me an entirely different side of the conference, and the organization for that matter, than I had ever known before (2014: Registration, 2016: Social Media and Guidebook, and now 2017: Budget). Did you know that every host committee spends 18 months planning for each conference? EIGHT-TEEN-MONTHS! There are countless conference calls, numerous to-do list items between those calls, a plethora of meetings with contractors and vendors, and multiple site visits at the conference location, even if you aren’t in close proximity. It is an incredible amount of work, and every one of these committee members does this completely as a volunteer; we such amazing colleagues across our region!

Serving on these three host committees truly has opened my eyes to a different viewpoint of the conference. I always knew I loved SEAHO: the people, the sessions, the familial atmosphere, the networking, the professional development opportunities, etc., etc., etc. But I never really gave much thought as to what happens behind the scenes while the conference takes place, or better yet, before the conference takes place. I had always just shown up, picked up my goodie bag at registration, attended sessions, and ate the food. In some ways, it had always seemed like there wouldn’t be THAT much work to put together this conference, right? WRONG. When Dr. Tom Hardy reached out to me about 18 months prior to the 2014 SEAHO conference in Louisville, I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. But since then, when Dr. Donna McGalliard and Gavin Roark contacted me asking if I was interested in helping on their committees, they could barely finish asking before I quickly said YES! Despite the countless hours of unpaid work on top of our already very busy schedules working in Campus Housing and/or Residence Life, taking part in these experiences has helped me in invaluable ways.

Specially, my experience in Raleigh for SEAHO 2016 was very different than that of the 2014 Louisville conference. Since I work at the University of Louisville, serving on the 2014 committee was quite a bit easier than serving on a host committee for a conference taking place 550 miles away from my home campus. Thankfully, I have several very supportive supervisors who have always pushed me to continue to be involved at a high level, knowing how important this has been to me personally and professionally.

Our 2016 host committee crew – our team – was closer than ever. We celebrated our many mini victories together (often times with ice cream on campus in Raleigh!) and supported each other when things “fell through” along the way. We got to know each other through our Friday conference calls and our random Facebook pictures, always finding new ways of being goofy. And although it was relieving to have the Raleigh conference arrive and watch our months and months of hard work come to fruition, the entire group reflected on how much we were going to miss our interaction with each other, going as far as jokingly (sort of) requesting to continue our Friday conference calls.

Serving on the SEAHO host committee changes you; you become addicted to it (or is that just me?). It helps to develop you in ways no other professional development opportunity can. You build a network of colleagues you’ll forever call your teammates, and your friends. If I could ever give advice to professionals in the field, whether young or seasoned, it would be to get involved with your regional conference planning team. You’ll have the experience of a lifetime, one that you will forever call one of your greatest ever.

Submitted by Bryan Shelangoski, University of Louisville

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KARH Vibrations

The Kentucky Association of Residence Halls (KARH) is a student led state organization that works to improve the lives of students that live on-campus by providing development opportunities for student leaders in Campus Housing. The student leaders who KARH represents include those in the Resident Student Association (RSA), the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), and Resident Assistant Leaders.

Each year, KARH hosts an annual conference and the University of Louisville hosted the conference this past February. Professional staff, graduate staff, and student staff in Campus Housing were all a part of making the KARH conference a huge success here at the University of Louisville. With the support from Campus Housing and our sponsors, we were able to host over one hundred students and advisors from nine different institutions across the state.

The delegation from the University of Louisville Resident Student Association (RSA) also had great success at KARH! We have two students who were elected to the state board of KARH, Nicholas DiLuca and Sarah Rohleder! In the spirit competition, the RSA won best banner (pictured below). Our NRHH chapter won Recognition Chapter of the Year and the Campus Housing signature program Tunnel of Oppression was awarded the Program of the Year. Lastly, Evan Keil was awarded Advisor of the Year. These awards and appointments show the dedication and passion of our students and staff here at the University of Louisville to the students that we serve.

In all, the students from across the state had a wonderful time at the KARH 2016 Conference hosted by the University of Louisville! They took full advantage of the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop their skills as leaders in order to better serve their campuses. This experience was possible because of the dedication of the KARH 2016 Conference team and we cannot thank them enough for their contribution to the development of the student leaders throughout the Commonwealth.

Submitted by Evan Keil, University of Louisville

 

Capitalizing on My First SEAHO

If I could use one word to describe my experience at SEAHO 2016 in Raleigh, NC, it would be amazing. My first SEAHO was an incredible experience to connect, reconnect, mentor, engage, learn, reflect, and grow. As a new professional intending to remain in the Housing field and live in the SEAHO region, I am happy to say that I believe SEAHO will be my main professional home.

As a member of the Governing Council, I have been able to participate in SEAHO business meetings since last October. As such, I have seen the SEAHO passion that members such as Kathy Hobgood and Countess Hughes exhibit in a more behind the scenes setting. When I first joined the GC, I was so impressed by the amount of thought and work put into how the SEAHO GC operates. I loved being able to connect with other State Reps as we worked to provide direction for the future of SEAHO. Being at my first SEAHO, it was so nice to see familiar GC faces all around the conference. I know how relieved I was when the endowment proposal was passed, I can only imagine how relieved Kathy and Countess were! I, along with other State Reps, felt confident in the decision SEAHO made to secure its financial future.

KAHO has undergone a great bit of change recently and the state of higher education in Kentucky is currently under financial threat by the newly elected Governor. It was so nice that Kentucky delegates were able to come together at the State meeting to converse about how the budget was affecting their campuses. I believe it is helpful when we know there are others out there who are going through the same experiences. It makes you feel understood and supported. Our Kentucky state meeting provided a space for those conversations.

At my program presentation with Jimmie Martin, we were able to have wonderful discussion and dialogue with our participants. Talking about the topic of evaluating and motivating returning staff members, the discussion sparked a participant to collect business cards to start an email thread. Our participants wanted to continue the conversation after the conference! As a first-time attendee and presenter, this helped me to feel confident in my professional abilities to engage in dialogue with colleagues across the field and region.

As a participant in the SEAHONext program, I was able to engage in a mentoring relationship with a graduate student. I have always loved mentoring relationships, and I really enjoyed being able to provide some perspective about life after graduate school. I would give any grad student the same advice I gave my mentee- Enjoy your cohort now. You will miss them when you all go your separate ways and there is nothing quite like a grad school cohort.

Attending program presentations that were dedicated to Housing topics was so great because I could find so many topics that related to my current position. I attended some presentations that allowed me an opportunity to reflect on why and how we currently do things at MSU. I attended others that gave me ideas to incorporate to improve our Residence Education program. Overall, I believe attending SEAHO allowed me to grow as a professional as I have incorporated SEAHO ideas into my daily work.

One of the most enjoyable things about attending SEAHO was reconnecting with colleagues from my undergraduate institution (The University of Virginia’s College at Wise) and my graduate institution (Clemson University). Being able to connect the dots between my life changing RA experience to my impactful graduate experience to where I now am professionally through seeing and speaking with people who made a difference on my life along the way was a great opportunity for reflection.

I truly feel like I was able to Capitalize on my opportunity to attend SEAHO. As I mentioned earlier, I believe SEAHO will be my professional home for the foreseeable future. I cannot wait for SEAHO 2017 in Chattanooga!

Submitted by Erin Edwards, Morehead State University

Kronicle Blog

Welcome to the home of the KAHO Kronicle Blog! In order to provide a new means of connecting and engaging with our KAHO members, the Governing Council has decided to move the Kronicle to a blog. Blog posts will be featured here throughout the year and will be linked to our social media pages.

To submit a blog post or for questions, please email Erin Edwards kystaterep@seaho.org.