Like many obedient newcomers, I kicked of this year’s NACAC conference by attending the “First Timers Orientation.” The session opened with a welcome from NACAC director of conference and meetings, Bethany Blue Chirico, to a room of nearly 500 attendees. Bethany introduced the group to the various conference committees before turning the mic over to NACAC’s President-Elect, Jim Rawlins, Executive Director of Admissions at Colorado State University. Rawlins made note of the incredible attendance of this year’s conference with nearly 6000 attendees, on track to be the largest conference in the association’s history. Attendees this year represent all 50 states and 66 countries. Now into day-two of the conference, I can say that the sheer number of attendees is both overwhelming and exciting. I’ve caught up with old friends, connected with virtual colleagues face-to-face, and made many new connections that I am sure will continue long after this conference commences.
After the standard recommendations to us first timers to make the most of what this week’s conference has to offer, Rawlins made a point to acknowledge the group as the future leaders of NACAC. I feel privileged to be attending this weeks events. While the conference is large, the sessions are intimate, giving young professionals like myself an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of the nations leading enrollment professionals.
Joanne Augustine and Shanna Pomager (Tuesday’s Admissions Live guests), co-chairs of the local arrangements committee and Rocky Mountain affiliate members, took the stage next to talk to first timers about what Denver has in store for us. They boasted that Denver is not only fabulous because of it’s proximity to the mountains, but also is home to many fantastic neighborhoods- accessible via a safe light rail, and great craft beer. They warned about high altitudes and dehydration, encouraging attendees to have plenty of water, sunscreen and lip balm on hand. These ladies, and many others, have made fun happen here in the “Mile High City,” with arrangements at the Colorado Convention Center throughout this week and the closing conference social at the Denver Art Museum tomorrow.
The session wrapped with a networking exercise and introduction to the conference “Meet Your Match” game. This is an idea worth spreading. Hear more about the game from Champlain College’s Nicole Lentine.
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