As I began preparing for the NACAS 2015Annual Conference, I started reminiscing about why I became a NACAS member. There are many reasons for NACAS membership, but here are the ones that made my top 10 list, beginning with No. 10.
10. NACAS Membership makes your job easier
My first NACAS Annual Conference was 2002 in Vancouver, Canada. I admit I was a bit overwhelmed with all the people attend-ing the conference. I tell people I’m a small-town southern girl and most of the people I had met prior to my Auxiliary Services career were similar to me, southern certainly, and many from small towns.
At that first conference, I met people from all over North America, but what I soon realized was that we were all pretty much doing the same job, just on different campuses in different parts of the world. What I also realized very early was that NACAS members wanted to share their pro-grams, services, and new ideas with everyone. As a communicator and marketer, I jotted down all sorts of ideas on how to make my job easier.
People were making presentations and distributing pamphlets and materials, explaining Auxiliary Services on their campuses, and I took those examples back to my campus.
9. NACAS Membership makes you smarter
The excitement that I took back with me from that first NACAS Annual Conference kept my energy going for quite a while, writing articles about our new Tech Trolleys, adding a dentist to our health services. I really thought I was making a difference, getting all this information to our students, faculty, and staff. I attribute that energy surge to the NACAS Annual Conference, hearing and seeing all that other Auxiliary Services professionals were doing on their campuses.
But as events tend to dim as time goes by and daily work schedules intrude on excitement, I soon realized that NACAS had more to offer to keep my excitement level high, and that was professional development programs.
First of all, in between the NACAS Annual conferences, all four regions have their own Regional conference with energizing programs and business partners to discuss more partnership opportunities. I registered for the 2003 NACAS South Regional Conference and haven’t missed one since.
In addition to the regional conferences, NACAS has professional development opportunities presented online and “on the road” throughout the year. I found I could learn about assessments, marketing, financial impacts and smartphone app development, and I could do it in person or online. Thanks to our business partners and the NACAS Education Foundation, many of these programs, especially the online programs, are free to me as a NACAS member.
Am I smarter for being a NACAS member? You bet! These Auxiliary Services professional development opportunities have taught me more than I could have learned alone, and now that the online courses are free, the expense can’t be beat.
8. NACAS Membership strengthens your confidence
It’s easy to see how the many educational opportunities that NACAS offers could make one’s confidence soar. However, anyone who has worked on a college campus, and that’s what Auxiliary Services professionals do, will know that confidence-building does not always surround us.
So many extraordinary people working on similar projects can make a routine day’s attitude go from “I’m the best” to “I hope I can manage.” NACAS membership comes to the rescue again.
Volunteering to be on NACAS committees or in leadership positions gives members the opportunities to use their skills to see projects from be-ginning to end. Being a part of the host committee for the annual conference, becoming a regional leader and/or presenting educational programs can strengthen confidence.
We all have skills, and if our day-to-day jobs knock us around a bit, we can show our talents with NACAS committee, leadership and presentation positions.
7. NACAS Membership creates leaders
If you have a desire to become a more effective leader, NACAS is the place for you. NACAS encourages its members to participate. I listened to our NACAS President, Kathryn Le Gros, talk about how she became a NACAS West Board member, then the NACAS West President and now NACAS President.
If you enjoy leadership, start your path to becoming a NACAS leader. The more opportunities you have—committee member, committee chair, regional officer, and so forth—the more opportunities you have to perfect your leadership skills.
6. NACAS Membership gives rewards
There are many rewards to a NACAS membership. One of my favorites is the NACAS annual awards. It’s important to tell our Auxiliary Services stories and accomplishments. People need to know what we do if for no other reason than to have a historical documentation of what happened and when. One of the ways to do this is to be recognized through NACAS awards.
My first project as an Auxiliary Services professional was to have Georgia Tech Auxiliary Services recognized in a national magazine. I wrote Ann Waters’ nomination for the Robert F. Newton Distinguished Service award. She received the award, and her accomplishments were published in College Services.
As NACAS members, we should all take advantage of getting our campuses recognized through the many NACAS annual awards. It’s never too early to start writing an award nomination.
5. NACAS Membership is a map
Are you looking for a guide to get you through your Auxiliary Services career? A NACAS mentor could be your roadmap. NACAS also recognizes its mentors. Each year when the regional mentor awards are announced and the recipients described, it’s like a “who’s who” among NACAS members. You hear and see those who have taken the time to share their Auxiliary Services and NACAS experiences with others.
NACAS is a robust organization, but it only becomes stronger when members share their skills and experiences. If you are, by nature, a mentor, volunteer at the NACAS annual and regional conferences to make others feel welcome, to share your experiences, and to help NACAS grow.
4. NACAS Membership is enduring
Even with the best plans, mentors, rewards and leadership opportunities, sometimes one can suffer job burnout. NACAS membership can come to the rescue yet again. Let NACAS be your one stop shop for all things Auxiliary Services and thereby all things fresh and new.
Read the College Services magazine for innovative ideas. Keep an eye out for emails to the NACAS Lounge on new ways of doing your job.
Is your job more left-brained, logical, analytical and objective? Or is it more right-brained, intuitive, thoughtful, subjective, and creative? Then, work on a NACAS project that has the opposite skills, learning new skills that could be indoctrinated into your campus job and keep burnout feelings at bay.
3. NACAS Membership is strategic
On every project I do, I continually ask myself, “What is the goal?” The same can be said for your NACAS membership. Make it strategic. What is your goal for your NACAS membership?
Throughout the years, my NACAS membership goals have changed. In 2003, I decided to be more than a member and I volunteered for the NACAS membership committee. I’ve continued throughout the years, volunteering as positions were needed.
What is your NACAS membership goal?
2. NACAS Membership builds your career
Add all of the reasons for being a NACAS member listed here and your resume grows. The NACAS membership icing on the cake, however, came about in 2009 when CASP was created and introduced to the membership.
CASP is a four-year certification for Auxiliary Services directors.
I’m planning for my CASP now. What about you?
1. NACAS is The Connections that Count
And the No. 1 reason for being a NACAS member is simply put in the NACAS slogan – The Connections that Count. I’ve met and worked with more people throughout North America and internationally than I would have ever thought in 2002 when this small town southern girl started her NACAS journey.
I treasure these associations and call these people my friends. Few days go by that I don’t find myself contacting someone for help with my Auxiliary Services career.
What amazing opportunities we all have because of our NACAS memberships!