Student representatives from mid-Atlantic universities will gather from October 13-16 in Buffalo, N.Y., for a national conference in which campus activities planners will share best practices, network and develop new events for fellow students.
The conference, hosted by the National Association for Campus Activities, NACA, enables leaders of campus student activities to expand their knowledge and make connections with performers and entertainment companies. It is also a chance to see what other universities are offering for their students.
Keyara Blackmon, a Stevenson junior and programming director of Mustang Activities and Programing (MAP), will attend NACA for the third time. She describes NACA as “refreshing, exhilarating, educational, tiresome, and interactive.” When Blackmon attended NACA for the first time in her freshmen year, she was excited yet nervous. “I thought it was just going to be a weekend filled with boring conferences. Man, was I wrong!” she said.
NACA provides educational sessions, showcases, featured speakers, school swaps, and socials for the student leaders and their advisors, with some days beginning at 8 a.m. and ending after midnight. The most popular event and a favorite among students is the school swap, where every university gets its own table and has the opportunity to showcase promotional items and trade with other universities.
Kris DeJesus, SU senior and president of MAP, will attend NACA for the third time. When he attended NACA the first time, he said, he wanted to learn as much as possible, but now as president, he is hopes to educate the new Executive Board, since they are relatively new this year with rookie MAP members traveling to NACA. “Everyone who attends will be put in a position to lead while learning, which [in turn] will make them better leaders,” said DeJesus.
Stevenson University’s Throwback Time Machine dance featured during freshman orientation is a prime example of an event discovered at NACA that was then brought back to campus, and the event’s many attendees enjoyed the novelty of the evening. Eric Mina, a hypnotist headlining for Homecoming Week, was also found the previous year at NACA.
Blackmon said, “Every conference brings something different, and holds different opportunities. MAP brings whatever catches our eye. We aren’t looking for anything in particular, just something students will love.”