I had a phone conversation this afternoon with someone I’ve never met. Despite that, we chatted for 45 minutes about mid-level positions in housing & residence life and student affairs. There was nothing awkward at all about picking up the phone to call someone I’d never spoken to before. You see, we are very lucky to work in this field. I bet I would be safe to say that 99.9% (if not 100%) of student affairs professionals are happy to chat with one another about a variety of topics, even if they have no pre-existing relationship.
Every so often, I peruse the ACUHO-I regional and international affiliations websites to see what’s happening and who I can connect with. Through this, I have found conference information, new projects and initiatives taking place and further networking opportunities. By checking out UMR-ACUHO’s website and reading through the list of programs presented at their recent regional conference, I made contact with Nick Lander, Assistant Director for Residence Life at Kansas State University. Nick had presented on “Preparing for and Transitioning into the Mid Level” and I was curious to know more. After a couple of emails, we chose a time to chat on the phone. Nick was open and honest in his advice, experience and knowledge. I’m sure if anyone had overheard our phone call, they would have been surprised to know that this was our very first conversation. That’s the thing about this field. That willingness to pick up the phone and devote time to a complete stranger. How many professionals from other fields can say they experience the same thing?
Nick is not the first person I have connected with in this way. Twitter has been a powerful tool in relationship building and encouraging connections with other students affairs professionals. Ann Marie Klotz, Laurie Berry, Kelley McCarthy, and Niki Rudolph are just a few of the amazing people I’ve connected with, mainly thanks to Twitter. Being involved in ACUHO-I has also introduced me to wonderful folks from across the student housing spectrum. Ana Hernandez, Rebecca Chan and Janine Arcus are among some of these very people, representing the global nature of ACUHO-I.
I am so thankful and grateful for these connections, and for being a part of a field that values this far reaching support and fellowship.
Even if you currently have a great network, I encourage you to cast a wide net. There are so many phenomenal people in this field, across the globe and you have the opportunity to connect with them in many ways. Do it. You will not regret it.
Who will you connect with next?