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Annual Conference

Although I missed some sessions that I was very interested in, I still managed to attend some great ones!

Students helping Students: What is Peer Mentoring?

Jessica Hall, Devan Obey, and Andy White – Ohio Dominican University

I attended this session because this year I was asked to develop, implement, manage, and assess a peer mentoring program… and was not successful. After attending this program, I understand why. The support given to the peer mentors in this program was great. These students were offered leadership development that benefitted them directly, given clear expectations, and quality supervision. It was some of these factors which has led to the success of the program and to the lack of success of mine. For future peer mentoring program experiences, I now know what questions to ask in advance.

High Stakes Planning: Connecting Communities to Create Campus Events

Alison Doehring & Dave Vale – University of Akron

As an event planner, I felt that I was professionally required to attend this session and I am glad that I did! Alison and Dave presented their six steps to High Stakes planning. I plan to utilize these six steps to assist in the training of the student programming board at Notre Dame College. They are pretty self-explanatory, but if you comment I can provide additional clarifications:

  1. Creating the Why
  2. Leveraging Buy In
  3. Formulating the Budget
  4. Protecting Liability
  5. Finalizing Logistics
  6. Post Event Management

Student Affairs Has a Student Er… Staff Retention Issue

Christopher Tyner – Franklin University

Student Affairs knows that it has a burnout problem, but too often we focus so heavily on student retention that we do not think of staff retention. 50-60% of new professionals leave by their 5th year and the cost of that professional leaving is 50-200% of that employee’s salary. Professionals leave for a variety of reasons including:


  • Disconnection with institution
  • Fit
  • Balance

Professional Factors

  • Lack of job opportunities
  • Organizational politics
  • Lack of synergistic supervision

Towards the end of the session, we turned our eyes towards the question: What can we do? Some of our discussion pointed to having intentional conversations with student leaders about burnout (before they become future #SApros), graduate programs need to directly address these pitfalls of the field, focusing on the “why” during the hiring process (as opposed to “what can you do” or “how you can help us”), provide flexibility, and supervising synergistically. Overall, I think we agreed that we can do better and we should.

This concludes my two part series about the OCPA Annual Conference. This year I felt more like a professional attending a conference than a graduate student. I felt like I had purpose and was less awestruck. I challenged my introverted tendencies spoke with other professionals. It was the best way to start off my final semester as a #SAGrad.

I look forward to blogging about NASPA in the future!