The Student Affairs Graduate Association (SAGA) held its first annual Higher Educational Leadership Conference yesterday from 12-4 p.m. in Carruth Rizza Hall.
The idea of an annual conference came after a regional student affairs conference gradually “fizzled out,” according to Samantha Walker, president of SAGA. Once she and Jill Pavlick, treasurer of SAGA, were on the executive board, they reflected on the ideas from previous years to develop a new professional development event on the local event.
“We had known that the more recent executive boards have been trying to do something like this for years, but there had been a lot of time constraint, a lot of big scope they were trying out, trying to make it state wide. So, we looked at this and we were like, ‘What if we make our conference and its first-annual iteration just campus based?’” Walker said.
The event is open to both undergraduate and graduate students and is free to attend.
“This is a career. You can work on a college campus or university campus,” Pavlick, said. “If this is an environment you like as an undergrad, then this you can make a career out of.”
The conference with open with a brief introduction, then a series of TED Talks presented by three graduate students from the Intro to Student Affairs class. First-year students were tasked with talking for five minutes about an interesting topic as their final.
Following the TED Talks, there will be three 45-minute sessions. Attendees will have the option between two sessions offered concurrently. Session topics include gap years, LGBTQIA awareness and activism and experiences of being a CA for multiple years as an undergraduate student.
An SRU alum will also take headshots with a donation for attendees.
In addition to introducing attendees to the career options available in student affairs, Walker hopes that the conference will promote SAGA and inform attendees about SAGA’s resources should they continue to explore student affairs after completing their undergraduate degree.
“We really believe putting SAGA out there is important so that people can explore this as a career path and understanding whether this is something they are interested in or not and, if not, they can better understand what student affairs is in general and use the resources allotted them on campus,” Walker said.