NACA Vlogs: Meet the Delegation!

This year, our student delegation will be “Mixing it Up” by trying their hand at vlogging (video blogging) their NACA Northeast experiences in addition to writing on this blog! They have already put together their very first video, introducing each of our delegates and talking about what they want to get out of their experience at the conference. Check out the video below, and be sure to follow this blog for more NACA Northeast updates as we approach the conference at the end of the month!

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Kevin Bruin’s NACA National Experience

Ed Session 1.

My first Ed-Session was about being inclusive in programming and planning. In the session we discussed how to be sure to include everyone in advertisements and how to avoid offending someone with our programs. A few suggestions we received in the session were to be sure to use gender neutral language in our programs, but especially to use in our advertisements. In order to ensure that everyone feel included, we shouldn’t use images that depict a certain gender or sexuality stereotype. We also discussed co-sponsoring events with the GLBTA Pride Center. We could do events that raise awareness for equal rights and encourages students to be open and honest with how they feel. An ice-breaker I plan to use that was introduced to me in this session would be a great way to encourage this honesty. The activity began with each person writing down a secret on a small piece of paper, crumpling it up, and all at the same time throwing it in different directions. After this, the people administering the activity would then as if anyone has a particularly interesting secret they would want to share. After 3-5 people read, they open a discussion to have the participants talk about how they felt knowing that someone knows your secret, and you know someone else’s, but you don’t know who either are. This session was very helpful in learning techniques for inclusivity and will benefit me in all areas of professionalism.

 Ed Session 2.

My second Ed-Session focused on homecoming.  This session seemed to focus more on audience discussion rather than a lecture styled session. There was a presentation by the presenters, but most of the session consisted of being broken into groups and discussing different approaches and techniques to running a successful homecoming. A few ideas that were brought up were events that other schools did such as “Wear Red, Get Fed” which promotes students to support the school by wearing red to a specific area of campus and being allowed to get food for free because of it. I feel that this could become a popular tradition if we were to do it during the week and have the school host a large campus-wide BBQ, much like the one for freshman, except this one encourages school pride and participation. Another topic we touched upon was the homecoming court. Potentially due to our application process, very little non-Greek life students have applied to be on the homecoming court. A suggestion that was provided during open discussion on the topic was the have a period of nomination before the application process. If we were to go to the main clubs and organizations on campus to get nominations for homecoming, we would be sure to get a lot more names on the list. After the nomination period we would have the nominees then submit an application to the court. By doing a nomination process in addition to our application, we might see an increase of non-Greek students applying which in turn could increase the participation in the homecoming festivities by the non-Greek population. Overall the session was informative and game me a nice perspective on different styles of homecoming.

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Bethany MacDonald’s NACA National Experience

I was so lucky to be chosen to go to both days of NACA Nationals on Sunday and Monday in Boston. In my two days, I was able to attend three educational sessions, visit CAMP, watch Showcase Performers, and listen to Speakers. NACA was an incredible experience and I learned so much for myself as well as taking ideas back to BSU that will benefit Program Committee.

The first ed session that I had attended was on Sunday and called the Pillars of Programming. At this session, our presenters discussed the importance of collaborating with committee members before contracting with co-sponsors, different ways of brainstorming, and different ways of marketing. During the session, we were allotted about twenty minutes to get into small groups with the people near us and around the room to share the different ways our schools brainstorm and market events. I met many people from across the country and it was interesting to hear new ways to market events that other schools had found to be successful.

Some ideas I took back from this session about new ways to market are:

  • Paid promotions on Facebook to target regions and age groups for large events like Homecoming or Spring Fest where a performer has been hired.
  • Printed stickers
  • Social Media Contests (first to answer question wins a prize)

The Pillars of Programming are:

  1. Audience: Who is your target audience?
  2. Brainstorm: What are your ideas?
  3. Agents: Who are you going to be working with?
  4. Marketing: What forms of marketing are you going to use?
  5. Supplies: What does your event need?

The second ed session I attended was on Monday. This session was called Change the Lyrics to Your Tradition. First, the presenters listed off the three different types of tradition. One student raised his hand and shared one of his schools traditions. During the holiday season, their school held an ornament decorating event and had everyone hang the ornaments around campus to promote their Winter Week that would be held the next week. An idea that I thought would be great to bring to Program Committee would be to go viral. Similar to the Comedian Reveal videos that are made; by changing the lyrics to a song, creating a music video, and using it to promote a campus event or by simply filming the BSU community doing a dance, like the wobble, at various places on campus, is a great way to go viral. Another idea that I had taken from this session would be to promote other clubs and organizations events. Advertising for sporting events was something someone mentioned in the session as well. If Program Committee goes to sporting events, like a foot ball game, we would be supporting the sport teams and they would support us in return.

The last educational session I attended was titled Lead From the Inside Out. This was my favorite session. Our presenter Troy Stende began the session with an icebreaker. His energy and enthusiasm during the icebreaker got everyone in the room excited for it as well. It wasn’t what I expected. I expected us to discuss what it means to be a leader in your community. I was pleasantly surprised with how the ed session was actually conducted. The session consisted of us learning how important it is for us all to take care of ourselves. How can we be effective leaders if we are not being the healthiest human beings we can possibly be? Drinking lots of water, eating the right foods, and getting enough sleep will make us be the best people and leaders that we can possibly be. Taking care of our bodies is the first step to being a leader. Being healthy starts from the inside and effects how we behave on the outside. This was my favorite session because of how excited the presenter was. His enthusiasm kept my attention the entire time.

I had learned so many new ideas to bring to PC from people who come from all over the country. I would love to consider having some of the speakers who we heard come to BSU as well as performers who performed during Showcase like Dakaboom and The Well Reds. I feel as though the ideas I took back from NACA can be used to enhance the work Program Committee.

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4 Tips to Create Amazing Experiences: Austin Gouveia’s NACA National Experience

My education session was led by Steven Harowitz, the coordinator for student involvement and leadership at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.  In my Ed. Session, he talked about how creating an interactive experience could mean the difference between success or failure of a program.  In the session he introduced four tips that would help make each experience a good one.  His first tip was: “Be a Sherpa of emotion”, in other words, figure out what you want the people who are attending to feel and strive to meet that goal.  His second tip: “Use the five senses”, asks the programmer to harness and use each of the five sense (if possible) to create a more immersive experience.  His third tip was: “Give yourself enough time”, meaning plan far enough ahead that in case adjustments need to be made, it is not a rushed decision.  His final tip: “Love what you do”, which means that each programmer must enjoy the event they are creating to translate that into a quality, and enjoyable event.


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Becca Belleau’s NACA National Experience

NACA was such an amazing weekend. I had the privilege of attending two days of the conference, and I could not be more grateful. Meeting college students from across the country was incredible, and sharing ideas with them was a lot of fun. Everyone had something unique and fun to contribute to the group during the educational sessions. It was also comforting to be in a room filled with people who were not afraid to speak up, share their ideas, and be a part of something bigger. Each person there belonged to an organization that worked hard to put on enjoyable events for their campus, and I really took pleasure in being a part of that.

Day 1 Ed Session: “Walking the Tightrope”

This situation was super interesting because it actually tied in a lot with my public relations class. It focused on how to plan desirable, successful events. Using the “SMART technique” is a great way to ensure that. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Focusing on these aspects are important for the success of the event. Having the necessary resources, budget, and target audience are essential. They also mentioned “promoting” events rather than advertising for them. Thinking of one out-of-the box idea for each event is a great way to promote events. There are many cheap, easy ways to promote events.

Day 2 Ed Session: “Change the Lyrics to your Tradition”

Unfortunately, my “Positive Relations” ed session was cancelled, so I accompanied Bethany to the traditions ed session and to my surprise, ended up learning a few great things. Traditions like homecoming and springfest happen at BSU every year and I always look forward to them. However, it is tough to always keep people interested. There are several typed of traditions, ours usually being event based. This ed session really spoke to me because advertising is what truly keeps the traditions alive. Without advertising, nobody would show up to event-based traditions. The ed session focused on advertising through videos. They are a great source of recruitment too. YouTube videos can go viral with many views and can the word quickly.

Day 2 Ed Session: Removing the “Box”: Advertising Just Won’t Fit

This was my favorite ed session because it applied specifically to my position. I actually get really excited about marketing, and this session was super awesome! We discussed several different ideas for all types of schools with different budgets as well. We already use a lot of these ideas. I was able to share a lot of ideas with other schools as well. Social media is a huge part of marketing and can be really successful in promoting events and increasing attendance. There are certain times where social media is most popular and it is a great idea to post then. I learned how to spice up the posters a bit too. The most interesting thing I learned was to treat marketing in three mediums. Print, social media, and other ideas, all distributed  at different times keep the awareness of events up.

I could not be happier with my NACA experience. I met so many awesome people who were not afraid to share their ideas. The performances during the showcases were all great and a lot of fun to watch. The lecture series were all also very interesting. YAY NACA!

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NACA Nationals 2014 Educational Sessions

I was lucky enough to be picked to go to another NACA! This time is was NACA Nationals which was held in Boston this year. I was able to attend 2 educational sessions and I am ready to bring back so many good ideas for PC.

The First Educational Session I attended was The Unconventional Makeover:Programming with History, Aesthetics & Traditions

In this ed. session they went over how to plan unique or non-traditional events in locations such as mansions and older buildings on campus. While here at BSU we may not have mansions or any buildings that are like mansions the process that was talked about could still be applied to a future PC event. The process was called The 5 D’s. They include Define, Design, Details, Delegate and Disseminate. Define stands for picking a venue and what kind of event will happen in that location. Next is design, which involves coming up with a theme for your event but dealing with restrictions the venue might have. Details stand for actually planning the event and ordering food and such. Delegate stands for handing out tasks so that your whole programming committee can help out in the event. Cosponsoring can be a good idea to build traditions too. Lastly is, disseminate which stands for creating the advertisement and making the event known to the public. These steps we kind of already use in PC but if you had to plan an event in a unique space taking the 5 D’s into account would help the event run a lot smoother.

The Second Educational Session I attended was Transitioning Your Program Board

This ed. session was about how to successfully transition your E-Board. The top 3 points made were, To Find a process date to transition, find a way to pass down information and to share experiences.

A couple of ideas that came up about how to share experiences were

  • Create binders to pass down to others
  • Include letters in the binders
  • Flash drives with useful documents on them.
  • Position Shadowing

The position shadowing idea I thought could be very useful for PC. It involved having a general member or members shadow a current e-board member to see what the day to day tasks would include.

A question was asked at the session about how to get more members involved in your program board.

  • Keep Social Media up to date
  • Co-sponsoring is a good thing as it gets word out
  • Hand out tons of free stuff at the start of the new school year
  • Have bigger events at the start of the year to attract the new students

I feel like a lot of these ideas could be very useful for PC and I hope to implement some of them.

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Educational Session review by Nick Burns

Day 1 Ed. session #1: Marketplace Tour

In this Ed. session I was able to get a first hand look at what CAMP looked like and what vendors were in CAMP. At the start if this ed session they broke down what CAMP was, techniques on how to make it successful and I got a sneak peak before anyone else at the conference as to what was offered.

Day 2 Ed. session #2: Co-sponsorship coordination

There were a couple of ideas I learned from this ed session. One idea that was discussed was make sure all groups the you co-sponsor with sign an agreement that states what each group will be doing. Here at BSU we as a programming board do implement this. I know from first hand that this comes in very had especially when there are more than one organization involved. The idea of collaboration came up a lot as the more collaboration you do the more you are getting the word out about your event. Including everyone and giving them a task to make them feel like they were a part of something is key as well.

Day 2 Ed. session #3: Homegrown Events

This Ed. session was very unique as the presenter  did not show up. This one girl decided to start a group conversation and we were all engaged by sharing ideas of what events we did on our campuses. Unfortunately we could not use the room so we had to go out in the hallway and make our own session. This was the best session every as we sat in a circle and just went around and talked about our homegrown events we put on. I wrote down every single idea so that I could bring it back to PC and maybe use the ideas for our own programming.

Ed. session #4: Volunteer Management

During this Ed. session we talked about how our membership is very important. We talked of ways to motivate them like doing member of the month and even taking it to another level by posting it on social media. We also talked about a rewards system or points system to reward the membership for all the hard work they do. PC does this very well and I was able to contribute what we do and the prizes we offer.

Ed. session #5: Membership  recruitment and Retention Strategies 

This Ed. session was presented by Framingham state President and Vice President of their programming board. The president was our very own Jen Harveys sister Olivia. This session was soooo informative. I was able to take so many notes on how Framingham states program board handles their recruitment and retention strategies. To highlight the most successful I believe surveying the members would be an efficient way to hear what they have to say. One thing that their board did was the day of their Involvement Fair they had a welcoming event right after the fair that way they can show the new students what they do. Another retention strategy was E-board day, this is when general membership takes over for an eboard member for a day so they get the true feel what the eboard is like. Another event was “PC Loves you” in which free stuff like coffee, lunch items and other free food was given away. They also gave away free prizes. I hope that we can implement these and many more strategies for our Program Committee so our membership can grow like Framingham’s board did.

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