I can’t believe this is my last post! I feel like just yesterday we started meeting, and most of us were trying to navigate our way through the world of blogging.
As for a summary of the experience, it’s so hard to articulate what NACA really is. On the concrete level, I can say this. Basically, you wake up fairly early in attempts to get ready and beat the line for Starbucks. You eat breakfast in the lounge area and get to socialize with students from other schools. There was one morning where we talked to a kid from Bryant about his Excellence in Programming presentation. Then you go to ed sessions and get to learn about some pretty fascinating topics. Basically, there’s an ed session for anything related to programming that you want to know about. Then there’s lunch, which may be a bag lunch provided or you may be on your own. The afternoon and evening consist of Spotlights and CAMPs (aka marketplaces). Spotlights are when you sit and watch a bunch of different performers do a 15 minute performance. It allows you to see a sampling of their work, so that way you know if it might be someone who you want to bring to your school. CAMPs are like this big fair/festival type thing. You basically can just walk around and explore on your own. The performers each have a booth, so you can go and meet them, take photos, get information and availability, etc. Then, different novelty item vendors each have booths. You can go to these booths to make the different items they have to offer, which can include: signs, splatter paint just about everything (sunglasses, hats, etc), teddy bears, wicked awesome balloon animals, ice cream, air fresheners, luck bamboo plants, messages in a bottle, etc. There also vendors that can supply different clubs with promotional items, like our PC pens and post-its. Other vendors are like “party” or “entertainment” vendors, so they may have like photo booths, giant snow globes, or mustaches (Koo Koo Kangaroo! :)) As for dinner, there is a Welcome Dinner and Closing Dinner, and the other night you are on your own. The days are very long, usually the programs run until midnight or later, but it is well worth it. You gain so many new ideas whether it be from ed sessions, CAMP, spotlights, or from other students at other schools. Oh and did I fail to mention school swap?! School Swap is where you design a booth that incorporates both your school’s mascot and the conference theme. You decorate it early in the evening. Then judges go around the room and rate in on creative, school spirit, representation of theme, etc., and awards are given out at the Closing Dinner. Along with the decorations, you also bring t-shirts, promotional items, sweatshirts, bags, etc. that you want to trade for other schools’ stuff. Then at like 11 p.m. everyone is allowed back in the school swap room. Chaos ensues. People are running around. Mascots are high-fiving you. You do your best to beg and barter to get the best items. After the mayhem is done, and back at school, you sort through it all in attempts to gain new ideas for events, promotional items, advertising, and t-shirts.
As for the more abstract side of NACA, the intangible side, it is virtually impossible to describe. You get to bond as a group, getting to know people from other organizations, like the RHA and SGA peeps. You get to talk about items that you may have for your group. You can get some great advice (thank you Kelly and Meg Olbrys) on your own personal plans within your club, as a leader, and as a student. You get to meet students from other schools to gain insight on different aspects of programming. You get a ton of free stuff. You are entertained continually all week by the different performers. By the end you are completely exhausted and can’t stop laughing about random stuff. It is an awesome week and a super experience. It is well worth going to!
I just want to thank PC (Matt and Jenn) for allowing me to go to NACA. It was an awesome opportunity, and I hope I can bring a lot back here to BSU. I want to thank all the BSU peeps that went to NACA for helping make my experience phenomenal. I had such a great time with everyone!
See you all on the 18th!