2019 NASPA Annual Conference

#NASPA18 Day Two Wrap Up Blog: Inclusion meets Innovation


Day Two of the 100th NASPA Annual Conference saw continued centering of our guiding principles in the learning and conversations. The theme of providing space for perspectives different than one’s own was driven home by the inspiring words of our featured speaker U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who spoke about how compromise shouldn't get such a bad rap. The Justice considers it a powerful vehicle for change.

Justice Sotomayor demonstrated the expected poise and grace in her address, and also the unexpected talent of being able to navigate throughout the hall as she shared tales and wisdom, all while offering her hand in greeting to scores of attendees. One attendee characterized the reverence felt by the thousands that hushed to hear the Justice’s humble and authentic words in this tweet:

One of the most powerful statements made by the Justice was in regards to how she moved past the dissenting opinions of her appointment to the Supreme Court, especially those based solely on her identity as a Latina woman, saying: “Don’t measure me by how the door opens for me. Measure me for what I do after I cross the threshold.” #NASPA18 was deeply honored by the moving and intimate time we were able to spend with Justice Sotomayor.

Innovation and Inquiry united in the fascinating presentation of afternoon featured speaker, Dr. Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist and leading authority on how social networking technologies are shaping our society. Dr. Ito remarked “...the only constant in students and young people’s lives is extreme variability. Unless learning is connected to authentic communities of interests, young people have lots of ways to route around. Our challenge is to find ways to engage creatively.”

In shining light on the social capital realities within higher education, Dr. Ito reiterated that there are access challenges even within the much more accessible realm of online learning, pointing out that students with supportive backgrounds continue to thrive as the gap continues to widen between their achievement and that of their counterpoints with less resources and opportunities.

Critical dialogues and data-driven examinations of the most current issues facing our field continued throughout Day Two, with highlights including the short-form and always-invigorating first round of SA Speaks sessions, extended learning sessions, dynamic offerings in our Innovation Station, and featured education sessions focused on NASPA’s centennial, including a panel conversation with two former executive directors of NASPA, Gwen Dungy and Liz Nuss, and current NASPA President Kevin Kruger, who took attendees on a journey through the over three decades of evolution the Association has experienced under their leadership.

Day Two of #NASPA18 was just getting started as educational sessions wound to close, signaling the start of a jam-packed evening of award ceremonies, receptions, and other opportunities for attendees to gather, celebrate, engage, and honor.

One of the most important things we do at every NASPA Annual Conference is honor the NASPA Foundation’s newest class of Pillars of the Profession, an esteemed designation for leaders who have had an undeniable impact on our association, the institutions they have served, and the field of student affairs. Learn more about the 2018 Pillars of the Profession in the three-part spotlight series on the NASPA Blog and please consider making a donation in honor of a Pillar that has inspired you. 

The NUFP Friends and Family reception was treated to a rousing address from the first N/MUFP alum to become a vice president for student affairs, and now the first to assume an institutional presidency, Dr. Richard Carvajal, President of Valdosta State University, challenging the generations of gathered alums of the program, as well as current fellows, saying: “I look forward to seeing who in this room is next.”

As #NASPA18 attendees said goodnight to the city of Philadelphia and Day Two, thoughts turned to absorbing and internalizing all the day had offered, and to what the rest of the conference would bring. And perhaps also to plotting how to find the perfect Philly cheesesteak before it’s all said and done.

Check back tomorrow as we recap the happenings of Day Three at #NASPA18, including featured speaker Dr. Michael Lomax, the continuation of SA Speaks, colleagues-turned-rock stars at the NASPA Lip Sync Battle and so much more!  

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