2020 NASPA Annual Conference

Archive Spotlight: #NASPA19 officially launches

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Pre-conference workshops offer the chance to engage on an in-depth level with others who share your passion

Our pre-conference workshops began on Saturday, featuring the Undergraduate Student Conference hosted by USC, which welcomed over 200 undergraduate students full of enthusiasm for taking the first steps of their student affairs careers.

Our International Symposium welcomed attendees from the global higher ed community, representing over 20 countries including China, Germany, Belgium, Qatar, Singapore, Hungary, and Egypt. As the student affairs profession continues to develop outside of the US, NASPA is proud to partner with and support our global colleagues in advancing their practice.

The Community Colleges Institute brings together our community of professionals who work tirelessly to support students at community colleges across the country. Dr. Mike Flores, chancellor of the Alamo Colleges District offered a compelling keynote highlighting the unique opportunities embedded within the challenges facing today’s community colleges.

As thousands of attendees filled Halls J and K for the #NASPA19 opening session, International Symposium attendees displayed their national pride in the March of Flags.

#NASPA19 Opening Session and Reception

The #NASPA19 opening session afforded the opportunity to reflect on the century of history behind the Association, and hear from our leaders about the aspirations for NASPA’s future and the road map to get us there.   

In NASPA tradition, the opening session began with a land acknowledgement. The Los Angeles area is the ancestral and current home of the Tongva Tribe, and we were honored to have Tribal Council member Julia Bogany join us to provide the framing to pay our respects to their people indigenous to this land. You can read more about the Tongva and Julie’s work as an educator at

Board Chair Penny Rue unveiled the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, entitled Fulfilling the Promise of Higher Education, and featuring four central goals to unify the work of the Association and frame our trajectory across the next five years. Following the reveal, Conference Chair Jason Pina thanked our volunteers for their countless hours and dedication over the past year-and-a-half to provide an engaging, invigorating, and extraordinary conference experience.

NASPA President Kevin Kruger then took the stage to reaffirm how, 100 years after the first gathering of our Association, our work is more critical and more complex than ever before, saying “Each of us can be a pivot point that keeps a student on their path to success. That is why our work mattered then. And why it still matters today.”

Finally, our opening keynote speaker Kal Penn regaled #NASPA19 attendees with his tale of winding through the worlds of entertainment and public service, including the story of landing his job at the White House through an embarrassing confession about uploading his resume to made to former first lady Michelle Obama. He also revealed, to the delight of all, his two years of work as an RA—for the free housing.

Once our opening session adjourned, the USC Marching Band led the way for attendees to travel to Microsoft Square for the opening reception, sponsored in part by Involvio. After patiently braving the security lines (thank you!), attendees experienced five neighborhoods of LA through themed cusine including ceviche, French dips, and tater tots. Attendees walked the NSLS Red Carpet for their paparazzi moment, and enjoyed entertainment provided by Ballet Folklorico and the Halisi Steppers.

It was an unforgettable start to what is sure to be an amazing conference! Check back for wrap up blogs for each day of #NASPA19.

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