This year was my first time attending a NACA Conference, and to be honest, I didn’t really know what it was before I got there. I have been a part of Student Activities Council since my freshman year and I have heard it being mentioned several times before, but it was never really explained in great detail. All I knew going into this experience is that you got to watch comedians and musicians and get lots of free stuff. NACA however, is so much more than that. This was a really amazing opportunity that I will never forget. It has made me a better person, and a better leader. I hope to apply what I learned at NACA to my position as Special Events Coordinator for Student Activities Council.
We woke up bright and early to make the five hour drive to Peoria, IL for the conference. I had never been to Peoria either so this was a lot of firsts for me. When we got to the convention, there were so many other schools already there. The kick off was first and people kept talking about a marketplace, Ed. Sessions, and so many other things that it was a little overwhelming. But I quickly got into the flow of things and it was so much fun! We didn’t waste any time getting right to the acts. We saw so many comedians and so many musicians just on the first day! I eventually found out that the market place is where you can meet the acts that performed that day as well as so many others. You can also meet different companies that offer novelties and other activities that you can bring back to your campus. You can even book events that very day. I have never seen so many SAC worthy activities all in one place! I wanted to bring everything back to our campus! Thankfully, we got to go the marketplace several times each day, since there was so much to see! After the first day, I didn’t really have any ideas yet about next semester, but I was definitely excited about what the next few days would be like! At the end of the conference, we found several really awesome events to bring to campus that we have never brought before, and we couldn’t wait to show the general members what we found.
My favorite part of NACA would have to be the Ed. Sessions on the second day. There were several different topics that we could choose from and Gene and I chose to go to ones about leadership and creating icebreakers. The ice breaker sessions were fun because we got to participate in several games and creative activities that I definitely want to incorporate into next semester’s meetings. The most influential sessions however, were the ones about leadership. I was so inspired during these sessions. We did several activities to figure out what kind of leaders we are, and how we can positively influence those around us. Gene and I even broke a wooden board with our bare hands! I can definitely take away a new found motivation from this experience that I want to bring to the new meetings next semester. I know starting off as Special Events Coordinator during the middle of the year is tough, but I want work hard to bring great events to school and to inspire those that attend our meetings to get more involved and let their voice be heard. I really want to be a good leader and these educational sessions gave me a lot of great tools that I can use. I am very thankful for everything I was able to learn.
During the conference, we also had an opportunity to meet with different schools to learn about what they do with their organizations. I never knew there were so many variations of SAC! There was Campus Activities Board, Student Activities Group, Student Activities Board, and so many more! This was a great opportunity because we got a lot of new and innovative ideas from all of the different groups about how they run their organizations and what works and what doesn’t work for them. Everyone was so friendly and so helpful. It was really encouraging to see so many people from so many different schools be so excited about campus activities. It is hard to put into words everything that I have learned, but I can guarantee that next semester will be the next semester ever!
After starting NACA with a very vague idea of what it was, I left with new knowledge about myself as well as our own Student Activities Council. It was the craziest, most fun convention I had ever been too, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I got hypnotized, held a snake, got my face painted, and met a lot of really cool people in just a few days. I also got to know our own SAC members a lot better. We all bonded during the conference, and made lasting friendships that are very important to me. I am really thankful for getting to know everyone and being able to spend so much time with them. It is an exhausting couple of days but I would recommend NACA to anyone who is in Student Activities Council or is just curious to see what it is all about. I am so excited for next year for a new delegation to get to go; you won’t regret it! I feel like the possibilities are endless after the energy and spirit we saw at the conference, and I can wait to bring that same energy back to campus. Thank you NACA!
Written by Pamela Avila