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Opportunity Knocks: Will You Open the Door?

Supporting the Profession Small Colleges and Universities Division
February 11, 2019 Dr. Brent Marsh University of Mississippi Main Campus

A witty English professor at Columbia University once quipped, “Opportunity knocks, but doesn't always answer to its name.” Volunteer opportunities can be that way, whether at our institutions, in our communities, or within our professional associations. Sometimes we simply need to open the proverbial door because a great opportunity--even if a bit unfamiliar--might be knocking. I have said “yes” to several opportunities in my community and within NASPA, and each one has proven to be a beneficial professional experience. Within NASPA, I’ve found that subsequent doors of opportunity can open if I do a few simple things. 

Here’s my advice, and while it may seem simple, the real trick lies in its application: 

·      Say “Yes.”Be sure you can truly commit, but you might not know your capacity until you stretch your limits a bit. 

·      Show up. Attend the meetings, conference calls, etc., being sure to actively participate. 

·      Take initiative. If there are opportunities to join a subcommittee, coordinate an initiative, make some phone calls, or create a survey, volunteer to do so. However, the next step is critically important! 

·      Follow through. Don’t drop the ball, because it might limit the extent to which more doors will open for you. When you take initiative and then follow through, folks will notice and remember. Alas, the converse is also true. 

That’s it! Simple, right? If you follow these steps, I can almost guarantee that future doors will open, and I am certain that you will learn something interesting, network with great people, and build upon your experience set. 

Here’s the great news: Opportunities to get involved in our awesome professional association abound! The 2019 NASPA Annual Conferencein Los Angeles is right around the corner, and there are myriad ways to get involved while attending this great event, including mentoring opportunitiesand checking the Volunteer boxes when you registerfor the conference. If you are unable to attend, fear not! You can search Volunteer Centralfor service opportunities, update your NASPA Profile to be sure you are receiving updates from the Divisions and Knowledge Communities you’re interested in, and of course read those weekly NASPA e-mails and occasional messages that might be sent by your Region. If you take a few minutes to scan these resources for opportunities to serve, you’ll find there are numerous ways to get involved. 

The Small Colleges and Universities (SCU) Divisioninvites you to get involved with us at the NASPA Conference. We’ll be compiling an SCU Division conference guide later this month, but for now you might wish to take note of the following events. Who knows, you might forge connections that lead to open doors of opportunity!

Building Resiliency in Professionals with Marginalized Identities at Small, Private Liberal Arts Colleges

Tuesday, March 12, 8:00 a.m. – 8:50 a.m., LA Convention Center, 405 (View)

Other Duties as Assigned: Collaboratively Implementing a Comprehensive Prevention Program at a Small College or University

Tuesday, March 12, 2:30 p.m. – 3:20 p.m., LA Convention Center, 409 B (View)

Navigating Organizational Politics for the Mid-Level Professional

Tuesday, March 12, 3:40 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., LA Convention Center, 406 B (View)

Institutional Type VPSA Roundtable: Small Colleges and Universities (fewer than 5,000 students) Monday, March 11, 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m., Diamond 2 - JW Marriott LA Live (View)

NASPA Small Colleges and Universities Division Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday, March 12, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Platinum B - JW Marriott LA Live (View)

Brent A. Marsh, Ph.D., serves as Vice President for Student Affairs at Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma. Brent is completing his terms as the Region IV-West Coordinator of Regional Finances, and a joint appointment as the Public Policy Liaison to the SCU Division Advisory Group and the Public Policy Division Leadership Team. Marsh will serve as Director of the Public Policy Division beginning in March 2019. Formerly, Brent served as the Student-Athlete Knowledge Community (SAKC) representative from Region IV-West before chairing the SAKC from 2015 through 2017.