NASPA 2015 | New Orleans | March 21-25

How to Get the Most Out of NASPA

Posted on 3 March 2015 |

15 Ways to Get the Most Out of NASPA 2015

Before the Conference

1. Have a Purpose – You’re headed to New Orleans to gain insights, tools, connections, and knowledge about Student Affairs. Tailor all of your goals to your personal reason for attending NASPA and you’re guaranteed to get the most out of the conference. Set a few measurable goals for yourself – whether that’s having a one-on-one conversation with thought leaders on Title IX, meeting 5 similar professionals from neighboring universities, or participating in a mentorship session.


2. Download the App – NASPA has a great free app for iPhone/Android that allows you to keep track of all the events and contacts you make at the conference. You can connect your LinkedIn account and create virtual business cards to network digitally. Download information here.


3. Pre-Schedule Your Sessions – There are over 500 sessions throughout the conference. (Full list here.) They’re located in different buildings across the convention center and neighboring hotels. Narrow it down by choosing a few topics or speakers that are at the top of your list. Once you’ve determined the can’t-miss sessions, create a personalized schedule here (or in the NASPA mobile app).


4. Pack Well – It may sound obvious, but you’ll need weather/event appropriate clothing, comfortable shoes, an extra cell phone charger, and something to wear for your professional headshot! It’s also a great idea to pack an empty duffel bag so you have extra space to take home conference goodies and shopping items from the French Quarter Market.


5. Map It – Get oriented before you arrive. Build out your walking plan with the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center at the heart of your map. The French Quarter is 78 square blocks of history, restaurants, bars, voodoo shops, jazz halls, and hotels. You can create a Custom Map to navigate it all using Google Maps - directions here.


6. Get Organized – Use a note-taking app like Evernote to save all of your receipt, pdfs, registrations, confirmations, airline tickets, list of tourist to-dos, scanned business cards, and more. *Bonus: With Evernote, you can search text within pdfs. Get a walk-through of Evernote for travel here.

During the Conference

7. Attend the Keynote and Opening Reception – The Keynote and Opening Reception are a great way to kick-off the conference and start your networking. It will give you a sense of this year’s theme and access to fantastic speakers. If you’re looking for the top events to attend, check out NASPA's Schedule-at-a-Glance.


8. Socially Engage – You can’t be everywhere at once, but you can follow all the action. Join the 2015 NASPA Instagram Scavenger Hunt or tag yourself with #NASPA15. Be sure to check out our recommended 4 Organizations to Connect with at NASPA.


9. Reach out to Mentors – Seek out the speakers and leaders that inspire you. This is your chance to connect with them and learn from them – go for it! Check out this article on the importance of mentors to Student Affairs professionals.


10. Be a Tourist – Enjoy New Orleans! Make sure you step out of the conference mayhem and explore the city. Build a quick to-do list based on your interests. Remember to note addresses – that way you can squeeze in an extra beignet between sessions. There are great resources for fun things to do in New Orleans here.


11. Volunteer Your Time – NASPA offers several outreach programs that you can be a part of while attending the conference. It’s a great way to give back to the community and work alongside fellow Student Affairs professionals. There are several community service projects who still have space left – reserve your space here.


12. Get a Professional Headshot – Don’t miss the “The Headshot Lounge™” It’s “an executive photo portrait-taking experience where conference attendees can get expertly photographed by one of the best portrait photographers in the country! Photos are complimentary to conference registrants and photo sessions are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once photographed, you will receive an immediate email that links you to your professional photo. The lounge will be available during Exhibit Hall hours on both Monday and Tuesday.”


13. Take Breaks, Hydrate, & Have a Snack Strategy –  The conference is a marathon. Take advantage of coffee and snack breaks throughout the day so you can stay engaged in all of your sessions. NASPA is even providing an ice-cream break in the exhibit hall, so be sure to stop by. 


14. Speak Up: Join a Bystander Intervention Campaign – You don't have to leave the exhibit hall to join an ongoing awareness campaign centered around bystander intervention - just visit booth #223. "Allies in Action" will have a photobooth where you can share your message on tumblr. Check out the campaign now.


15. Stay Fit – Everyday from 6:30-7:30am there is a Student Affairs Wellness Class and a Fitness Run/Walk. Be sure to bring your running shoes, a towel, and a water bottle.

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