The MACURH Regional Leadership Conference is just around the corner! In just a couple short months, student leaders from across the Midwest will convene on the University of Iowa campus for a weekend of leadership development and networking. With registration for the conference set to open in the next week, campuses will begin to organize delegations of students and advisors to attend the RLC.
Conferences are great opportunities for students to experience new and different forms of leadership, learn about programs and initiatives they can bring back to your campus, and celebrate the accomplishments of individuals across the region through bidding and awards. Attending a MACURH conference as an advisor is all about being a support to your student delegation, and traveling together can be a great bonding experience for your group. What follows are some helpful things that I’ve learned, which I hope can assist you with making the most out of advising conference delegations.
Tips for working with a conference delegation
Take time to prepare your delegation for the conference experience. First-time and experienced delegates alike can benefit greatly from some pre-conference orientation. Hold meetings with your delegation prior to the conference to discuss what will happen during the conference weekend, discuss spirit plans for the delegation, and develop the team. Putting in time before the conference will reduce stress going into the conference, and help everyone to have an enjoyable conference experience.
Involve students in conference preparations. There may be some conference prep work required of you as the advisor, but find ways to involve your students in the process as well. Members of your institution's Moo Crew (NCC, RHA president, and NRHH representative) likely have conference experience that can benefit newer members of the delegation. They can socialize new delegates to the MACURH and NACURH conference culture. Student leaders can further develop skills by coordinating logistics including travel and delegation finances.
Challenge students to invest in their conference experience. This will look different for each student depending on their own leadership competence and their history of conference involvement. First time delegates might find challenge in planning for your delegation's spirit items. Returning delegates might find challenge in submitting a conference program proposal. Moo Crew members might find challenge in spearheading an award bid to recognize an individual, organization, or program on your campus. The more students invest into their conference experience, the more they will
Take time to recognize student leaders. Conferences require a lot of preparation work from NCCs and other members of the delegation. From coordinating spirit items to writing and reviewing bids, students have the opportunity to represent your institution in a number of ways. Written notes for members of the delegation or goodie bags with snacks and spirit items are great ways to let students know their work is recognized. Some institutions even have traditions like delegation pins or a delegation toast with sparking juice prior to the conference banquet that help students connect to the other members of the delegation and show your encouragement for their leadership.
Capitalize on the learning that takes place. Check in with your delegation throughout the conference to see how things are going, what they're learning, and what they are enjoying. While traveling back to your campus after the conference, encourage delegates to share about the program sessions they attended. Following the conference, schedule a time for your delegation to come together to discuss what they learned and make a plan for sharing what they've learned with peers.
Want to learn more about what other advisors are doing to prepare their student delegations for the RLC? Join us at the first monthly Advisor Chat!