I love ACUI. I do, truly. The Association of College Unions International is the organization that completely changed my life. And I don’t say that to be hyperbolic or dramatic; I say it because it truly altered my life path in 2008. It is a major reason why I do what I do. A little over a week ago I returned from ACUI’s 100th Anniversary Celebration and I can honestly say I returned home with my heart over-flowing with hope, inspiration, and a feeling of whole-ness.
As a new professional, this organization has been overwhelmingly welcoming. I have been privileged to be selected for two conference planning teams for my region and to have now attended two international conferences. The amount of support and resources that this organization has provided me with has made all of the difference in my career development. The colleagues I have met and the friends I have made through ACUI are amazing. These people inspire to be a better professional and most importantly, a better person.
As I listened to keynote speakers and the “giants” of our past, I sat in awe of all that we have done and all that we can do. Staring at the stage of past presidents of the organization during the closing banquet, I was forced to envision who will someday fill those chairs. Will it be my colleagues from IPDS that I met last summer? Will it be my fellow Region VIII members? Will it be me? And as I listened to Kim Harrington-Pete tell us “what you do matters” I got chills and my eyes got teary (typical for an ACUI conference). Then I looked around my table and around the room, and I counted my blessings that I am in a field with professionals who love what they do and love this organization as much as I do.
I could write pages about the amazing ed sessions I went to, the camaraderie that I felt during the Battle of the Regions, and the historical beauty that was documented in the ACUI museum. But more importantly than all of that were the conversations in the hallway, the introductions over desserts, the stories shared and the laughs conjured. It was statements such as “we stand on the shoulders of giants,” and “to see people not as they are, but as they could become,” and “students keep you honest.” These are the little nuggets that truly touched my heart; my twitter feed is full of them.
The future is yet to be seen, but I am confident that ACUI will continue to play a large role in my life. I hope that we can make those giants proud.