SAAB Board to help host student conference

Ryan Gilliland

Each semester, the Student Alumni Association Board attends a national conference to learn about ways to better reach students. This year though, the group will undertake a new challenge as they help host the conference.

The Association of Student Advancement Programs (ASAP) district conference is held each year, with most of the major schools and universities in the area attending. Its purpose is to gather together schools with a student alumni association or similar board that promotes their universities in unique ways. The schools give presentations, and spend the week passing around ideas to implement on their own respective campuses. This year’s conference will be held in St. Louis, Mo., and is the first time that the event will be sponsored by more than one school.

After participating in the bidding process to host the conference, Washburn was picked to handle the registration and develop the informational packets that the schools will receive. The other schools involved along with Washburn are Kansas State University, University of Missouri, North Dakota State University and Denver University.

“This is a big honor for us to be chosen” said SAAB President Molly Shea. “It will be a lot of work, but it’s really exciting to be chosen this year.”

The conference will be quite a bit of work, and after receiving funding last week from the Washburn Student Government Association, the group plans on sending 15 people to St. Louis to help register schools and attend the conference.

Their time at the conference won’t be all work though. SAAB has been attending the conference each year and learns unique ways to help Washburn promote itself, and connect with the school’s alumni and students.

Two years ago, after heading to North Dakota, the group came back with an idea that eventually turned into “The Washburn Traditions Skit” which is performed each year at convocation. The ritual is one of the group’s most recognizable activities, and has been the centerpiece of their effort to foster school spirit by recognizing Washburn’s past. The “rally rags” sold at athletic events are another idea SAAB learned at one of the ASAP conferences.”It’s a really good way for us to look at what other schools may be doing and feed off of that,” said the group’s faculty mentor Robin Kruschinska. “Some of the schools have really good ideas, and although some of them don’t work for Washburn, a lot of them are really good.”

The conference will be held Jan.19-22, which means schools will begin registering soon, and the work will continue mostly though break. After registering all the guests and traveling to St. Louis to make sure everything runs smoothly Washburn will be in charge of taking pictures to document the conference for the ASAP Web site.

Despite all of the work, Shea is confident that the time and effort spent attending the event each year is worth it.

“I think it’s going to be a really good thing for Washburn,” said Shea. “It helps us get our name out there, and we learn some things that really help us throughout the year. It will all definitely be worth it.”