Clare here – thought I would share with you some of my thoughts from my time at the NASPA Annual Conference in New Orleans. I had the amazing privilege to rep Oregon State, CUFBA, and the Socioeconomic and Class Issues in Higher Education KC in a number of ways. There were over 7,800 people at the conference, and a good number of CUFBA schools. It was fun to connect, teach, learn, and dream about ways to support students.
The most impactful experience to me and to what CUFBA is and means was the pre-conference workshop I was able to run with colleague Sara Goldrick-Rab from the University of Wisconsin. We had 25 participants, and a few of them were folks we’ve had the privilege of working with through CUFBA. Our conversations ranged from the reason financial aid is no longer supporting students and families, to how we create programs to support homeless students, to the nuts and bolts of creating a campus pantry program. All of the conversations were trained on answering shared question: how do we support students experiencing economic crisis, poverty, and other socioeconomic challenges in their persistence toward a degree.
A couple of things came up for me while I was in the NASPA space that I thought I would share:
1) I have been thinking a lot about #CUFBACreates and IT IS TIME. Who wants to work with me in developing open-source digital tools that support campuses in starting pantries?
2) Pantries are just the start. We need to think about what is next after we get them going. Yes, this is a lot to ask in many cases. That said, we need to work to shape the campus environments where our students study. We need to think about their access to other services and resources. We need to consider policies that alleviate rather than create barriers for students. I am a West Wing nerd, and I will end this point with the Jed Bartlet quote, “what’s next?”
3) We have SO MANY ALLIES. VP’s, Presidents, Human Services Agencies, Nonprofits, Staff, Faculty, Students…I met people from all of these categories and more who were excited about what we are doing, and want to get involved. Let’s harness this energy and move forward together.
I should share with you all that I am about to make a significant transition from Oregon State to work at Single Stop USA to work with their National College Programs. I am hoping to carve out some more time in the future for CUFBA endeavors, and I am hoping we can loop in some more members with our leadership. Please let me know if you have interest in being involved. If you are wondering what “involvement” may look like, I will be posting something about that soon.
All the best,
Originally published by Clare Cady March 31, 2015