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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Lessons Learned from Student Services Conference

Every year there is a series of National Conferences on Student Services (NCSS) and a number of students from UMB usually attend. This year the Student Senate planned to send twenty student leaders, a comparatively large number, for the conference here in Boston, November 17 – 20, at the Westin Copley Place Hotel. Attendees expressed satisfaction with the conference, but disappointment with UMass Boston’s participation.

Many thought that UMB would be in a special position to exploit the benefits of the conference because it was held in Boston. “I was glad it was here because it provided the opportunity for more people to go, but a lot didn’t take advantage of the opportunity,” Student Senator and conference attendee Joseph Panciotti commented.

Last year UMB sent ten student senators to Orlando, Fla., to attend the NCSS, and in 1999 many UMB students attended the event in Washington, D.C.

Fifteen students from UMass Boston were pre-registered for the conference, but only seven actually participated, though most of those seven students said that they thought the conference was a very worthwhile event. “I loved the conference; it was my third year,” said Skye Rhyddyd, an employee of both the Student Senate and The Mass Media.

Through both posters and the senate advertisement in The Mass Media on Oct. 25, the Student Senate announced that there were “20 spots for undergraduate students to attend the National Conference on Student Services.” The text of the announcement went on to explain, “If there are more than 20 interested students, we will randomly draw names on October 22.”

Though it didn’t specifically say in the announcements, most students assumed they would be notified if they were selected to attend. “I accept my share of responsibility for not contacting those who were selected,” Student Senate President Heather Dawood said. Dawood didn’t attend the conference herself. “I didn’t plan on going because I knew I wouldn’t have the time to go,” she explained.

“All but one of the students were contacted in one way or another,” Dawood said. Donna Neal, a Student Life employee said, “I was very surprised, as I contacted individual students to tell them their passes were here, that many said they hadn’t been informed they had been selected.”

“One student was angry and said that my call, two days before the event, was the first notice she had received,” Neal continued. Dawood said that the event cost $379 per student. Management at the conference said that UMB would be billed for all fifteen students that were pre-registered.

Cheryl Potter, who attended last year and is currently a member of the Student Arts and Events Council, said, “I was disappointed that only seven of the fifteen [that were registered] showed up, but I think that shows that those seven really wanted to learn. … The content was better presented this year, it seems like [the organizers] listened to our comments and made appropriate changes. … I had fun.”

Discussing whether she would consider trying to bring any of the speakers from the conference here to UMB, Potter stated, “Maybe the hypnotist, Tom DeLuca, he was cool. I’ll look into that.” Rhyddyd also commented on DeLuca’s performance: “I absolutely loved the hypnotist. I wished we could bring him to our campus.”

Dawood said that she had not yet been contacted about bringing any of the presenters here to campus. Joseph Panciotti said, “As chair of the SEOC [Student Events and Organization Committee] I’ll be suggesting some of the speakers to center coordinators. Panciotti mentioned that he was impressed by a number of workshops he attended, including: Leadership and Diversity, by Greer Dawson Wilson: Meeting Skills, by Michael DeRosa: and Managing Your Time More Effectively, by Dr. Peter Simonds.

“The value of attending is that I bring the information back and apply it, instead of just learning theory,” Panciotti added.

“Life by Design,” by Nancy Hunter Denney, “was awesome,” Rhyddyd said. “I got her book, it was great. She signed it, too.” Rhyddyd also mentioned KASHING IN On Your Future, presented by Joe Schlidt. “I go to see him every year because he’s great. He tells you how to sell yourself in the world. The little touches that people look for when you’re trying to get a job.”

Many of the events were scheduled very early in the morning, or late into the evening, and proved impractical for students commuting from their homes to attend. “It sucked because we weren’t staying there we missed out on many of the after-events and the time spent networking with other students,” Rhyddyd noted.

“Because of those things, next time it is here in Boston we should look at selecting less students but paying for them to stay at the hotel,” Dawood said.