As it turns out, Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow this Groundhog Day – so clearly, we’re all in for an early spring. Let us ditch the coats and break out the Ray-Bans, because balmy days are on the way!! Yeah right… no offense to Phil, but I dare say that ol’ Phil might be ill-informed. Or at least that was the sentiment going through my head as I stood outside today (freezing in my bathrobe) supervising my dog Macie, gingerly taking care of her “morning constitutional” in foot-and-a-half-deep snow and single-digit temperatures. Needless to say, I am ready for spring – bring it on!
Ushering in spring also means that RMASFAA activities begin to ramp up with enthusiasm! Your 2015-16 Board of Directors have been busy since October to prepare for another fantastic year in our regional association. Some of the highlights include:
- The RMASFAA Exchange Blog! Kudos to Association News Committee Chair Becca Dobry for her continued work to produce quality blog content week in and week out. Her team has worked to enhance the blogging schedule to provide a combination of fun, educational, and informative information. Association News is also exploring ways to more seamlessly integrate the blog with Facebook and other social media platforms.
- The 2016 Corporate Support Form is now available! Many thanks to Corporate Support Committee Chair Jennifer Almli for re-vamping the form to reflect RMASFAA’s newly-adopted support structure and having everything ready right after the new year.
- Membership Chair Susan Stephenson and her team have launched the 2016 membership drive. If you haven’t already done so, please renew your institutional membership today! Doing so ensures your continued access to RMASFAA resources, news, the best rates for Summer Institute and the Annual Conference, and allows your institution to participate in the upcoming election.
- Speaking of the election, President-Elect and Nominations and Elections Committee Chair Vicki Kucera will soon be placing a call out for candidate nominations to run for regional office! Be on the lookout for that notice and consider throwing your name into the hat for the position of President-Elect, Vice President, Secretary, or Associate Member Delegate for 2016-17.
- Summer Institute Committee Chair Cristi Millard will be hosting a weekend planning meeting for her committee and faculty on February 6th and 7th in Denver. Summer Institute will be held on the beautiful Colorado School of Mines campus June 12th – 17th. RMASFAA facilitates the BEST summer institute program in the nation – and once again, we have a top-flight group of colleagues working hard to plan another stellar training opportunity for new and seasoned aid professionals. Look for more information to come from the Committee later this spring.
- Association Governance, led by Past-President Art Young has held three highly-productive meetings since October. That group has been charged with moving key elements of RMASFAA’s new Strategic Long Range Plan forward and making recommendations to the Board on a host of topics ranging from association revenue, officer roles, responsibilities, and tenure, and procedural changes designed increase Board effectiveness and broaden service to the membership.
- Annual Conference Co-Chairs Carolyn Halgerson and Laura Schultz have already held a successful in-person planning meeting with their committee and efforts are already in full-swing for our fall gathering in beautiful Rapid City, South Dakota this October 23rd – 26th. The Black Hills are a gorgeous spot for our annual conference and will be a terrific backdrop for what’s guaranteed to be an very educational and entertaining professional development opportunity!
- President-Elect Vicki Kucera will be attending NASFAA’s Annual Leadership & Legislative Conference February 22-24th in Washington D.C. Along with the other five regional presidents-elect, she will also attend a Board Orientation meeting at NASFAA Headquarters to prepare for stepping onto the national board this summer as the new regional observer. Past-President Art Young and I will also be in D.C. that week to attend the NASFAA Winter Board of Directors meeting.
In other news, the Broncos are in the Super Bowl once again!! I imagine that the big game with the Carolina Panthers will be over and done with by the time you read this blog, but SASFAA (Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) President Amy Berrier and I have a friendly little wager going based on who takes away the Vince Lombardi trophy – the President whose region’s team loses on Sunday will cut a personal check for $50 to the winner’s conference philanthropy project. Those of you who know Amy are likely aware that she BLEEDS Carolina Panther blue (and has a particularly stubborn self-assurance that her team is going to win), but I’m really looking forward to collecting some cash from her after a nice Rocky Mountain smack-down this weekend… 🙂
Our regional association is in a very good place right now, due entirely to our engaged membership, wonderful volunteers, and our shared commitment to developing exceptional student aid professionals who are well-equipped to advocate for the students we serve. Thank You for your ongoing support of RMASFAA!
With every good wish,
-Joe Donlay, RMASFAA President