This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the Mid-Atlantic conference for the National Association of College Activities (NACA) with my fellow Student Union Board exec members. The conference was held in Buffalo, NY (I had never been there before) so I was really excited to road trip with other surrounding universities.
“NACA is the recognized leader in higher education providing knowledge, ideas and resources for campus life, providing our members with programs and events focusing on student and professional leadership development, program planning, concert management, diversity and more.”
I joined the exec board as a freshman last semester and was able to plan and execute some really cool events. However, I ever saw how the booking process actually works until I went to my first NACA last week. The conference spans from Thursday through Saturday with full days starting at 8 in the morning and ending at midnight, sometimes later.
I knew it was going to be an exhausting weekend, especially since I was the only one who had not been before, but I was excited to take the NACA plunge with my fellow exec board! And I am so incredibly glad I did.
While I was there I was able to meet student from other universities spanning from Pittsburg to Ohio to upstate New York. During our swag swap (shown left), our exec board was able to acquire different event and giveaway ideas. Also, through different educational sessions I was able to learn everything from innovative publicity to managing a concert to communication and team building.
I was also able to network with different middle agents and performers. During the days there are set times where you sit and watch different artists, magicians, comedians, lecturers, etc. perform in a showcase. Each act has only 15 minutes to impress the audience and hopefully get booked.
There is also the Campus Activities Marketplace (CAMP) where you are able to talk one-on-one with the performers and agents. This was definitely my favorite part of the entire weekend, because I was able to network on a professional level in an extremely fun way. When I first walked into the room, I felt like I was at a flea market, which was great for me, because I live for flea markets. In the picture to the right you can see the people in the background at CAMP, booths aligning both sides of the walkway. You can also see the free terrarium I was able to make (so cool!).
Another cool aspect of both CAMP and the showcases is that they really give you more ideas about what to bring back to your campus (we are bringing a lot of exciting things, get pumped!)
The last aspect of NACA is block booking, where all of the colleges and universities come together in the hopes of booking the same performer within a 5-7 day radius to save a ton of money. The room was packed with students, performers, and agents hoping to make deals. We were very fortunate that this was able to happen with some of the acts we booked!
I will definitely remember this experience for the rest of my life and I hope that I can continue to attend future NACAs. I truly learned so many things that can be carried with me throughout the rest of my college career, and, more importantly, life. It was so amazing to bond with the seven people above and I will keep continuing to cherish those four days.