Written by Jalen Smith

Roads- Smith_JalenThe entire structure of Student Affairs spans to touch every student on a university’s campus, whether they feel it or become that guiding hand. My desire to work within an administration—guiding those who I had once upon a time been before—grew stronger. A career in Student Affairs does not end at simply being a residence hall director. For me, my ultimate end career goal is to be a vice-provost or president for a university, but to do that I first need more experience.

When I heard about the Summer Conferences position, it seemed like the perfect way to get more experience. I spent the summer of 2014 as a conference assistant, which was essentially comparable to being an RA, except I was responsible for the entire campus during the summer months. I worked on a staff of 28. There were four student conference coordinators that supervised the 28 of us.

This year, I applied to be a conference coordinator and was selected. During the summer, the Walmart Shareholders is an event that attracts sponsors and individuals from all across the world, and I was one-of-four student coordinators whom were responsible for bringing them to Arkansas and handling any and all issues that arose during their stay, as well as coordinating and executing prep for these major conferences. Aside from Shareholders, there are a large variety of camps and conferences that stay on our campus, ranging from Summer Music Camp which attracts around 1,500 total individuals, or 4-H which is around 700, or even New Student Orientation which I was personally responsible for which was the equivalent of moving the entire freshman class of 2019 into our residence halls for one night, which took place during the entire month of June.

Being a summer conference coordinator has made me understand that the summer is just as intensive, if not more so, than the regular academic year. It is important that we are vigilant to all aspects of our university so that when the students return at the dawn of the new year, their campus is just as beautiful as it was when they left.