Posted June 24, 2013 by Benjamin Williams 

It's Easy to be Involved with ACUI as a Student

When I get the chance to talk to undergraduate students about higher education and student affairs as a career path, I nerd out. I love reading theory, talking about practices, promoting organizations, and telling them how they can be a force of change through this career choice. In that context, I like to think of myself as a product of ACUI’s programs as a future professional and as a current graduate student. I don’t think I would be where I am without this important piece of my experience. ACUI also makes students feel engaged, involved, and supported through their work. All organizations that provide space for should be commended, yet I think the steps taken to go above and beyond by ACUI can provide a great framework for organizations to bolster student involvement.

ACUI provides free memberships to students, has scholarships and grants to support research, has involvement opportunities at all levels of the organization for students, and has one of the premier leadership development programs. The members of the Central Office staff and all of the teams within ACUI are accessible. You are part of the family, you are an advocate for the work of the unions, and most importantly, you have a voice within the Association. My experience with the Region 6 Leadership Team has given me a wealth of knowledge to apply to professional and personal endeavors alike, and my new opportunity to serve as a member of the Education and Research Fund will be a new and exciting piece of my story.

So in summation, ACUI is great, and as a student, you have no reason to not become involved and take opportunities to bolster your resume, network with an amazing group of professionals, and be a part of something larger than what you could imagine. Below I have some points to start navigating the process and to get involved.

  • Apply to serve on a Regional Leadership Team – All ACUI regions have opportunities for student involvement
  • Participate in the regional and annual conferences – You can apply for regional scholarships to attend and expand your horizons
  • Engage with individuals on social media – I have gotten some pretty inspiring stuff from the ACUI executive director via Twitter (@mhbxd)
  • Reach out to current student leaders within the Association if you need guidance
  • Give to ACUI – Students can support the work of ACUI through gifts to the Education and Research Fund

And as a final note, please do not be discouraged if an opportunity doesn’t work out. I applied for the past two years to be the student member of the Board of Trustees, and it didn’t work out. But there are dozens of ways to be involved. The most important thing while starting the process is to remember that "no" doesn’t mean "never," it just may be that it's not the right time.

Benjamin Williams

Benjamin Williams is the Associate Program Director, Student Center at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Ben manages a facility inside the Student Center; advises the Homecoming, Ramblin Nights, and Music committees for the Student Center Programs Council; and supervises six student staff in Under the Couch, a music listening space where students can perform, record music, or just study. He holds a bachelor’s in sociology from Georgia State University and a master’s from Miami University. His ACUI involvement includes serving on Regional Leadership Teams, the Education and Research Fund Program Team, and currently as one of the program leads for I-LEAD®.

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