Posted July 25, 2013 by Kaitlyn Dyleski 

Country Roads, Take Me Home ... to ACUI

When my supervisor encouraged me to attend IPDS: New Professionals Orientation, I couldn't have been more excited. I had learned about IPDS in graduate school and had been told that it was a great experience and to go if given the opportunity to attend. Eagerly, I planned, packed, and went on my way to Indiana.

I was particularly excited for the chance to do some community service on the first day of the seminar (I even caught an earlier flight for it). The ACUI staff shared with us that we were a sort of "kick off" to the 100-hours service pledge that ACUI will be asking its members to participate in for ACUI’s 100th anniversary. As a student affairs professional, I think it is important to practice what we preach to our IPDSGroup13students, and this time that meant sorting beans at a local food pantry for people in need. The experience was uplifting: to see the good work that Food Finders Food Bank is doing for the state of Indiana was wonderful. The service project was also an excellent opportunity for me to get to know some of the other IPDS participants before diving into the week.

Monday evening we jumped right into the role of the college union in none other than Purdue Memorial Union and made it come alive through our shaky, yet energetic video skills. Tuesday morning we hit the ground running with some excellent sessions regarding the role of the college union and outcomes-based assessment. Since each participant had a different knowledge base, these sessions provided a solid background for the work that we each do.

Throughout the week, sessions on motivating students and the ins and outs of marketing provided me and the rest of my cohort with practical explanations and useful tools. One of my favorite tips came from Debra Dunbar, Indiana University: “Without setting expectations, you spend your time hoping, they spend their time guessing.” As a newer supervisor, this provided some perspective about leading and motivating students in their roles in the college union.

As the week progressed, we were able to learn not only from the educational sessions, but also from each other. We had two opportunities for flash sharing, which allowed everyone to share a new initiative that was happening on their campus. Through this sharing, we were all able to gather new ideas, feedback, and tips and tricks to bring back to our campuses.

On the last day, only a small group of us remained as we piled into the vans to make our way to Indianapolis. As a final added bonus, we  toured the beautiful IUPUI Campus Center. The building was equipped with great technology, lounge areas, and multipurpose spaces. One thing that stood out most to me was the massive amount of natural light that came through what can only be described as a wall of windows.

The most amazing thing from the week was the incredible bond that we had as a cohort. In what was really only four short days, I created both professional connections and friendships. We commiserated about assessment tools and bonded over a love of hockey (the Stanley Cup Finals were that week). The group did nearly everything together: meals off campus, shopping for Purdue gear, and trivia night in town. We embraced the fact that regardless of what region we came from or what type of school we worked at, we all had the same joys and struggles and that we all immensely enjoyed the work that we do.

A big thank you to the ACUI staff, Purdue Memorial Union staff, and the IUPUI Campus Center staff for providing a memorable experience that will follow me throughout my career.

Kaitlyn Dyleski

Kaitlyn Dyleski is the Assistant Director for Operations at Bridgewater State University.


I'm so glad that you enjoyed the experience and were able to make some great connections!
Comment posted 07/26/2013 10:28 AM
The BEST professional development experience I have ever had! The Class of 2012 is SO glad the class of 2013 had the same experience!!!
Mandi Bryson
Comment posted 07/29/2013 9:07 AM
Note: To post a comment to The Commons, you must login to the ACUI website.
about the commons
The Commons is the online hub to discover new ideas and learn what is going on in the college union and student activities profession.
more ...
about the contributors

Meet the ACUI members who have volunteered to share their knowledge and insights as regular authors in The Commons.

more ...