Posted March 30, 2015 by Mandi Bryson 

Getting to Know Dain J. Gotto

Between now and the 2015 annual conference in San Antonio, you will meet the Conference Program Team members.

dain j. gottoDain J. Gotto
Institution: Northern Illinois University
Institution location: DeKalb, Ill.
Position: Senior Associate Director, Student Involvement & Leadership Development
Communities of Practice: Campus Life & Program Management, Student Organization Advisors
Conference Program Team Responsibilities/Focus: Miscellaneous Educational Programs (e.g., audio-visual preconference, poster sessions, Tower Run)

What are you looking forward to most at the 2015 annual conference?
I’m really looking forward to introducing the city of San Antonio to attendees. The city provides a rich cultural experience and offers a connection to our nation’s history around every corner. Even better, San Antonio is packed with incredible restaurants—many of which are just a short stroll down the River Walk. Our goal with this conference is to incorporate many of the wonderful aspects of the city into our programs.

What advice would you give to first-time delegates?
My advice for first-time delegates is to attend as many aspects of the conference as you possibly can. You will get out of this conference what you put into it. We have many outstanding educational sessions, but I have learned even more by the relationships I have developed with other ACUI members. I was able to form these relationships by participating in some of the social activities of the conference, such as Battle of the Region competitions.

Why did you become involved in ACUI and the Conference Planning Team?
I became involved with the Conference Planning Team because ACUI has played a significant role in my growth as a student affairs professional. I also had a great team serving as a graduate intern for annual conferences in 2007 and 2008, so I wanted to relive my glory days.

When/where was your first annual conference?
My first annual conference was in Atlanta in 2007. I was serving as an ACUI graduate intern, and I had no idea what to expect for the conference. I was shocked about how friendly everyone in the Association was and amazed by the level of professionalism of the conference. I left this conference completely exhausted but smiling from ear to ear. I knew that I had found my family in ACUI.

What three things in your office could you not live without?

Tension Tamer tea, my Covey planner, and Pandora Internet Radio.

What has been your greatest adventure?

In 2010, I went on a back-country ski trip in Colorado with my brother. We had a grueling eight-mile ski up the side of the mountain to get to a hut with packs loaded with food and clothes. By the time we reached the top, we were exhausted but satisfied with our accomplishment. The next two days, we had a blast backcountry skiing and snowboarding. It was epic!

What was your major (or majors) in college?

Mandi Bryson

Mandi Bryson is the Associate Director for Events & Operations at College of Charleston.


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