Association News

2017 Candidates for the ACUI Board of Trustees Election
November 7, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, IND. — Individuals in good standing at member institutions are eligible to be nominated and submit applications to be on the ballot for the ACUI Board of Trustees election. The candidates who receive the most votes for their respective offices will be installed as such in 2017.

All who have applied to serve the Association as members of the Board of Trustees completed a full profile with their backgrounds, relevant experiences, and responses to the following questions:

  • What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association within the next three to five years and how should the Association effectively respond?
  • Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

Candidates were then asked to summarize their key points into a single statement of candidacy to be used in print publication. Below are these responses, which have been printed as submitted.


There are two candidates for the one president-elect position, which carries a three-year commitment.


Mike ColemanMike Coleman
Tallahassee Community College

As we look forward our Association must focus on the following strategic issues: membership structure and the culture of the Association and continuing to grow fiscally as an Association.

Membership Structure and Culture
As an Association we must look at our membership structure and culture to enhance our ability to identify and respond to new opportunities and partnerships in an effective manner while also maintaining our core values as an Association. We can enhance this area by:

  • Guiding decision makers at all levels of the Association with relevant data and research which promote informed decision-making and contribute to the body of knowledge within our field.
  • Examining the possibility of extending memberships for campus international centers and multicultural centers to assist with the growth and diversity of ACUI.
  • Actively engaging potential member institutions and listening to why non-member institutions have not joined.
  • Building a stronger brand and reputation that and enhances the stature of ACUI in higher education.

Enhancing the Fiscal Stability of the Association
ACUI has done a fantastic job being resourceful and innovative with tough budget constraints. We must continue to operate efficiently as an Association and provide our members the resources that continue to promote growth. We can accomplish this by:

  • Expanding our existing corporate partnerships by intentionally fostering new and effective relationships with women, small, and minority-owned businesses that can speak to the needs of our diverse institutions and members. As a global Association, we embrace diversity and our efforts must reflect the diversity of our membership.
  • Reviewing our current model for doing business and determine if there are more cost effective and efficient ways to operate.
  • Expanding partnerships with other Associations in delivering new and existing programs and services.
  • Exploring new management opportunities with other Associations for increased revenue.

I believe I possess a combination of the qualities and skills required to be an effective President. First, I have a strong interest and passion for ACUI, backed by solid, well-rounded educational, professional, and association related experiences. This basic ingredient, backed by my work ethic, natural curiosity, problem-solving skills, innovation, determination to succeed and excel, and strong communication skills are the most important qualities that will help me succeed in this role. I thoroughly enjoy devising creative paths and strategic thinking to reach and exceed a challenging goal, and I believe serving as the next ACUI President would allow me to apply these characteristics.


Geoffrey CombsGeoffrey Combs
University of Massachusetts–Boston

The most important strategic issues facing ACUI are directly tied to the three strategic directions outlined in the current strategic plan. The plan was shaped by a series of outreach efforts that included input from all areas and levels of the association. The process was thorough, revealing key challenges and issues facing ACUI. As a member of the Board, I would work alongside my colleagues to move the plan forward and think strategically about the future of the association. Among the three strategic initiatives, two specific areas stand-out. First, ACUI must identify and explore new revenue opportunities if we are to remain a strong and viable organization. I believe there are revenue opportunities in redesigning the current membership structure and seeking out new membership opportunities, especially for non-U.S. universities and corporate partners. Second, we must enhance existing programs/services and develop new initiatives that will firmly position ACUI as the primary educational and professional resource for the college union and student life professionals. The goals of the strategic plan are only achievable if we work collaboratively with members, volunteers, Central Office staff, and our international colleagues, to identify opportunities that will move us forward.

I have worked in the college union and student activities field for 18 years, and during that time I served in both regional and national leadership roles. I use the word “serve” intentionally, as I think that my role, both professionally and as a volunteer in ACUI, is to be of service and contribute toward the growth of students. I believe I possess the following skills and abilities that would enable me to be a successful board member:

  • Effective Communication – Communication is more than exchanging information. It’s how you convey a message, it’s listening to make the others feel heard and understood;
  • Focus on What is Good – It is easy to focus on what is “not working”, but I prefer to look at what is working, and build on it;
  • Creativity – I am always willing to examine new and different possibilities, experiment and take risks;
  • Team Collaboration – I am a collaborator, I strive to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their perspectives;
  • Follow-through – I always strive to follow-through. It builds credibility and earns trust. Without follow through, your credibility is damaged, and your leadership is questioned;
  • Trust – If you follow-through, collaborate, communicate effectively and treat others well, trust follows.



At-Large Member

There are six candidates for the three at-large member positions, which carry a two-year commitment.


Luke AltendorfLuke Altendorf
Texas A&M University

The Association of College Unions International is an association of choice. We serve as a cost-effective professional development organization, offering a wealth of generalist knowledge for our members as well as extensive experienced knowledge. We provide cutting-edge college union facilities, socially relevant development opportunities for our professionals and students, and networking opportunities that result in professional and personal relationships that last a lifetime. Working to provide students a seamless transition between the curricular and co-curricular, ACUI helps professionals and students alike understand how to build community, and how to create safe environments for transformative interactions.

ACUI needs to continue to strategically increase and develop our membership base by promoting the breadth of experience and knowledge the current members provide to one another. We need to highlight and share the things we do well: commitment to diversity, expertise in state-of-the-art facilities, know-how in maintaining those facilities, ability to help others participate in and create community, experience in utilizing available funding to provide high-quality experiences, ability to bring technological advances to bear on some of our most persistent problems, and ability to develop leaders of character that go out and provide great value as responsible global citizens.

As a professional with 30 years of experience, I want to contribute to this quest for excellence. I have served two universities, and progressed through the leadership ranks to become the director of a college union at a tier-one research institution. I have experience with complex budgets, currently managing a $7.2MM budget where only 40 percent is derived from student fees, the balance generated through ticket sales and contributions. I have been part of a $125MM renovation and expansion and have worked with architects to build a preeminent student center that will meet our campus need for many years.

I have served ACUI in different capacities on the regional leadership team, and the larger association by presenting at conferences, serving on an international host conference committee and a conference programming team where we inaugurated the Senior Management Professional Program. I have served as a member of the Education and Research Fund and the Corporate Partnership Development team. In recent years, I have had to step back from volunteering because of my institutional needs. Now, I’m ready to give back to my association, and believe I possess the skills needed to serve as an At Large Member on the ACUI Board of Trustees.


Laura BallouLaura Ballou
University of Rochester

ACUI has been my professional association of choice for the past fourteen years and I want to grow our family of community builders. Our association’s ability to effectively respond to change while successfully increasing member engagement is key.

  • While our new brand will be released in Philadelphia, how we embrace this brand and educate our members and potential members about this brand is what will allow us to capitalize on this exciting change.
  • Volunteers are key to our association’s success. As professionals who are being asked to do more on our home campuses, we have to find creative ways to offer volunteer opportunities that are appealing, valuable, and educational.
  • Offering both formal and informal mentoring opportunities not only strengthens our association and profession, but also provides additional opportunities for member engagement.
  • Embracing the work being done by the Council for Diversity and Inclusion is key to member engagement. Visible diversity is important to our association in addition to ensuring that all types of institutions from small schools to community colleges to international campuses find ACUI’s opportunities and programs relevant and accessible.
  • As we see how changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act impacts individuals, departments, and our profession, our association must be responsive to the accessibility of opportunities to all of our members especially concerning program costs, program delivery methods and volunteer opportunities.

With my varied volunteer experiences, I have shown I can be task oriented to accomplish a goal as a member of the Regional Restructuring Taskforce, think strategically about meeting the needs of ACUI volunteers as Volunteer Development Coordinator, and lead a team as a Regional Director. I have also served as a Regional Conference Chair, Regional Business Manager, and as a member of an annual conference planning team. On campus I have advised academic councils, class councils, and student government and managed facilities and student employment. In my current role, I oversee several student life buildings. These varied experiences with ACUI and the student activities/student union field would allow me to be an effective board member.

The University of Rochester’s mission is, Learn, Discover, Heal, Create – And Make the World Ever Better. This is an ideal I strive for walking into Wilson Commons for work everyday and how I approach my service to ACUI. Serving on the Board of Trustees would be an honor and I would strive to make ACUI ever better.


Jennifer KeeginJennifer Keegin
Binghamton University

In the last few years we have seen the ACUI 100 year anniversary, restructured our regions and hired a new CEO. We will need to continue to develop as an organization and professional community by focusing on several key strategic areas.

The "Future of the Brand" Task Force is a new initiative created this year by the Board of Trustees. This group recently put out their first findings which included "leveraging the ACUI acronym" while developing a new logo and tagline to help define our organization’s brand and visual identity. This process will continue on through the next few years, and it will be an exciting new way that ACUI will be working to communicate to new members and old members alike as to the benefits and mission of the organization.

Prioritizing and implementing the current strategic plan into 2018 will continue to help the Association effectively respond to the needs of its members. This includes securing the funding needed to implement the "innovative, responsive and inclusive resources and services" we aspire to provide. The work of the Education and Research Fund Team over the last year has been tremendous, with endowments created for three new awards and a research grant last year.

Actively recruiting a broad base of volunteers with varied experiences, at various stages of their careers, coming with different lenses and different levels of ability is key. Utilizing these volunteers in every process of the inner workings of the Association, while creating meaningful experiences, will help us grow as an organization.

As an undergraduate student on the programming board I was introduced to ACUI in my senior year of college, the same year I decided that I wanted to make student activities and college unions my life’s work. My first opportunity to volunteer as a professional was on a Regional Leadership Team as a web coordinator in 2001 and through that experience, I learned a great deal about the structure of ACUI and how important our volunteer roles are. Since then I have had the chance to give back through various volunteer positions and each of these roles led me to another opportunity furthering my growth and knowledge of the Association. Volunteers are the heart and soul of ACUI, and I would like to serve this association again as a volunteer on the Board of Trustees, with the intention of guiding our organization into the future.


Erin MorrellErin Morrell
Albertus Magnus College

One of the issues that the association will be facing is the rising cost of higher education and our response to budget cuts among our members. The cost to attend college keeps rising, our budgets are shrinking and more institutions are cutting down on professional development. Additionally, if a college education at a public university becomes free, how does that affect how our colleges will be funded and specifically, how will our student unions and activities be funded? We need to think about how we can still offer the same services without raising the costs too much. The association needs to look into additional revenue streams that are mutually beneficial.

Another issue is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which will go into effect at the end of this year. For our colleagues all over the country that work in the Student Activities and Student Union field this is a very important discussion right now. The legislation could potentially have adverse affects on the field and the lives of our students on each of our campuses. ACUI should help us educate our community on how exactly this will impact our campuses.

Diversity will be a driving force in the coming years for the association. Programming and services for students of color and the need for educating members on different cultures only increase as time goes on. As a community, we should be setting the example of what it means to build community and what it is to share and celebrate our differences.

ACUI is known for building campus community which is so important when you talk about higher education and our responsibilities as an association. ACUI is often a safe haven for members to voice their concerns, feel a sense of belonging to something and to share perspectives. ACUI is a place to bring these things to the forefront and allow our members to be heard. When I think about ACUI, I think of a community that cares, not only about issues, but about people.

As a member of the board, I would be a good listener and a problem solver. I would be a vocal board member that would motivate others, be open minded to others’ opinions and perspectives and be as flexible as possible. ACUI is my professional home and I would be honored to serve as a member of the board, effecting change for the association.


Jeremy SchenkJeremy Schenk
Northwestern University

Early on in my career I fell in love with the college union. I remember walking into the newcomers session, at my first ACUI conference, and being welcomed into this gathering of community builders. I was told that as a volunteer-led association they needed me (us) to fully engage with, and lead, the Association. I immediately realized that ACUI would be my professional home, and after reading the College Union Idea and reflecting on the role of the college union, I knew I wanted to be a union director.

Although the role of the college union as the campus community center has not changed, the campus and the community we are serving has. Similarly, ACUI is now experiencing significant changes and must explore how to meet the needs of our membership. The Association is half way through our current strategic plan, and will soon begin the process of creating a new strategic plan. Issues like growing membership, clarifying our brand identity, strengthening our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and growing the next generation of student union leaders are just a few of the strategic issues the Association will need to address.

I have been fortunate to serve ACUI through many different leadership roles at a regional and national level including: various regional leadership team positions, regional conference program team, annual conference program team member, Regional Director, co-chairing the ACUI Regional Audit Taskforce, co-chairing the Regional Restructuring Taskforce, serving as an At Large Member on the Board of Trustees, and chairing the Strategic Plan Development Core Review team for the 2016-2018 strategic plan. I have been involved with, and led, strategic change for our Association. I bring with me over 15 years of student union and campus activities experience (over 10 years in Director level positions) and have served as a transformative, relationship focused, change agent for my departments and campuses. I do this through my signature strengths of Context, Empathy, Communication, Strategic, and Activator. These strengths have allowed me to think strategically, build strong relationships, and effectively lead departments and organizations through times of change.


Michael SprinkleMichael Sprinkle
Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis

There are two key areas from the strategic plan that need to be address. One is Strategic Direction 1: Membership will be accessible to, and representative of, everyone associated with college unions and student activities, with focus on membership engagement. ACUI Leaders need to reach out to member institutions so they continue to see value through participation in the association. This is done through 1:1 interaction, showcasing ways to be involved on a budget, and reaching out to a larger base of schools who have not had a great deal of involvement. Engaging the membership into the voting process of our leaders needs to be a priority. One way is to move up the nomination process allowing members to vote during regional conferences.

The other is Strategic Direction 3: Be a leader in college unions and student activities research, education, and advocacy– E is related to ACUI’s Education and Research Fund, which provides 14 awards and scholarships for members to enhance professional development as well as to further research efforts in the field of college unions and programs. While the Education and Research Fund has started to move to a culture of year round giving, there is still a need to move that direction. Fundraising during conference is important but a shift in year round giving would increase funds. This would then allow for more funds to be allocated to scholarships, research and programs. Showing the connections of how funds raised and used make it personal to people. Then hopefully they will
give more.

Helping to chart the course of the association as it enters a new phase of strategic planning is appealing. The current plan will conclude during this Board’s term. Focus will be placed on where the association goes next and being able to be a part of that is exciting! This is an association full of possibilities and helping to tell the story matters to me.

I am a relationship builder and a connector. I feel that is an important skill set to possess especially as we think about membership engagement. I have the passion and drive to want to serve our association. A mentor of mine once told me we always need to give back to something that gives so much to us. For me that is ACUI!


Justin Rudisille
Volunteer and Member Engagement Strategist

About ACUI

Founded in 1914, ACUI serves those working in college unions and student activities on campuses worldwide. Its members include administrators, professional staff, student employees, student organization leaders, graduate students, and companies. 



For general inquiries about ACUI, please call 812.245.2284 or complete the online form below.