Monday, April 27, 2015

Visiting Iowa

(by Val Meyers, Michigan Representative)

What a great welcome I had to the IASFAA Conference in central Iowa on April 16-17, 2015. Held at the Stoney Creek Inn in a suburb of Des Moines, I was greeted at the door by a wooden bear holding a WELCOME sign, and it definitely was a good omen of things to come, as I was treated to wonderful Iowa hospitality on my visit there, representing Michigan.

The theme of the Iowa conference was “Planting Seeds for Success” – a clever precursor to the theme of the MASFAA Conference to be held in Iowa later in the year (“Growing Connections for Success”). The conference committee chairs were helpful and welcoming, and the session they asked me to present fit in well with the overall emphasis of the conference.

I was able to teach as well as learn, showing the people I spoke with how Michiganders carry their home state maps with them everywhere they go. If you have never lived in Michigan, or known someone from the state, this will be your introduction to the concept of the Michigan Hand Map.

There are several goals inherent in the MASFAA President’s Exchange program, from meeting and networking with new people within the MASFAA region, to sharing ideas by attending and presenting interest sessions, to experiencing how the program and site committees organize their conference. I posted to the MSFAA Facebook page the IASFAA twist on the charity silent auction – the mystery gift! Bidders know only the donor and the minimum bid, so whatever they win will be a surprise. 

I also enjoyed the “speed dating” Town Hall – a number of hot topics are announced before the conference, and attendees are asked to bring their questions and best practices. The sessions are moderated but move quickly while giving everyone the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas. I will definitely ask my conference committee to consider adopting this as a session at future conferences in Michigan.

I need to thank the Presidents (Julie Haack, outgoing president, and Kristi Fuller, incoming president) and past-president Jen Sassman, for their help and support. Julie Dunn and Gary Adams from Program and Site were also gracious and helpful as I prepared my presentation. I am looking forward to returning to Iowa in October for the MASFAA conference and hoping to see some of these wonderful people yet again. Thank you Iowa for your warm welcome!

Val Meyers
Michigan State University
MSFAA (Michigan) President

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