Justin Vacca, director of housing and residence life at HNU, and 12 student resident assistants (RAs) attended the Northern Residential Activities and Programs (NRAP) conference at CSU Sacramento on October 31. NRAP is one of three regional organizations, in addition to the central and southern organizations, that belong to the Western Association of College University Housing Officers (WACUHO).
Vacca, who served as co-chair of the NRAP conference, explained that the event provides valuable professional development for the student RAs. “The conference serves as an opportunity for hundreds of RAs to come together, network with one another, and share common experiences. They get to put on sessions about different programming topics, programs that they could put on at their schools. We also did intentional round tables—where different topics were brought up in regards to what’s going on with RAs—so they had an opportunity to share in a more formal sense.”
Two of the student RAs, Josh Hammer and Mary Batista, led the HNU team in the conference’s spirit demonstrations, which are a big component of the event. “I was really proud of our group,” Vacca said. “Obviously we don’t have a big RA staff—we only have 12 RAs on campus—but they all came to the conference and were able to show everyone what HNU is all about. Some delegations had 50 or 60 people, but HNU was there, representing Hawk pride, and people were like, ‘Wow, they have a lot of spirit to show.’ I could not have been prouder.”
Vacca said that he was grateful for his experience as co-chair of the conference and for the hard work of his fellow planning committee members. “There were 10 of us on the committee from different schools, and we’d been working since July to put together the conference. It was great seeing the end result and knowing the dedication that was put into it by the committee on the back end of things to make it all seamless.”
One of the major benefits of attending the conference for the RAs, according to Vacca, was the energizing effect that it had. “They [the RAs] say, ‘This is exactly what I needed.’ I think this will hopefully continue a tradition so that HNU is that group at the conference to watch out for—in the best possible way.”