"It Starts With Us," October 20–22 at the University of Florida!

The University of Florida is home to the J. Wayne Reitz Union, host site of the ACUI Region III Conference, a newly renovated facility boasting 350,000+ square feet of space, including 126,000 square feet of new space and 90,000 square feet of renovated space. 

The Conference Planning Team has been hard at work developing a schedule that “Starts With Us” to maximize your potential, with educational sessions that not only explore the role of the college union but also encompass the Association’s core competencies.

Meet the team working hard to bring you this event!


All times are converted to Eastern Standard Time
Fri, October 20, 2017
11:00 AM

Registration Open

11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Registration Day 1

12:00 PM

O’Connell Center Tour

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Meet at 11:45am

Reitz Union and Student Activities Tour

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

1:00 PM

Reitz Union and Student Activities Tour

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

2:00 PM

Reitz Union and Student Activities Tour

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Senior Professionals Meeting

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The future of college unions on campus: What's changing about Unions? How is ACUI adapting to changes? How will Michael Coleman from TCC/ACUI as President Elect lead ACUI to adapt to the changing environment.

Career Center

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

3:00 PM

Reitz Union and Student Activities Tour

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

4:30 PM

Newcomer Welcome

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Student Welcome

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

5:00 PM

Kickoff & Welcome

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

6:00 PM

Networking Reception for Professionals

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Networking Reception for Students

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

7:00 PM


7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

7:30 PM

Gator Night Activities

7:30 PM - 12:00 AM

What is GatorNights? GatorNights is the leading late night program in the Southeast. Taking place every Friday night in the J. Wayne Reitz Union from 8pm - 1am during the Fall, Spring, and Summer B semesters. Summer A times are 8pm - 12am. The program offers FREE blockbuster movies, bands, comedians, improv shows, arts and crafts, novelties, interactive games, cultural events, DJ's, video games and more. Most importantly, we serve FREE midnight munchies (Pizza, Breakfast, Tacos/ Nachos Bar & more)!

Who Can Attend? Any ACUI Region III Conference member can attend Gator Night on 10/20/2017!

Visit the following website for more information

9:00 PM

Game Show

9:00 PM - 10:30 PM

Sat, October 21, 2017
7:30 AM

Professional Headshots

7:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Career Center

7:30 AM - 7:00 PM

8:00 AM

Mentor/Mentee Coffee Break

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Registration Open

8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Registration Day 2

Silent Auction

8:00 AM - 8:30 PM

Steal This Idea

8:00 AM - 8:30 PM

9:00 AM

Bringing You: Authentic Leadership

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Before we can lead, we need to know who we are. This session highlights the idea of authenticity and how is applies to successful work as a manager of people or a leader in an organization. This session will be useful for students as well as graduate students and new professionals (Will Takewell, Millsaps College).

Emergency Preparedness

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Join Campus Shooting Dialogue Team members as we explore preparation, response, and recovery to emergencies on your campus (Mandi Bryson, College of Charleston).

From Owners to Tenants: The Process of Transition

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

"From running the show to keeping the pace." This session will provide insight into how the Student Center staff at North Carolina A&T State University transitioned during their four-year journey to rebuilding their highly anticipated new state-of-the-art Student Center (Robert Johnson, North Carolina A&T State University; Rachel Whitsett; North Carolina A&T State University).

Learning Together: Finding the Right Assessment Plan for Your Department

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

At a time when departments are facing continued pressure to demonstrate their effectiveness and purpose, coordinated assessment efforts within an office allow for lower barriers between organizations and increased efficiency in reporting. Join us for an explanation of Florida State University's process for creating and implementing a common assessment tool as well as a discussion of the benefits and challenges of doing so (Matthew Corbett, Florida State University; Christina Schaefer, Florida State University).

SOS - Steal our Stuff

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Looking for ideas about student training, staffing, and supervision? At the University of North Carolina–Wilmington, there is a diverse range of methods employed to ensure the successful operations of several service areas. This session will focus on the supervision, staffing structures, and training models utilized by the UNCW Campus Activities and Involvement Center and the Campus Life event staff. Topics will explore the student-centered programs and services that have enabled these two areas to mold competent, capable, and confident student employees. We will discuss reward and recognition programs, mentorship and supervision styles, and expanding training to include online content (Nicole Fedders, University of North Carolina at Wilmington; Tom Baynes, University of North Carolina at Wilmington).

Taking Training to a New Level: Incorporating the Behind Closed Doors Philosophy in College Union Student Training

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Learn about how one institution used the Behind Closed Doors framework to create an interactive and high-impact approach to training student staff on safety procedures, Title IX issues, and cultural competency development. Hear about UNC–Wilmington's challenges and successes and get resources for implementing a similar program with your staff (Gillian Perry, University of North Carolina at Wilmington).

Team Cohesion: Building Your Organizations Brand

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

This presentation is a case study of the Department of Student Involvement's effort to implement cultural change and increase team cohesion through effective branding. It highlights strategies that an organization can employ to positively effect both the internal and external perception of the organization. It includes numerous examples of a branding currently being employed at East Carolina University (Dean Smith, East Carolina University).

10:00 AM

A Map to a Global and Multicultural Student Union

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

The presentation will include facts and information on issues with multicultural integration in primarily white American institutions, personal stories with this issue as international students, footage and visual evidence of how some institutions have tried to address this issue, examples of how Furman specifically is trying to address this issue, and then detailed suggestions on ways the student union could address this issue through student organizations, supporting multicultural events, and programing. A section on the do's and don'ts of how guest services should interact with multicultural students may be included to encourage more sensitivity in the discourse of staff members. (Akanksa Kaushik, Furman University; Andy Teye, Furman University)

I've Got Some Mad Skills: Transferable Skills for Student Employees

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

Students clock in. Students clock out. But how many of them really realize how many skills they acquire while working in the student union? This session will assist with identifying transferable skills for the student employee and student leaders in the student union and student center. The session will include interactivity, identifying skills, question sessions, and peer-to-peer interaction (Mandi Bryson, College of Charleston; Chris Bond, College of Charleston).

Increasing Student Engagement & Successful Events Through Student Org Orientations

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

This session will explore the Student Organization Orientation process that is a collaboration between the union and the Office of Leadership and Student Involvement at the University of Southern Mississippi. These mandatory orientations for all 215 student organizations include a comprehensive overview of facility policies. As a result of this program, student organizations are better prepared to utilize union facilities, are more aware of union offerings, and host more successful events. Around 10 orientations are offered each semester and are kept small to better engage students and to prevent a dull and mundane presentation. When student organizations are informed of all policies and offerings in an efficient format, student organizations are more familiar with the union and revenue can increase. This session will focus on the necessity of an orientation program for student organizations, as well as the potential benefits (Katie Kitchens, University of Southern Mississippi).

On the Brink of Collapse: How to Transform and Revitalize a Program and/or Longstanding Event

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

Can you save a once-vibrant program that has become tragically "un-cool"? In 2012, GatorNights (a large-scale late-night program) that was more than 10 years old was pretty much dead. Attendance hit record lows, the planning was non-existent, and the actual events resembled children's parties instead of college-appropriate late-night events. The student employees had little training and delivered poor customer service. The brand was tarnished and students didn't want to be caught attending GatorNights. So how do you turn things around? It started for us with assessment from student ID swipes and some qualitative focus groups. We did a total redesign of the planning process (developing the entertainment, activities, lines model) and implemented trainings and teambuilding for employees. We set new goals and through strategic campus partnerships, redesigning the logo and print pieces, and rethinking our marketing approach, we rebuilt our audience and grew attendance even while undergoing a massive building renovation that temporarily impacted all of the programming space. What we learned can be applied to almost any program/event or be used to develop trainings for student employees and programming boards (Brandy Burgess, University of Florida; Joshua Wilson, University of South Florida.

Operation: Excellence (in Student Government)

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

The University of South Florida–St. Petersburg's Student Government Association has implemented a change action plan, known as Project Operational Excellence. This year-long plan focuses on leadership development, training competencies, streamlining, and maximizing operational efficiency. The plan focuses on addressing organizational challenges while intentionally building a strategic transition plan for future administrations. The concepts developed in this plan can be utilized across student affairs in areas that develop student leaders, focus on strategic processes, and create positive work culture (Paige McDaniel, University of South Florida - St. Petersburg; Dwayne Isaacs, University of South Florida - St. Petersburg).

Realities of Renovation - Expect the Unexpected

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

It's fun and exciting to plan a building renovation, but there are some harsh, unexpected realities that can set in once you delve into the renovation process! Join us on a renovation journey as we take you through two union projects at Southern Miss: a brand new movie theater inside of a 2006 building and a renovation of two older, connected facilities—one built in 1930 and one built in 1976 (Stephen McCay, University of Southern Mississippi; Jeff Taylor, University of Southern Mississippi.

Semper Gumby - The Importance of Flexibility in Management and Decision Making

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

Working in the union field is never "black and white." There's a lot of gray area that we have to navigate. Decisions and choices have to be made with incomplete information. You can't always rely on policies and rocedures to make the call. Flexibility can make things easier. This session will provide attendees with methods to help with making the call in ambiguous situations (Mike Mironack, University of Florida).

State Legislation and Higher Education 2.0

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

State legislation significantly impacts higher education. Bills continue making headlines around the United States due to their impact on our campuses. This session will provide updates to previous legislation, an overview of new legislation, and how they influence the work we do as student affairs professionals (Alison Ward, University of Tennessee - Knoxville; Trinity Gonzalez, Florida State University).

Union Director Meeting

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

11:00 AM

Keynote: Justin Jones

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

In 2015, Justin Jones was voted as a “HOT ACT” by Campus Activities Magazine, and in 2008, he was named one of Ebony Magazine’s “30 Young Leaders Under 30 On the Rise.” He is the author of two books—the most recent focusing on values-based success—an award-winning entrepreneur, and a professional speaker. While in college, Jones was a fraternity leader, president of three campus organizations, and served on the SGA Executive Board. He has earned his MBA focused on leadership and organizational learning and is passionate about combining high-energy, humor, and practical content in all of his presentations to help students reach their goals, achieve better results, and become better leaders.

12:00 PM


12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Union Director Lunch with Speaker

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

1:00 PM

Active Threat of Violence Alert: Now What?

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Student union professionals who oversee emergency procedures have a great amount of responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all students, faculty, staff, and community members who walk through the doors. This session will provide a threat of violence a case study that occurred on the University of Georgia campus in 2014 and the lasting implications for emergency preparedness trainings (Caitlyn Wine, University of Georgia).

Campus Protests and Demonstrations: Understanding, Preparation, and Response

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

How does your campus respond to protests and demonstrations? Are you creating a culture of care while still supporting First Amendment Rights and maintaining a positive view of your campus? Staff from the dean of students and student activities and involvement will discuss how the University of Florida collaborates across the campus to monitor and manage campus protests. The session will include a review of their Three-Tiered Approach, techniques for de-escalation, and ways to promote a safe and inclusive environment (Kris Klann, University of Florida; Nancy Chrystal-Green, University of Florida).

FUSION: A Collaborative Approach to Event Planning and Risk Management

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

During this session we will introduce and educate attendees on the benefits of integrating an event permitting process at their respective institutions. Through the use of event permits, we provide a preventative and educational service to students and staff that are planning events on campus. We educate these individuals on the proper event planning process to limit risk management while maximizing success of events. Within the process, it allows campus partners to be aware of all of the events happening on campus at any given time. By collaborating and working together, we offer support and guidance to students and staff via an approval process that allows us to not only work with campus partners, but with the organization or department hosting the event as well. We provide students with many tools to ensure their success such as NoleCentral, an online portal where students can submit their event permit submissions, event consultations, which allows them to meet with campus partners one-on-one to plan their event, and access to event planning guides and resources. By introducing this process, we have established a strong relationship between campus partners and students that allows us to have open communication at all times (Dorsey Spencer, Florida State University).

Motivational Interviewing (MI) and How You Can Use It

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a collaborative, goal-oriented student of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person's own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion. This session will focus on helping participants understand the core concepts of MI, how it can be used in daily practice with staff and students, and how it can be applied to helping staff and students set clearer, more meaningful objectives for making personal changes (Will Takewell, Millsaps College).

Prove Them Wrong

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

This program focuses on how student leaders face challenges and are told no by those around them. These obstacles that are placed in front of you are not dead ends. Instead they are an opportunity to prove those nay-sayers wrong, but only with the appropriate skills to overcome (Stephen McCay (University of Southern Mississippi).

Revitalizing Student Training!

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

The Plemmons Student was honored with the 2016 ACUI Excellence in Student Training Award. We would like to take an opportunity to share the theories and examples of how we made our training educational, fun, and a community building experience. This session will include example activities, how we tackle new topics and share lessons learned (Jeremy Dale, Appalachian State University).

The Individual, Organizational, and Societal Barriers that Women are Faced with in Higher Education

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Women in higher education can sometimes feel "stuck to the floor" or hit the "glass ceiling" and might not understand why it's taking them longer to reach their careers goals to a leadership position compared to their male counterparts. This session will focus on the individual, organizational, and societal barriers that women in higher education encounter in their career development as well as the social roles that are placed on women within the workplace and how it can impact them (Beth Bengala, East Carolina University).

We're Looking for a Few Good Leaders!

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Ever think about being an union director? Vice president of student affairs? University president? YOU may just be an excellent candidate for pursuing a career in student affairs. Just because you've graduated doesn't mean that your love for the union and the student experience is over! In this session, we will discuss career opportunities in the union/activities and/or student affairs and how to choose a graduate program in higher education/college student personnel. Insights will be provided on what universities/colleges look for in potential graduate assistants/graduate students (Stan Sweeney, University of North Carolina at Asheville; Fred Tugas, University of North Carolina at Asheville; Christina Jaeger, University of North Carolina at Asheville).

2:00 PM

A Guide to Fresh Campus Traditions

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Sometimes our campus needs new traditions to grow and meet the varying needs of our campus. Let us share with you some of our most successful traditions that have been created in the last five years or less, help you create and brainstorm programs for your campus, and outline how to use your committee's creative energy in new and positive ways. We will use our newer traditional programs like Speed Dating, Battle of the Bands, movie shadow casts, and the Homecoming Trunk Show to guide you to YOUR campus' new spirited and fun traditions! (Andrea Ingle, University of North Carolina at Wilmington)

ACUI's Strategic Plan

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

ACUI is in the middle of its three-year strategic plan, 2016–2018. Attend this session to learn about accomplishments to date and what is underway for the future. Members will also be invited to contribute to a discussion about a new strategic planning process and priorities for the coming years. While conversations will also take place virtually allowing for broader participation, this is a convenient, face-to-face opportunity to engage with Association leaders during the regional conference. (Trinity Gonzalez, Florida State University)

Does Billing Stress You Out?

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Conference Services Office at the University of West Florida has recently changed their billing process, which helped them overcome previous billing issues. Session will explain why they switch to a more centralized billing model how these changes have helped efficiency (Ash Elkins, University of West Florida; Kennyattah Cox, University of West Florida).

It Starts with Volunteer Opportunities within ACUI!

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Through this session, members will learn the role of ACUI volunteers within the Association and the variety of volunteer opportunities that exist. Whether you are looking for your first ACUI volunteer opportunity or a new challenge as a seasoned volunteer, this session is for you! (Stan Sweeney, University of North Carolina)

Leadership and Resumes: Getting Students to Articulate Transferrable Skills

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

We know how to put together a resume, but do our students? How do we begin conversation with our student leaders to help them navigate resume creation. What do they feel is important and how do they translate their leadership into language employers seek? (Nicole Fedders, University of North Carolina at Wilmington)

Our Union, Our Hub: Caring for Our Student Union "Body"

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

The student union is widely considered the hub of most college campuses—a living, breathing organism. This hub is often responsible for first impressions, setting the tone and culture of the campus community, and providing an environment for student engagement and building relationships. The mood of the student body is often palpable within the union, as we can sense stress, excitement, anxiety, and pride amongst our students. If we think about the union as a living structure, shouldn't we take care of it as such? This presentation seeks to explore techniques to care holistically for your student union, physically and emotionally, ultimately improving the experience of your student body (Jennifer Barr, Tallahassee Community College; Emily Rattini-Reich, Tallahassee Community College).

Producing Major Concerts on Campus: A How to Guide

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Students want the biggest artists to come to campus for your largest programs. However, concert promotion is a complex equation. How do you work with students to select the best artist for your campus? What size venue should you use? How do you determine a fair offer? What are some best practices for negotiating with agents, middle agents, and promoters? How do you draft an offer and execute a contract? What is required for day of show logistics and operations? In this session, best practices and lessons learned will be shared from booking and producing major shows including Zac Brown Band, Amy Schumer, and Chance the Rapper (Lori Vaughn, Florida State University; Matthew Corbett, Florida State University; Marile Quintana, Florida State University).

Real Talk: The World Today

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Join us for a “real talk” dialogue about the recent events in our world today. Get ready as we get real (Dorsey Spencer, Florida State University; Will Takewell, Millsaps College).

Reitz Union Gator Retail Hatchery

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

A strategic partnership between the Reitz Union and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, the Hatchery, is designed to provide student entrepreneurs with a unique opportunity for experiential learning. The Reitz Union Gator Retail Hatchery offers a mix of student ventures and student made products. In Spring 2017, interns ran the Retail Hatchery while also developing a business plan for full implementation in Fall 2017, with the spring activities used to pilot the program. Other deliverables will be to develop operations manual; develop HR manual; pilot product solicitations, marketing events, merchandising and back office operations; develop and test a pricing model (Brian Brasington, University of Florida; Nola Miyasaki; University of Florida).

Using Improvisation to Enhance Student Involvement & Success in the Workplace

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Enhance your students' involvement in the student union workplace by bringing the best of the improv comedy world into business applications. Student workers will be using improv as a tool to develop the communicative core skills of teamwork and adaptability in the workplace (Warren Buccholz; University of South Florida - St. Petersburg).

3:00 PM

Advancing Campus Community Keynote: Food Pantry

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Food insecurity on college campuses have becoming a growing trend in today's climate. Join us to learn a little bit about UF's Field and Fork Food Pantry along with time for Q & A for those that are looking to inquire about creating their own food pantry on your campus. During this time we will also be collecting donations to give to the Field and Fork Food Pantry.

4:00 PM

What's Poppin'?! (Popcorn Social)

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

i-Lead Reunion

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Professional Headshots

4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Visit the Food Pantry

4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Visit the University of Florida food pantry and see how it all runs behind the scenes!

7:00 PM

Dinner & Live Auction

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

8:30 PM

Arts and Crafts Center

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Game Room

8:30 PM - 10:30 PM

Sun, October 22, 2017
8:00 AM

Q&A with Region III Leaders

8:00 AM - 8:45 AM

Q&A with Reitz Union Senior Staff

8:00 AM - 8:45 AM

Q&A with Students

8:00 AM - 8:45 AM

Silent Auction

8:00 AM - 9:55 AM

9:00 AM

Are Your Student Employees Career Ready?

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Integrating ACUI's core competencies with language from NACE's career readiness competencies allows us to not only assess learning outcome achievement but also employer desired transferrable skill sets. This session details the creation and implementation of new assessments and language to influence the way student employees think about on campus employment (Alison Ward, University of Tennessee at Knoxville).

Don't Panic! Managing Emergency and Crisis Management For Student Employees

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Student employees often encounter risk management and emergencies while not always having the right tools. This session will provide a basic overview of some resources on different risks and emergencies, everything from weather and spills to bomb threats and sheltering-in-place. The session will include breaking into groups so the attendees can work together to problem-solve while learning the basics on risk and emergency management (Mandi Bryson, College of Charleston).

Event Space Renovation: Lessons Learned as a Mid-Level Manager

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

The University of Tennessee–Chattanooga University Center renovated a large multi-use event space during the winter of 2016-2017. Being the first major room renovation since I became the associate director, I learned a lot about this experience. You will hear about my role in the planning process, the successes and failures of the project, and the unforeseen consequences (both positive and negative) that our staff has to handle as a result of bringing an event space into the 21st Century (Aaron Grisham, University of Tennesee at Chattanooga).

Getting Involved with I-LEAD® and I-LEAD® Connect

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

This session will be focused on the Institute for Leadership, Education, and Development (I-LEAD®) and I-LEAD® Connect and the experiences offered to students attending as well as to professional staff looking to get engaged in the facilitation of the institute. This session will highlight the benefits of sending students to I-LEAD®, bringing I-LEAD® Connect to your campus, and of facilitating at one of the programs as a small group facilitator (Will Takewell, Millsaps College; Ben Williams, Georgia Institute of Technology).

Marshall Student Center-LEED Certificatio: A Decade in the Making

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

In August 2008, the University of South Florida–Tampa opened the Marshall Student Center. The facility helped change how the university serves its students and is recognized as a benchmark student center by many across the nation coordinating more than 12,000 reservations annually with approximately 2.5 million guests a year. At the time of construction, the facility was not LEED certified. Almost 10 years later, the Marshall Student Center is now LEED EB O M Certified at the Silver level. Join the conversation about the LEED process, lessons learned, and the impact that even small changes can have on levels of sustainability in a student union (Jennifer Hernandez, University of South Florida).

Mental Health in the Union: Self-Care and Peer Support

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

This session will focus on student workers in the union and their role in promoting mental health. The presentation will discuss why mental health is an important issue and the union and its workers serve as a place to recognize individuals experiencing mental distress. College students experience high amounts of pressure from their numerous responsibilities. This session will explore healthy behaviors to alleviate stress and poor mental health. It will also share some common signs of mental distress and ways to serve as a support network for those who are suffering (Shane Farmer, Furman University; Syndey Wright, Furman University).

On-Campus Jobs: A Spring Board to a Student's Career

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Student staff morale and professional development. How a campus job can be more than just that! When students have ownership and buy-in the sky is the limit. Adding more than just tasks to the job expectation (Nicole Fedders, University of North Carolina at Wilmington).

So, You Want to Have an Event?

9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

This session will explore the student organization event planning process that will ensure that these groups have successful events no matter the size, type, or location. This session will be formatted as a roundtable discussion and have a more relaxed feel. This session will give students a view of the event planning process from the professional lens. Our goal as professionals is to give students confidence in their abilities to plan a successful event whether it be a small meeting or a large conference for their organization. We believe seeing it from the professional standpoint will foster confidence in both themselves and in us as well (Katie Kitchens, University of Southern Mississippi; Amy Stehman, Georgia State University; Jillian Cruser, Georgia Institute of Technology).

Senior Professional Experience: Activism On Campus

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Activism on Campus: What does that mean? How do we ensure rights are not taken away? How do we allow activism without disrupting operations? Why is it important? Etc.

10:00 AM

A Student's Guide to Creating a Conversation on Campus

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

This session acts as a guide for students seeking to ignite conversations on campus on various topics. The session will include brainstorming different conversations that need to be held on the attendees respective college campus and will be led by two students of Millsaps College who have sparked conversations through the Women in Leadership Summit and TEDxMillsapsCollege, x=independently organized TED event. By the end of this session, attendees will be able to gain an understanding of how to put on events of all sizes and shapes and the methods and tools available to assist them in this process. (Vajresh Balaji, Millsaps College; Sierra Burris, Millsaps College)

Communities of Practice: What's My Fit?

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

With 21 communities of practice focusing on various college union and student activities service areas, there are many opportunities to enrich your current practices. Join us to explore how communities of practice can enhance your professional development experience and expand networking opportunities with professionals doing similar work. (Mandi Bryson, College of Charleston; Trinity Gonzalez, Florida State University)

Ever Wanted to Go Abroad? You Still Can!

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Ever wanted to go abroad? Well you still can! This session will explore the opportunities available to professionals to have an international study abroad experience through study tours (Michelle Castro, Florida International University).

Mapping Out Your Journey

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

This session will focus on how students can encompass all of their experiences into developing and achieving their short- and long-term goals. Participants will conceptually map out experiences and goals and share ways into actively pursuing the next step (Christian Washington, University of West Florida; Christopher Hawkins, University of West Florida).

Navigating for New Professionals: Making the Most of Your First Years in Higher Ed

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

This presentation will give the opportunity for open dialogue about navigating the transition between graduate life to new professional experience and will provide the narrative of two very different personal paths through graduate life to professional roles in higher education from new professionals with three years in the field. This will give attendees perspective on their personal journeys through the field, as well as tips on what to do in their first few years as professionals (Andrea Ingle, University of North Carolina at Wilmington; Justin Edwards, University of North Carolina at Wilmington).

Student Employee Assessment

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

While many organizations perform student employee evaluations, do we always think to frame through the lens of departmental assessment and meet two objectives through one tool? Learn strategies to develop or enhance an evaluation program and how to glean information from these evaluations to assist in your overall departmental assessment plan (Jeremy Dale, Appalachian State University).

Students Supervising Students

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Open to students and professional staff. Come and discuss effective techniques you have seen and discuss the challenges that come from students serving in a supervisory role over other students. While this is a great learning opportunity for them, there are lots of challenges that come from this. (James Fariello, University of South Florida - St. Petersburg)

10:45 AM

Closing Brunch Keynote: Dr. Parrott

10:45 AM - 12:30 PM

Dr. Dave Parrott is the vice president for student affairs at the University of Florida. He joined the Gator Nation from Texas A&M, where he served as executive associate vice president and chief of staff for student affairs in addition to teaching in the Department of Educational Administration. Prior to his arrival at Texas A&M, Parrott was the associate dean of students and later the assistant vice president for student affairs at Western Michigan University. He has a doctorate in educational psychology with an emphasis in student affairs administration from the University of Louisville. Additionally, he holds a master's degree in college student personnel and a bachelor's degree in business management from Western Kentucky University. Parrott is married to Dr. Kelli Peck Parrott, and they have two sons, Jackson (11) and Jason (9).


(through September 7)
(September 8–28)
(September 29–October 18)
Professional Member$220$245$295
Graduate or Undergraduate Student Member$200$200$200
Professional Nonmember$280$305$355
Graduate or Undergraduate Student Nonmember$260$260$260




If you have any concerns about your ability to attend the conference, please contact Andy Dang at andydang@mail.usf.edu. We will be addressing concerns on a case by case basis.


Justin Jones

In 2015, Justin Jones was voted as a “HOT ACT” by Campus Activities Magazine, and in 2008, he was named one of Ebony Magazine’s “30 Young Leaders Under 30 On the Rise.” He is the author of two books—the most recent focusing on values-based success—an award-winning entrepreneur, and a professional speaker. 

While in college, Jones was a fraternity leader, president of three campus organizations, and served on the SGA Executive Board. He has earned his MBA focused on leadership and organizational learning and is passionate about combining high-energy, humor, and practical content in all of his presentations to help students reach their goals, achieve better results, and become better leaders.

Justin Jones
Dr. David Parrott

Dr. Dave Parrott is the vice president for student affairs at the University of Florida. He joined the Gator Nation from Texas A&M, where he served as executive associate vice president and chief of staff for student affairs in addition to teaching in the Department of Educational Administration. Prior to his arrival at Texas A&M, Parrott was the associate dean of students and later the assistant vice president for student affairs at Western Michigan University.

He has a doctorate in educational psychology with an emphasis in student affairs administration from the University of Louisville. Additionally, he holds a master's degree in college student personnel and a bachelor's degree in business management from Western Kentucky University. Parrott is married to Dr. Kelli Peck Parrott, and they have two sons, Jackson (11) and Jason (9).

Dave Parrott

Conference Experiences

The Conference Planning Team is excited to announce an enhanced conference experience to meet the needs of students and professionals at all levels of their career. Check out some of the great opportunities this conference will feature.

State Pride Challenge

Region III is encouraging friendly competition this conference through the State Pride Challenge, because who doesn’t love a little competition with their conference experience?

The State Pride Challenge is an opportunity for institutions to score points for their home state.

Earning Points
Points are earned based on their involvement in conference activities.

  • Volunteering (can we do a link to the volunteer subpage here?)
  • Silent and live auction donations
  • Participation
  • Registration
  • Presentations
  • And more!

New attendees and students receive double points toward their state when they register. Participants traveling long distances will receive more points as well.

Things to Bring

  • Money for penny wars
  • Canned food or toiletry items to donate to the UF Field and Fork Pantry (there is a Publix grocery store walking distance from the hotel)
  • Auction items

Winners Receive

  • Bragging rights
  • Website recognition
  • Conference swag
Career Center and Networking Lounge

For the first time at a Region III Conference, there will be a Career Center and Networking Lounge. This space will be dedicated for job postings, networking chats, resume and interview tips, and will offer professional headshots for conference delegates!

Senior Professional Experience
Senior-level professionals can engage in a preconference session, share a meal with Keynote Speaker Justin Jones, and have dedicated time to network with each other. Make sure to add the Senior Professional Experience when you register. 

  • Preconference Session: Friday, October 20, 2 p.m.
    Roundtable with ACUI President-Elect Mike Coleman: What Can ACUI Do for You?
  • Luncheon: Saturday, October 21, Noon
    Lunch with Keynote Speaker Justin Jones
  • Sunday, October 22, 9 a.m.
    Campus Activism with Brandon Bowden, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Florida State University
Student Region III Information Session

Conferences can be overwhelming for first-time student attendees. Register your students who are attending to participate in one of the two webinars, where members of the Conference Planning Team will break down what to expect from the Region III Conference. Dates to be announced later.

Community Service Keynote Speaker and Food Drive

This year’s community service project will feature a keynote speaker from Field and Fork Campus Food Program at the University of Florida to talk about students who experience food insecurity and ways to help. They will be collecting items for the pantry so either bring your non-perishables with you or shop at the Publix that is conveniently located next to the conference hotel.

I-LEAD® Reunion

Many students and staff in the region have participated in ACUI’s premier student program, I-LEAD®. We have dedicated time at the conference for past attendees to network and share experiences.

To promote financial and environmental sustainability, we are encouraging individuals and institutions to share a ride to Gainesville, Florida. Go here to post available seats in your vehicle or find a ride.
Mentor Program

Students will be paired with professional mentors at the conference. Mentors and mentees can sign up during the online registration process. Contact information for mentors and mentees will be sent out prior to the conference.

Exciting Performances
The University of Florida student dance groups will be kicking off the conference with performances to showcase each individual style of dance.
Steal this Idea
This ACUI tradition annually seeks the year's best marketing and promotional ideas throughout the region and presents them at the conference. This is an excellent opportunity to show off both the talent of our region's staff and student graphic designers, as well as share ideas for other campuses to "steal" (respectfully, of course).

Awards are given at the regional conference to both student and staff designers with the strongest pieces in each category. Winners will be announced during the conference at Sunday’s brunch.  If you have questions, please contact Amy Stehman (astehman@gsu.edu).

Entry details and more may be found on the entry form.
Volunteer at Conference

From helping at the registration table to critiquing resumes at the Career Center to being a live auction monitor, there are a number of opportunities to volunteer at this year’s conference.

Region III uses signup.com to organize our available conference volunteer spots. Here's how it works in three easy steps:

  1. Go to signup.com/go/BqGkcaq.
  2. Review the options listed, and choose the spot(s) you like.
  3. Sign up! No need to register an account.
Silent and Live Auctions

Raising funds for Region III scholarships is “magical,” and we have set a fundraising goal of $4,000 for this year’s conference. Last year, the auctions raised $3,744.50 for scholarships, and we need your help surpassing that amount!

How can you help us reach our goal?


We are looking for a variety of donations at any price point!

  • Gift baskets
  • Gift cards
  • Jewelry
  • Crazy socks
  • T-shirts
  • Local food specialty items
  • Local attraction tickets

Bid High and Bid Often

You can bid during the silent auction or the live auction. Some of our donations include:

  • Apple Watch
  • Online boutique gift certificates
  • Gift basket from a family farm
  • Coffee with our regional director, 2017 conference chair, or 2018 conference chair
  • Branded institutional items
  • A “magical” experience

Lodging and Local Area


Holiday Inn Gainesville—University Center
You can book online using this link. On the booking screen, enter arrival and departure dates. Then under "More Options," ensure the group code is listed (ACU). Or you may call the hotel directly and book via telephone at 352.376.1661. Ask for the booking code "ACU."

Wyndham Garden Gainesville
The rate is $139/night. Call the hotel directly and book via telephone at 352.377.4000. Ask for the booking code "Association of College Unions International."

Reitz Union Hotel
Call the hotel directly and book via telephone at 352.3922151. Ask for the booking code "ACUI2017CPT."

Find a roommate here.


Want to carpool? Post seats in your car or find a ride here. Additionally, you may find directions from the Gainesville Regional Airport to the conference hotel here

Visit Gainesville and Local Attractions 

The conference hotel is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and boutiques and sits in the heart of Gainesville. Local attractions include Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, and the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail. Find out more about what Gainesville has to offer at visitgainesville.com. Region III extends a special thank you to visitgainesville.com for their support.