ASPA Annual Conference Event:New Member and First Time Attendee Orientation-My Highlights

On April 10, 2010 I spoke about ways to get involved in ASPA in the New Member and First Time Attendee Orientation. Here are the highlights:

  • Participate in your local chapter.
  • Come to the ASPA Annual Conference and wear your ribbons (Student, First Time Attendee, New Member, etc…). Others will notice them and will approach you to say hi and begin the relationship building process.
  • Attend the conferences and the meetings at the annual conference (all meetings are open to members) and actively participate. If you have comments, questions, or concerns, respectfully raise your hand and
    share. Again, others will notice and in the future they will approach
    you for additional comments.
  • Attend local, regional, and national receptions, events, and programs.
  • Use our social media outlets to network with us. ASPA has several outlets which include:
    • Weblog: www.aspanational.wordpress.com
    • Twitter: www.twitter.com/aspanational
    • Facebook: Search for “American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) National”
    • GovLoop: : Search for “American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) National”
    • Linkedin: : Search for “American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) National”
    • Ask us, National Council Members and SIG Chairs, about the Strategic Imperative Groups (SIGS) at ASPA. These groups are think tanks and planning bodies that generate ideas, examine problems, processes, and
      programs and make recommendations to the National Council for ASPA to
      adopt. Currently, ASPA has five of these SIGS:
    • SIG 1—Be Member Focused
    • SIG 2—Strengthen Chapters and Sections
    • SIG 3—Build for the Future
    • SIG 4—Network Through Technology
    • SIG 5—Reorganize for Change
      • Participating in these meetings is perhaps one of the most immediate and effective ways to get involved in ASPA at a National Level. These Groups are always looking for new ideas and new members are always
        welcomed and encouraged to actively participate in these groups. Perhaps
        it was my involvement in these groups at the 2009 Annual Conference
        that led to President Paul Posner to appoint me to the newly established
        position of Student Representative on the National Council. (Seriously,
        in 2007 when I joined ASPA, I did not think, I could not imagine that
        I, Jose Irizarry, would serve on ASPA’s National Council or that I would
        be so heavily involved in this organization—AND I LOVE EVERY MOMENT OF
      • And when at our conferences, carefully go through the program and pick and choose workshops and events that are actually interesting to you. This will encourage you to engage and actively participate and
        contribute to the sessions and others will begin to notice your comments
        and they will approach you to say hi or to comment to your comments and
        this is to foundation to successful network building.

At the conference I completely forgot to mention that as students a good way to get involved is to start a student club or join a student club that aligns itself or supports or compliments the mission of ASPA.
By creating a club at your school (at John Jay College of Criminal
Justice, clubs were created under the Office of Student Activities) you
will have access to additional resources. Additionally, you will be able
to create networking and professional development opportunities for
yourself and other students by creating this forum that they could go
to. At John Jay College we used the MPA Student Club (formally the MPA
Student Association) to provide workshops, events, and lectures to all
students interested in public administration. We took advantage of the
funding given to us by the school to invite and partner with other
organizations, including our local ASPA Chapter (The New York Metro
Chapter) to hose events at our school and at other locations.
Additionally, throughout our tenure, the club was able to get over
$30,000 which we were able to use to bring John Jay Students to ASPA
National Conference (hotel, conference registration, food, and flights
were covered), and to cover the ASPA membership fees. You may be able to
do the same thing. As a student club that received school funding it
was much easier for us to work as a collective to achieve goals. It was
also easier for us to coordinate with our local ASPA Chapter so that we
could take on a more active role in the planning and execution of
events. (These are just some ways that this option has worked in the
past. I considered the MPA Student Association at John Jay College
(MPASA) to be a sort of Student Chapter of ASPA and I know that without
this club I would never have been able to make it to the 2007 and 2008
ASPA Conferences. Think about this option carefully).

Another option that I forgot to mention at the conference (I am sorry I was really nervous speaking in front of all those wonderful people) is that you may be able to get your employer to sponsor some of your
ASPA Activities. My job and sponsored my participation at this
conference and I expect that my PhD program will too. My job sponsored
me as part of my professional development. I would check with your
employer to see if they would sponsor some of your ASPA activities as
professional development.

Jose Luis Irizarry, MPA, MA
Student Rep., ASPA National Council

Adjunct, Department of Public Management, John Jay College Of Criminal


Adjunct, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, St. Francis



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