Follow Friday: Res Life and Housing All-Stars

by Valerie Heruska

I just got back from NEACUHO (The Northeast Affiliate of ACUHO-I) and while I enjoy the work I do in residence life, being at a conference with residence life and housing people just makes life a little bit better and invigorate the love that I have for working in housing. I am often in awe at the professionals who have been here a lot longer than me, and those who work in the operations side and not the residence life side of the house dorm  residence hall. This list was hard to come up with because there are so many great women in the housing and residence life field, that it would take me an entire week to write this post.  I feel like this is going to have to be a series.

@bethmoriarty is someone who I would for sure consider an housing all-star. Beth is an exemplary leader to those at Bridgewater University. She is someone who does it all: from teaching class to grad students to leading a great team of residence life and housing professionals. Beth also just won the NEACUHO Charles Lamb award for outstanding service to the association

@StacyLOliver: One of the reasons I enjoy following Stacy so much is because she truly has a knack for working in residence life. Nowadays, she works with room assignments, which I do not envy at all. Stacy brings a lot of knowledge to our functional area and is currently the president of GLACUHO. She’s written a lot of articles and with her partner-in-crime @kmagura (who you also need to follow — another all -star) have written many great articles such as this one for “The Talking Stick” on Gender Neutral Housing. They both also won the “Talking Stick” article of the year award in 2012 for that article.

@dschmidtrogers and @laurieABerry: When I was at NASPA 4E’s WISA Drive-In, these two women, along with  (@monicamfochtman) gave an exemplary presentation on three women who identify as being introverts and the challenges of finding their voices. After spending some quality time with them, I must say that they are some of the smartest women whom I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know better over the course of a few days.

Some other fabulous women in housing and residence life that you should be following: @annmarieklotz @tinakhorvath @JPKirchmeier  @carolyngolz  @KateMcGK  @clp_qu @melpels @candacedennig @lauralambeth @lanisanantonio @christyortega

Who do you follow for residential life info?

Follow Friday: Res Life and Housing All-Stars

Best Practices/Making Life Easier: Summer = Break Time

By Brenda Bethman

In the previous best practices installment, Anitra wrote about summer projects — and I, too, have a list of summer projects that is longer that I can accomplish. For this post, I wanted to talk about the importance of making sure you find time to relax during the summer as well. As we all know, it’s easy to get wrapped up in summer projects and forget to take care of ourselves. So here are some things you can do this summer to refresh you:

  • Install an app like BreakTime on your computer and get out for some fresh air and sunshine every 1-2 hours (BreakTime is for Mac, but there are apps for Windows-based machines as well).IMG_1057
  • Go on vacation (or staycation) and turn off your email. Really. All the way off. It will be okay.
  • Play Dots (or some other addicting game).
  • Read a good beach novel — my favorite author in this genre right now is Elin Hilderbrand. Don’t like beach novels? Try a good detective novel — Yrsa Sigurðardóttir from Iceland is a great writer with a feminist protagonist.
  • Explore your area — is there a museum near by that you’ve never been to? Check it out.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Hit the beach.
  • Do all of these things at least once.

At the end of the day (summer), it doesn’t matter which you choose — the key thing is to remember to take some time to recharge and relax. Student affairs folks are notoriously bad at self care, so be sure to include some break time in your summer. The work and the projects will still be there after you get back. I promise.

How do you recharge and relax in the summer? Tell us in the comments!


Best Practices/Making Life Easier: Summer = Break Time

Linkage Love: Upcoming Trends in Social Media

By Anitra Cottledge

I had a great conversation recently with some colleagues about ways to utilize technology and social media to communicate about your office or department. This is one of my favorite topics, so I had plenty to say. We talked about topics and strategies that have probably been mentioned before: create a social media policy for your office (building upon your institution’s policy if they have one), be strategic about what you post, develop a social media schedule, and track your engagement via social media, i.e., make a monthly note of how many followers, hits, likes you have. Pay attention to what’s working and what’s not working and be willing to evolve. Remember that social media and technology are just new(er) mechanisms of outreach.

The other thing that we talked about was deciding which social media platforms to use and why. I went through our usage of particular platforms (at this point, we are utilizing a lot of social media with the exception of Tumblr, because we don’t have a need for it. This past year, we started using Pinterest, and are playing with some different ways to use it and integrate it with our other communication vehicles.

What came up is that technology moves so quickly, and before you can blink, there’s a new platform on the horizon. Here are a few upcoming trends and/or platforms to watch out for:

  • (The Incredible) Shrinking Videos – Are you using Vine to make short, 6-minute, looping videos that you can share with friends via a mobile app? Wired Mag on how Vine is the next (current?) thing.
  • Embracing the Visual – I don’t know how this is necessarily new, because it seems to me (in an anecdotal way) that people already utilize visual imagery to engage audiences via things like Instagram, Pinterest, infographics, and using more photo and video on Facebook. Nonetheless, if you haven’t given this idea some thought in relation to your social media strategy, now is the time to reframe and rethink.
  • Going Mobile – I am starting to see more mobile versions of websites, and have recently gotten involved in trying to optimize a site’s information for mobile use.  Considering the large amounts of people who access the web via smartphone, considering mobile design or responsive design is important.

These are just a few things that I’m thinking and reading about. What are trends that you’re noticing?

Linkage Love: Upcoming Trends in Social Media

Are people still docking their laptops at work?

by Jennifer Keegin

I had an interesting conversation in the office this morning with a co-worker about the usage of docking stations and laptops. We have a new employee coming in and upper administrators (VP level) want him to present a lot so they want him to have a laptop with a docking station.

My co-worker asserted that docking stations are pretty much out – who uses those anymore? I immediately agreed with him – surely if folks wanted to be truly mobile they use iPads/tablets and other devices. You can create a presentation than use a tablet for output purposes.

So I did some research to see if docking stations are  is still “a thing”. Here are some quotes that I found:

Erik6041 Apr 19, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Everyone in my company has a recent Dell Latitude or Precision laptop with a docking station and there are no complaints. It’s true that Dell is changing ownership, but I don’t see that affecting its ability to build a good laptop. HP should have similar offerings if you are hung up on avoiding Dell. All OEM docking stations should satisfy your needs.

Paragraph Apr 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Docking stations aren’t a thing of the past at all, but as laptops get more advanced, there is less need for them IMO.

All of my laptops can support a pair of monitors plugged into them (one through VGA, and another through either DP or HDMI, depending on the model) and that’s a common setup for most laptops.

In situations where a person frequently travels, but has a desk, it’s a good idea to use them, but when someone rarely moves from the desk, they’re not really needed.


Article:  Laptop Docks Can Be Used for Hardware-Based Cyberattacks, Expert Says

Few organizations realize this, but the laptop docking stations utilized by many of their employees can actually be leveraged by hackers to launch hardware-based attacks.

Based on what I’ve seen – docking stations are definitely NOT out yet and I wonder what you all in academia think. Would you purchase a laptop w/docking station or would you rather have a tablet etc?


Are people still docking their laptops at work?

Follow Friday: Warsan Shire

By Anitra Cottledge

I stumbled across Warsan Shire on Tumblr (that’s the magic of Tumblr, right?). She’s a 24-year-old Kenyan-born Somali poet, writer, editor and educator who is based in London. Her début book, Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth (flipped eye), was published in 2011. Her poems have been published in Wasafiri, Magma and Poetry Review and in the anthology ‘The Salt Book of Younger Poets’ (Salt, 2011). She is the current poetry editor at SPOOK magazine. Warsan is also the unanimous winner of the 2013 Inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize.

On Tumblr, someone had reblogged a quote of hers:

It’s not my responsibility to be beautiful, I’m not alive for that. My existence is not about how desirable you find me.

That resonated with me instantly, particularly given the work I that do working with women students and the conversations I have about gender, beauty and body image. I ordered her book of poetry, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, and had that feeling of wanting to read everything she’s written. Her writing is powerful, so if you’re looking for something wonderful to read sometime soon, or just wanting to know more about a dynamic woman artist, follow Warsan Shire on Twitter.

Follow Friday: Warsan Shire

Highlight an App: Songza

by Valerie Heruska

<heads-up friends> Download the free music App called "Songza". It's like @Pandora, but instead of picking an artist, you choose the "mood" of music you want to hear (which the options change based on the time of day and weekday you open the App). Super s

Songza is better than Pandora.

Songza and Pandora are two music players that stream music right through your computer or mobile device. They’re both pretty similar: both play music based on a specific artist or genre and both have a limited number of skips (6/hour). Pandora has a free version and a paid version. As many of us know, the free version of pandora has commercials, whereas the paid version does not. Songza is free and there are no commercials.

Songza is what I use from doing work in the office (Divas sing-a-long) or running (Pop remixes). They have funny stations such as “music for saving the world” or , one of my personal favorites, “Jersey Diner” where there is lot of Bruce and Bon Jovi (hooray). Members can put together playlists or go in search of their favorite songs. It’s pretty much the hot new music app. For free. Songza also introduced me to new music, as they have a lot of different indie stations.

I know Pandora has a cult-like following, but you should check out Songza. It’s really user friendly and their most recent update made the layout look really nice and easy to use. Just remember, when you’re in the car on a really long drive and you need some music without commercial interruption, think of the wonders the Justin Timberlake station makes.

Highlight an App: Songza

Linkage Love: Web Development

by Kristen Abell

Since I started developing websites as my full-time job this last January, I have gotten to be friendly with quite a few different tools and sites on the interwebs as resources for me while I’m still learning all about web development (aside: I’m pretty sure there is no way to know all about web development – just a never ending learning process. I sort-of love this about my job). For those of you that also develop websites or who dabble from time to time – or even for those who want to learn more – I thought I’d share a few of my favorites so far.

Codecademy – This was possibly the single most helpful tool I used in learning about CSS and HTML when I first started. If you are wanting to learn more – or if you’re just wanting a refresher – I cannot recommend this enough. I have also used this in training others on website editing around the university. This is definitely one of my favorites.

A List Apart – This blog has all sorts of tips and tricks for developers and designers. These bloggers tend to be on the cutting edge of trends and more than willing to share whatever they’re learning with the rest of us humble developers. One of my favorite things about this blog is all the information they share about responsive design. As it still tends to be few and far between elsewhere, this is like an oasis in a web development desert for responsive design.

CodePen – Admittedly, I haven’t used this one as much as I should. This is a great tool for figuring out bits and pieces of CSS for your websites. Or, as my fellow web developer here says, it’s extremely effective at making you feel inadequate as a coder – seeing what others can do with CSS is both extraordinarily cool and horribly daunting. But there’s no time like the present to learn, right?

Codrops – This is another site I’m just familiarizing myself with, but it looks to have some great resources for website developers on it, including some stellar blueprints for different website tools and some ideas for tackling some of the more difficult challenges in web design. I can’t wait to play with it more.

What web development/design sites are you using? Please share!


Linkage Love: Web Development

From Annual Reports to Invitations, it’s always better to say it Visually

by Jess Faulk

As an occasional infographic creator and lover of graphic design I am always on the lookout for ways that companies and universities are using visual design to communicate their message effectively.

It’s worth pondering, would we all go to Facebook as often as we do if all Facebook had was words with no pictures?  Why is Tumblr so popular with Millennials? Pictures.   Would we stop and read flyers if they didn’t catch our eye with beautiful design?  Visuals matter.

Despite knowing this information, we still produce wordy emails, and pages of written reports.  I want to present to you some innovative alternatives that are certainly ‘outside of the box.’

Annual Report using Data Visualization or Instagram

MSU Annual ReportMichigan State University is just one of the many institutions rethinking how they share their institution’s annual data.  This year they chose to present some of their most interesting statistics in a visual dashboard, with clickable links to drill down into each area.  This engages the readers because it is interactive, but most importantly, it also make data worth checking out.  It’s interesting!

Calgary Zoo did something even more shocking when it turn it’s annual report into a digital format on Instagram.  Gathering photos taken by staff and visitors, the Calgary Zoo administration presents information about the zoo’s achievements in the comment section of each photo.  The photos themselves paint a picture of the what the zoo offered, and what was most appreciated, while also allowing space for more details attached to each image.

Chart your data to tell your story

Often people are intimidated by creating visuals because they feel they need to be an expert in Adobe products in order to create great graphics.  Luckily, when the need arises, from the internet rises a solution.  Two data visualization tools that might fit the bill – and Piktochart.  Both offer some free templates with minimal customization. The website also has some tools available for making your own graphics.  New options are popping up everyday, and we should be using them to make our information pop!

Tell a story, and invite people to an event with visuals

Perhaps you’ve sent one too many paperless post ecards and are looking for something new.  Or perhaps you would like your event to feel more meaningful to your audience by giving them a little history.  Have you ever thought of creating a simple infographic to invite students to a historically significant event at the college?  It’s a whole lot more tweetable/”like-able” if you make it interesting enough to pass on.  One simple example is an infographic I created for my wedding.  After viewing this graphic, my hope is that potential guests know a little more about both of us, laugh a little, and remember it more than they would with a regular email or paper invitation.

faulk samuels infographic

Want to know more? Check out these articles:

From Annual Reports to Invitations, it’s always better to say it Visually

Follow Friday: Inspiration

by Kristen Abell

Are you seeking inspiration? In your work or in your life? If so, I have a couple people that you absolutely must follow – whether on Twitter or through their blogs.

Lisa Endersby – Lisa is a purveyor of awesome – whether it’s giving folks virtual high fives or her two cents (Canadian), Lisa is full of incredible ideas and inspiration. If you haven’t had the chance yet to watch her TED talk, please stop reading RIGHT NOW and go check it out. Seriously. Okay, done now? Now we can move on.

One of Lisa’s greatest strengths is not just her teaching, but in her ability to infect those around her with awesomeness. She is not just the star athlete, but the head cheerleader, too, and she will make sure that you know that you absolutely can do it – whatever “it” is. To tap into a little of this inspiration, go follow her on Twitter (if you aren’t already) or go check out her blog. Then come back and thank me later.

Amma Marfo – If Lisa is a purveyor of awesome, Amma is an introvert advocate – but she’s also an incredible writer. Consistently creating quality content (say that five times fast) on her blog and through her Twitter account, Amma makes all of us think a little bit more about how we work, how we interact with others, what we could do with our talents. If you’re reading her blog, you’ll know she’s also putting her talent to work at writing a book, and from time to time, she’ll ask for her readers’ input. So come on – go read Amma’s blog and give her some inspiration back – she deserves it.

Who do you follow for inspiration?

Follow Friday: Inspiration

Highlight a Woman: Jennielle Strother @EMjennielle

by Jess Faulk

There are great women out in the world doing great things.  Powerful women, inspiring women, and influential women.  Yet sometimes there are so many loud male voices it is hard to hear the voices of women, especially in fields where we are outnumbered – such as technology.  Women tend to contribute, to add value, and play support roles.  There is nothing wrong with that, support is important, but without female leaders, it is harder for women to see the value they bring into a space.  We need leaders, women that are willing to be in the front of the room, pulling together other women, and creating spaces to gain confidence.

I was recently watching Ed Cabellon’s Student Affairs Live broadcast on the #SATech Unconferences being created all over the country.  One of Ed’s guest, Jennielle Strother, Vice President of Enrollment Management at Seminary of the Southwest, spoke about creating a #satechTX focusing on Women in Technology.  I was impressed with Jennielle Strother to take the new (and spreading) #SATech concept, and make it unique by adding this focal area.

One of the reasons I blog for SA Women Talk Tech is because I feel like it is important for us to add female perspectives into the world of technology.  It shows other women that they also can be techie people, and it shows the world it is not a field solely dominated by women.  I am so excited by the fact that #satechTX created a space for that understanding and appreciation.  Jennielle and Michelle Lopez (@chellelopez)’s #SATech conference also shared the inspirational voices of Teri Bump (@tbump), Vice President of University Relations/Student Development at American Campus Communities and Dr. Gage E. Paine (@GagePaine), first female Vice President of Student Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. They created an important space for connection, learning, and creation.

From her bio: Jennielle Strother oversees recruitment, admissions, social media, and financial aid at the   Seminary of the Southwest, in Austin, TX.  She created a weekly twitter chat, #EMchat (Enrollment Management chat) and the #EMchat blog, so that higher education enrollment professionals have the platform to connect and share ideas about the enrollment management industry.

Check out what Jennielle is up to online by following her on one of her channels:

Thanks Jennielle for being an awesome woman in tech!

Highlight a Woman: Jennielle Strother @EMjennielle