Hello #SAWorld, it’s me, Brian! I’m currently serving as the Assistant Manager for the University Activities Board (UAB) at Michigan State University. I joined the UAB family back in October of 2014. As one of two assistant managers, I directly advise three of our undergraduate program directors, one of our graduate assistants, and coordinate the annual Spring and Holiday Arts & Crafts Show. I am also a daily practitioner of “other duties as assigned” :D.
A typical day begins with a good cup (or two) of coffee, an obligatory selfie to Instagram and a “good morning” on Twitter on my walk into work. I’ll normally create a plan of action for the day with goals and things I need to do in my head as I walk…and then by the time I walk into the MSU Union, my day tends to divert from the agenda I mentally created on my way in and am immediately off to the races with other situations and needs.
Now, while a “typical” day is “untypical”, every day does have some regularly repeating components, such as meetings, advising sessions, professional development and lunch with the staff and students in our workspace. Normally each day I will try to empty my email box, and do some type of financial and administrative tasks. A majority of my “at the desk” time is dedicated to facilitating introductions between collaborators, partners, sponsors, student organizations, colleagues and offices/departments and my advisees for their programs and logistical needs.
One of the best things about our team is that we team advise and at any moment in time, any one of our students can go to any one of the staff for advice, guidance or logistical needs. So my door is always open and there’s always a constant flow of students and colleagues coming in and out of my office almost every minute of the day for advice, updates or anything else. Now, in those moments when I need to calm down, get some perspective or take a break, I always have my plethora of pandas that are all over my office to help me relax. 🙂
Additionally, being involved with a few professional development (PD) organizations and conferences I normally have something to do a few times a week for PD whether it be moderating a hashtag conversation, work on a conference, or research for my next conference proposal on a variety of issues I’m interested in.
Unlike many Student Affairs positions, there’s a large fundraising component to my position. Michigan State’s Activities Board is an auxiliary component of the university. So the majority of the budget we utilize to program our 400+ events with, is fundraised throughout the year, and is coordinated by each of the professional staff in our office. I coordinate the two largest single event fundraisers, our Holiday and Spring Arts & Crafts Show, with 170+ vendors and 314+ vendors respectively.
With programming and advising during the academic year, the summer time is the only time to really make changes (both administrative and creative), build and research new practices and look into new initiatives. Because at all times I’m gearing up for the next Arts & Crafts Show. #neveradullmoment.
It’s actually really exciting. 🙂
One thing that has surprised me the most has been the new perspective I have for an activities office who must fundraise the majority of their programming budget. Unlike my previous institutions where I was been provided the funds through student fees, my current position has really provided me a better understanding in regards to how to make every dollar count.
The other unexpected things that I’ve encountered with my position is how fast MSU students adapt to pandas AND how absolutely amazing I look in Green and White 🙂
But overall it’s the constant engagement and activity in student programming which I love and the fact that I get to do this every day and that every day will be completely different from the one before is the best!
So that’s a Day in the Life of me, Brian. 🙂
This post is part of our #dayinSA series on highlighting the diversity of functional areas in the field of student affairs. We will hear from #SApros of all kinds – academic advisors, office mangagers, res hall directors, vice provosts of SA, and many many more. Each will share exactly what their typical day looks like, what exactly they work on, and what makes them want to come to work each day. We hope to squash stereotypes within the field and celebrate all the different kinds of great work that #SApros do. For more information, check out the intro post by Sara Ackerson. Be sure to read the other posts in this series too!