“Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use.” – Thomas J. Watson
It’s been two years since my last letter to the #SAchat community and as we move into our eighth year, I figured now was a great time to write a follow up.
Since the community has exponentially grown with new members since my last letter, below is a reposting of the history before I dig into our current state and what to expect for 2013.
I started The Student Affairs Collaborative in 2005, with Kevin Prentiss, to test a hypothesis that a decentralized, open system of peer-to-peer learning built around shared interests would increase engagement and retention.
We wanted to create a community in which everyone was a teacher at some level, and everyone supported each other to become more involved. A place for Student Affairs Professionals to come together and digitally play, learn, and grow from each other.
In the beginning, 100% of the content was written by me, Kevin, and Del Suggs. We then bribed our student affairs friends with cookies to help us write content, and slowly, over time, the site gained a readership. The SA Collaborative started to become the go-to place online for student affairs professionals to receive and share knowledge from their peers. The growth remained steady, and then Twitter came along…
In 2009, over tea at Panera Bread with Debra Sanborn, I pitched the idea of a weekly chat via Twitter for student affairs professionals, which would mimic the already established #EDchat (for teachers) and #JourChat (for journalist). She nodded excitedly at the idea (as she does with all new ideas), and a couple weeks later, on Oct 8th, 2009, we attempted our first #SAchat.
I remember telling my wife how nervous I was that it was just going to be me and Debra tweeting back and forth for an hour, and it would never take off because there were no student affairs people on Twitter. I kept a shot of vodka close by to calm my nerves just in case :-).
The chat started extremely slow, but within 15 minutes a couple of people joined us from out of nowhere. Twitter still hasn’t opened up its history past Feb 2010, so the data can’t be verified yet.
Many years later, the vision and mission of this community remain the same.
Where We Are Now
- The #SAchat Awards – The #SAchat community is filled with so many amazing Student Affairs Professions worth recognizing for the value they give to others and to the community as a whole. From raising stars to established thought leaders, the #SAchat Awards will cover it all as a way to celebrate the great members who make it a great community.
- #SAchat Meetups – Moving from online connections to offline friendships is a critical element to sustaining any community and through the years, many informal #SAchat meetups have taken place in which many life long friendships were formed. This year, we’re stepping up our game to help make more meetups happen so more friendships can be formed.
- The #SAchat #SAgrow Scholarship – An idea originally pioneered by Ed Cabellon to help champion the next generation of Student Affairs Professionals, we plan to carry the torch forward and use the power of our community to continue to see it grow through the next generation.
- #SAchat Partnerships – At the beginning of December 2012, we used one of our weekly chats to partner and promote ACPA’s Commission for Social Justice Educators (CSJE). As #SAchat continues to grow, we want to make sure the entire SA ocean is growing as well, and partnerships, like with CSJE, will ensure that happens. Expect more of this to come in 2013. If you are part of a SA community and would like to partner with us, drop us a comment below and we’ll follow up.
Every time I thumb through the #SAchat Twitter feed, I’m blown away. I’ve never experienced a community this large be so willing to support, inspire, challenge, and laugh with each other. From brand new members to long time matriarchs/patriarchs, everyone seems to find a way to gain some value and give some value to fellow members. #SAchat truly is a place of peer-to-peer learning.
Having said all that, I am really only one small tiny part of the full volunteer leadership team that runs #SAchat and 99.99% of the credit for the past year goes to Erica Thompson, Seth Hagler, Lisa Endersby, Julie Larsen, and Jay Chauhan. They are truly leaders giving their time and talents to the world.
Here’s to another 365 sunrises and sunsets on our great community! Queue the fireworks.