Recently I attended a farewell send-off event for a colleague who is leaving the institution to pursue a new opportunity. It’s exciting and overall meaningful to celebrate the wins of others. In reflecting as a professional, I recognize the value of taking time to celebrate someone’s arrival and someone’s departure.
These are both critical moments in one’s career – in particular within student affairs, because so much of the work is about people. Student affairs professionals know that the work comes with a lot of emotional and mental energy required. It’s a lot of wondering if what you’re doing matters and a lot of reminding yourself that the time you put into projects and outreach and conversations with students about their lives, past, present, and future actually mean something. So, of course a send-off to someone is something that should have some thought and care. Here were my favorite aspects of the send-off that I think should be a part of everyone’s farewell.
A signing board
Something that allows people to share a friendly note. It provides the recipient the opportunity to reflect for days to come and smile!
Space to mingle
Because physical space is always important when it comes to events. Sometimes, you need an office for a 3-person meeting. Sometimes you need a boardroom with access to a computer and projector. For send-offs, I think a small to medium space (depending on the size of institution) helps make the event feel warm and inviting.
Because it does something for the air, literally setting the pace for the slow and busy moments of life.
Last and most certainly not least! Good food can really set the tone and give people the opportunity to enjoy time together with treats that you do not typically get every day in the office.
In events like this within the field, it’s also important that colleagues and students are invited. The extra special part about working in student affairs are the connections made with students and your colleagues/peers. I’m looking forward to learning more about what special components help make a farewell gathering extra special.