“We couldn’t run conferences without them!” says Christine Sismaet, Operations Manager, Conference Services. She’s referring to the students who work as conference assistants during the summer. Each student is teamed up with an assigned coordinator and in the process helps to put on and see to completion 30 to 40 overnight conferences.
The CAs do a VARIETY of activities, some of which include:
- entering data into the housing software
- collecting payments
- room assignments
- programming meal cards
- putting together materials for guest check in (customized for each conference)
- coordinating with custodial teams
- conducting deliveries and concierge services
- providing support for residence hall meeting spaces
In the process, the students earn money, of course, and they also gain valuable work experience that complements academic learning. For example Kassidy started as a CA last summer, then continued into the school year as a Meeting Services Assistant, and returned this summer for her second summer conference season as the CA Lead (first-ever lead position for Conference Services!).
Kassidy, who graduates next winter quarter, says her second year has been an outgrowth of the first and now includes more responsibilities. “Rather than a learning-focused environment, it’s a teaching-focused one as I spend my time training new staff members on the tasks I learned just last year,” she says. She also has had the chance to work with other HFS units and gain insights “into all of the ways our unit partners work with us to pull off successful conference season after successful conference season.”
Kassidy adds that working for Conference Services has shed light on her strengths, allowed her to grow her skills, including those of leadership, in new areas, “and has provided me with an invaluable network of both mentors and friends.”
Plus she and her cohorts help to keep those conferences going.