THE APCA STORY
The APCA Story | Eric Lambert, Executive Director of APCA
My gosh, things have changed! When you read the APCA mission, it’s a simple statement. Over the years, we have learned that simple is best. As we read that now, we are reminded how clearly it has defined our purpose over the last 25+ years and still serves us well in the midst of this pandemic and social upheaval.
We’ve had some massive challenges and successes recently, but we believe the greatest success of all is that we have managed to make a difference. We have made a difference to countless students, who have been engaged by our innovative virtual training and programs. Likewise, we’ve helped thousands of advisors adapt their professional development to make a difference in engagement during these difficult times.
The mission of the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA) is to promote campus engagement through quality educational experiences, affordable entertainment, and community service initiatives.
Change and Challenges
The only consistent thing in life is change. APCA has seen radical changes in student services priorities since its inception, but nothing like we have experienced with the onset of COVID social distancing issues. What students want from their advisors, what services are most important to them, and even what they want from an institution have all dramatically shifted. Technology and new streaming platforms have changed from interesting to critical for our very existence.
Our students’ connections to their institutions and their fellow students are now almost exclusively online, often completely removed from personal interactions. While that is a very necessary way to engage with the academic and social experience, it is a challenge for developing leadership and interpersonal skill sets.
As APCA has grown and changed over the years, innovation remains the most important factor in the implementation of our mission. We have become the industry leader in online engagement techniques, incorporating web-based, social media and streaming training options to adapt to this new virtual reality.
APCA has led the conference market in the introduction of virtual engagement options, streaming interactive meetings for artists and schools, and providing affordable resources for traditional universities and commuter campuses. We’ve also led the way by being the first to commit to virtual conferences that help members avoid travel expenses and save money on their bookings. We understand that right now, you need to spend less time on the road and more with your families.
Personal Connections Through Personal Interactions
APCA is a family. That’s our most important characteristic. While we have been proud to lead the way in creating solutions to the market’s logistical challenges, we have also been careful to craft them as opportunities to develop enduring professional relationships. We are proud of our long history of developmental interaction between advisors and students, and between associates and schools.
These interactions can increase trust and facilitate meaningful partnerships with student life professionals. They likewise provide invaluable learning opportunities and enhance the student leadership experience.
APCA will never design or adopt an impersonal, anonymous system of any kind to replace productive, personal interactions. We feel it is counterproductive to student learning, staff development, and ultimately to the quality of leadership experience our students deserve.
The Most Important Thing
So it has come to this: over twenty-five years of APCA. What a wonderful and fascinating journey it has been. We have made so many good friends in this industry, and sadly lost some as well. We have created and implemented new innovations in the industry that have changed its face forever, but we have remained true to our mission.
As we remember the wonderful times in many wonderful cities, we always come back to the one simple thing that has inspired us to continue this journey. Once again, it is simple.
Love is defined here as the willingness to extend yourself for the sake of others. It’s the love shown by our staff and volunteers to mentor and serve at events. It might be the love of our associates working to take care of their families, or the love of our students for their peers and campuses. We see the love of the advisors, who sacrifice their family time to help develop students. Most of all, we see the love of our own families, who sacrifice as much as we do.
So, ultimately our strength is in our sacrifices. We are committed to being an organization worthy of those sacrifices.
We have had an amazing 25+ years. We certainly hope to have an amazing 25 more. It all comes down to a personal connection and rolling with the changes. We love you all, our APCA family. Thank you for being with us.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Our mission is to help student life departments with limited resources make more of an impact on their campuses. APCA is staunch advocate of purposeful programming that incorporates meaningful, assessable learning outcomes that can improve retention levels on your campus.