Northern Exposure

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“Recreation. Career. Conference. You've got to participate!” is the motto for this year's National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association's (NIRSA) Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Exposition, April 18-21. About 2,100 attendees and more than 130 exhibitors will travel north for the show located in half of the Twin Cities — Minneapolis — for more than 70 educational sessions, meetings and some fun in the land of 10,000 (often frozen) lakes.

“A lot of factors go into selecting a show site, including ease of travel, proximity of hotels to the convention center, opportunities for social activities, and the number and proximity of colleges and universities,” says Katherine Otten, spokesperson for NIRSA. “Minneapolis delivers in all these areas and is such a wonderful city.”

Besides the new location, this year's show is different than years past in many ways. The most notable difference is that the show has been condensed from five days to four because of member suggestions that five days were too long for recreation professionals' busy campus schedules. However, the trade show floor will still be open for two days: from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, and from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 20. Expo workouts will be held from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, and from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 20.

Although the average high temperature for Minneapolis in April is well above freezing (57 degrees to be exact), another new event is an ice skating party from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at the University of Minnesota's Ridder Arena, home of the Golden Gopher women's hockey team. Not a fan of the ice? Don't worry. Instructors will be on hand to assist beginners or those who might need some skating pointers. Transportation to the arena will also be provided, as will skates. For those who work up an appetite in the rink, food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Also new this year, attendees won't have to wait until they arrive on-site to decide on which educational sessions they want to attend. All the education session descriptions and learning objectives are online at www.nirsa.org, so attendees can plan their schedules early, says Otten.

The show is also going green.

“As a member of the Higher Education Association's Sustainability Consortium, we're ramping up our green efforts by drastically reducing the amount of printed materials in the career opportunities center, using recycled paper for our conference program, and recycling and re-using name badges,” says Otten.

Two other new events are the panels “Succeeding on Your Terms: Secrets of Women Leaders,” which will share stories about senior women leaders and their career paths, and “What Do We STAND For? An Update,” where attendees can hear the final recommended revisions to NIRSA's collegiate standards for recreational sports with the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.

Other events include keynote speaker and Internet phenom Judson Laipply at the opening general session at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18. Laipply is best known as the creator of “The Evolution of Dance,” the most viewed video on YouTube.com with more than 30 million views. His light-hearted presentation will address the inevitability of change. Other speakers include industry veteran Gay Gasper, N~Compass Consulting owner Kathy Cleveland Bull and “The Motion Coach” Bonnie Dean.

The annual T-shirt exchange will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19. Later that evening, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. (no, that's not a misprint), NIRSA attendees can dance it up at The Depot, a restored Milwaukee Road train station in downtown Minneapolis. Transportation will be provided to and from the event. Food and beverages also will be provided.

Whether it's for networking, sitting in on an educational session or skating around, college recreation professionals are making the trek north to the 2007 NIRSA Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Exposition. It's destined to be a very cool time.

Schedule of Events
(As of January 29, 2007)

Wednesday, April 18

8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Pre-conference workshops

8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
NIRSA Foundation golf tournament

Noon - 3:30 p.m.
NIRSA Foundation career opportunities center

4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Opening general session, featuring Judson Laipply, “The Dance Guy”

6 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Mall of America networking social theme night, dinner provided

7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
New member welcome at the Mall of America

Thursday, April 19

8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
NIRSA Foundation career opportunities center

8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Budget review session

8:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Educational sessions

Noon - 1 p.m.
New committee chair meeting

1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Regional business meetings (check-in at 1 p.m.)

3:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Recreational sports exposition grand opening

3:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
NIRSA Foundation career opportunities center

4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Expo workout

5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Dinner in the expo hall

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
T-shirt exchange in the expo hall

7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
People of color social at the Hilton Hotel

9 p.m. - 2 a.m.
NIRSA dance party at the Depot

Friday, April 20

6:30 a.m. - 8 a.m.
Expo workout

8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
NIRSA Foundation career opportunities center

8:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Educational sessions

9:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Student business meeting

10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Recreational sports exposition final day

11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Lunch in the expo hall

Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Past presidents' lunch

Noon - 3:30 p.m.
NIRSA Foundation career opportunities center

1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Educational sessions

1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Expo workout

4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Annual business meeting (check-in begins at 3:30 p.m.)

6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
NIRSA Foundation career opportunities center

6 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Independent socials

7 p.m. - 10 p.m.
NIRSA ice skating party

Saturday, April 21

8 a.m. - Noon
NIRSA Foundation career opportunities center

8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
New committee meetings

8:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Educational sessions

12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Take a student to lunch

2 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Educational sessions

6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Honor awards banquet

For a complete listing of exhibitors, go to: www.nirsa.org/conference/2007/current_exhibitors.aspx.

Members Affected by Hurricanes Offered Financial Relief

The NIRSA Board of Directors recently extended the financial relief offered to NIRSA members in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas who were directly affected by hurricane damage, including members who provided refuge and material support to those in need. The relief includes a registration fee waiver for NIRSA members applicable to the Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Exposition and all NIRSA symposia, schools and institutes held between Oct. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2007. Membership renewals will be waived a second year for those qualifying who request it. For more info, contact nirsa@nirsa.org.

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