Friday, April 13, 2018

'Tis the Season to Reflect, Plan, and Volunteer!


Lessons of The Heart….

February is the month of love. The one date most people circle and prepare for, is February 14th - Valentine’s Day. It is estimated that $18.2 billion is spent just for Valentine’s Day, a day when love is typically depicted by a heart. The heart is significant as it is a vital piece of our anatomy. A heart is defined as a hollow, muscular organ that pumps blood through the circulatory system by rhythmic contraction and dilation. Valentine’s Day is not the only day in February that is dedicated to the heart.

February was also Heart Health Month.  February 3, Wear RED Day raises awareness of women's heart health. What is heart disease and why is that important? Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect the overall health of your heart. The term "heart disease" is often used interchangeably with the term "cardiovascular disease." Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke. Did you carry forward from February a plan to protect your own heart health?  It's not too late to make healthy choices for now and the future.

When I reflect, I see that my once active lifestyle has ended and a new, sedentary lifestyle has begun. I see that food choices made when I was in my twenties no longer work for me in my forties. I see that I make time for almost everything except daily exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block with the dog. Sound familiar? You are not alone. As a financial aid community we assist one another immediately with the ever changing rules and regulations of financial aid. I think it is time that we use that same energy to promote a healthy lifestyle in our offices and our financial aid community.

Many forms of heart disease can be prevented with healthy life style choices. Take the time to create a group at work. Groups can keep each other accountable. Start a walk, run, or bike after work club. Take one day each month to showcase heart healthy recipes at an office breakfast or luncheon. To help get you started, here's a heart healthy breakfast idea that can prepared at home and taken on the go.

Banana Nut Baked Oatmeal

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal boasts the delicious flavor of banana bread, but it's made with wholesome oats, pecans, and coconut oil for a healthy, filling breakfast!
½ cup pecans, chopped (plus additional for garnish)
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large or 3 medium bananas)
3/4 cup milk (or almond milk, or another dairy-free milk)
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, melted and slightly cooled 
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray an 8-inch square baking dish.  Spread chopped pecans on an ungreased baking sheet and toast for 4 to 6 minutes or until fragrant and light golden brown. Set aside to cool on baking sheet.  Add the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the milk, banana, egg, oil, and vanilla. Slowly pour in the melted syrup, whisking constantly.  Add the oat mixture to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer to the greased baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle the toasted nuts on top of the baked oatmeal and cool slightly before serving.  Yields 6 servings

Take a moment and verify that you are moving forward with a healthy heart.  Create a transcript of the activities and healthy choices that you are making.  Award yourself after making healthy lifestyle changes.  Chose not to return back to your old ways, as they will no longer be satisfactory.

Get involved and get active!

Sean Johnson

SASFAA Global Issues Committee
FASFAA Global Issues Chair


Words from North Carolina

Greetings from the Old North State.  When preparing for our annual spring conference in Wrightsville Beach, NC I was once again reminded of the theme I chose for my year as President of NCASFAA.  It was divine intervention when I decided this theme,  and once I made the decision, I could not turn back. “A lamp unto their feet, and a light unto our path.”  We can apply this to both our professional and personal lives. 

In the thirteen years I have been in this profession I have seen many students lose their way, as I am sure each of you have, on their path to graduation. It is one of our many duties, as financial aid administrators, to offer guidance to those students. To help them stay on track as best we can to reach that goal that we try to make attainable for everyone. It is our job to be “a lamp unto THEIR feet.”

The constantly changing federal and state regulations make it difficult for us to keep abreast of our own jobs sometimes.  We ask questions through our respective list-serves and through FinAid-L. We go to federal, regional, and state training, attend webinars, or simply pick up the phone and call our colleagues for help.  We act as mentors for each other, and we are mentees as well.  We must be “a light unto OUR path.”

We serve in a much broader way than many other offices on a college campus. We counsel those that cry in our offices because they just can’t handle the course load and may lose their aid; hug the recipients of scholarships that will help provide for their family now or someday in the future.  We must know a little about Admissions, academic advising, teaching and study methods, and a whole lot about life. 
Being a financial aid administrator affords us the ability to change lives. It is more often than not a thankless job.  But when we see the fruit of our labors, it is more than worth it.  When that student walks across the stage, receives a diploma, and shakes the hand, remember to whisper in your head, “You’re welcome!” Remember that it is YOU who helps students get there.  YOU are the lamp unto their feet.  When you see a colleague get a promotion, or elected to an office in SASFAA, know that YOU were a light unto that path.  We are all in this thing called life together, and cannot make it on our own.  We must work together to succeed.  We must be “a lamp unto their feet, and a light unto our path.”

God bless,

Jason J Johnson

NCASFAA President 2017-18


If you attended SASFAA in February or a state conference in the last few years, you've no doubt seen information and invitations for volunteering to serve the associations.  It's that time of year when many of us reflect on the events of the past year, review our previous goals and accomplishments, and begin to plan for the coming year.  SASFAA is also currently doing the same.  Board members recently submitted the annual assessment of their goals and work to President Oliver, and President-elect Erslan is putting the final touches on his goals for 2018-19.

If you've EVER volunteered, THANK YOU!  You helped make a difference for many, not just in this profession, but in the lives of students, too.  You brought your individual perspective and experiences forward to help shape the professional knowledge and experiences of others.

If you've NEVER volunteered, it's understandable that we all have conflicts which postpone or prevent volunteering from year to year.  But I would ask that you really reflect on your accomplishments, own your victories and experiences, and decide to share them with others, so that the ripple effect of your energy can reach far beyond your own campus.  You just might surprise yourself and find that you enjoy things you've never tried before, and you have superpowers you haven't yet used.

The time to volunteer for the coming year is here!  Please click this link and choose which committee(s) you'd like to join.

Reflections of two 2017-18 Communications and Outreach Committee Members

“We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.”
Katie Thurmes.  

I love this quote.  Thinking back to the 2018 SASFAA Conference, there are many moments that stand out to me.  Being behind the camera lens was a lot of fun and it gave me an opportunity to meet many people.  It was fun to see the different reactions you get when you ask the question, “Can I take your picture?”  While not everyone was thrilled with the idea of having their picture taken, no one refused…thankfully!

One of several of my favorite parts during this conference was to have the honor of taking pictures of the two award recipients, Nathan Basford and Lisanne Masterson.  Many of you know these two wonderful people very well but I have only had the pleasure of getting to know them in the last year or so.  During this time of getting to know them I have learned that they are both very different, as were their reactions.  I feel like the moments that were captured through the lens show that they both shared the same emotions but their expressions were different.  Once Nathan got over the initial shock that it was him; there were a few tears that followed, but his smile was so big that it lit up the room.  Lisanne had such poise and grace; you could see the shock on her face, but she had the sweetest smile.  The one thing they both seemed to share was how honored they were to receive such recognition. 

Another moment was to see the faces of those in the crowd as Nathan and Lisanne were presented their awards.  We say that Financial Aid is different than most offices in our institutions and between schools, but to see the love and the pride on so many faces in the crowd during those moments was reaffirming.  Many of us had tears that were being wiped away or smiles on our faces because of the joy that we had to see two people that are highly respected and friends to many of us honored. 
One time I was very glad to be behind the camera was during the fashion show.  You know the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words…well, I have no words for some of these pictures.    However, I have to say that it was one of the funniest nights that I have had at a SASFAA conference.  The emcee was great and the models were fun to watch as they showed off their attire. 

Being behind the camera was so much fun and it definitely gave me a different perspective of the moments that will be looked back to in the future.

Amber Singletary

Communications and Outreach Committee


Taking pictures.
Approaching ‘strangers.’
New experiences.

I am not a photographer. I am an introvert. I don’t even like to have my picture taken.
Some of that changed during SASFAA 2018 in Alexandria, VA. Sarah Dowd asked me to take pictures for both the awards luncheon and on the final day of the conference.

I was able to capture some moments during the awards luncheon and watch the reactions of award winners through the lens of my tablet. That offered me unique perspective from the floor and watching the crowd. It was an honor to watch colleagues receive their awards.

By Wednesday of the conference, everyone is tired and preparing to go home. I came to breakfast, got some much-needed caffeine in my system and walked around with the camera. Approaching people to take their picture is not something I would have normally been comfortable doing but after the first few replies of  “yes” and “sure,” I warmed up and approached people with a smile and some good-natured jokes.

This opportunity allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. I got to say “so-long” to new friends, and “see you soon” to some of my state counterparts.

SAFSAA – through a lens – a new perspective.

Jill Towns

Communications and Outreach Committee 

No comments: