Thursday, July 26, 2018

Happy New Year!

July 1 was the first day of SASFAA's new operating year.  Your new President and Executive Board has already been hard at work to lay the foundation for a productive and successful year full of valuable professional development opportunities and networking with colleagues from the southern region.

Welcome to the 2018-19 Year for SASFAA

As President of SASFAA, I welcome you to 2018-19.  Please know that the SASFAA Executive Board and Committee Chairs will be working for the entire SASFAA Membership all year.   The theme for this year is Fulfilling Dreams: Helping Students and the Financial Aid Community Achieve Greatness.  I know we cannot always make this happen for students, but so many times we are able to help students make their educational dreams attainable by the financial aid and services we provide to and for them throughout their entire career.   SASFAA helps the Financial Aid Community achieve greatness through all of the outstanding training and networking opportunities we offer each year, as well as just being there for each other.  Higher Education is going through some trying times right now, and all of us in financial aid need to support one another to continue to be successful aid administrators!  So, make a point this year to give a colleague at another institution a pat on the back, an inspirational quote, or just a kind word from time to time to brighten the day of an FAA. 

If you were a member of SASFAA in 2017-18, those benefits ended on July 15, 2018, so don’t delay, renew your SASFAA Membership today for the 2018-19 year.  We are going to have another great year, from a Management Institute this fall in Knoxville, TN to a Leadership Symposium prior to the 2019 Annual Conference to be held in Atlanta, GA at the Grand Hyatt Regency in the Buckhead area of the city.  Of course, we will also be offering Webinars throughout the year and to conclude the year we will have the SASFAA annual New Aid Officers Workshop to be held again at Wofford College, in Spartanburg, SC! 

Please renew your membership today.  If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, please email me at bryan.erslan@eku.edu.  Have a great rest of the summer, and look for all of the SASFAA Announcements throughout the year!  

Bryan P. Erslan
SASFAA President 2018-19

Role of SASFAA President

Each month in the SASFAA Blog, we highlight a couple positions on the board.  So, July is the month we look at my position.  First of all, please let me say that it is such an honor to be elected SASFAA President and serve in this role.  What an amazing association we have in SASFAA!   Our members are some of the most active and recognized colleagues you will find in the financial aid industry.  When I agreed to have my name on the ballot, and then was actually voted president, well, it has been a very humbling experience to say the least.  I am so glad to see that the person I ran against, decided to run the following year for president and is following me and will serve in the role of President Elect this year.  Congratulations Bill, I look forward to continued work with you the next couple of years!  I have seen many outstanding leaders in the financial aid industry serve in this role over the years.   My hope is to continue what SASFAA has been able to offer to our members, strong training events, advocacy at the federal level working closely with NASFAA and finally supporting each of the nine SASFAA states and their members by sharing ideas, time, training and really just getting to know the membership. 

In terms of the board meetings, my role is to facilitate discussion around the many issues, concerns, ideas and such that are brought forth through the board meetings.  I am to remain impartial and make sure both sides are heard equally, so that the Executive Board can make the best decision possible when votes are required.  You can find a list of all of our board meetings and locations on the SAFSAA website.

I can already tell that this year is going to go by at a very rapid pace and not everything that I hope to accomplish will be completed.  However, I am really excited about the training events that we are going to have this year.  Thanks to Celena Tullos and the Professional Advancement  Committee, there are numerous events throughout the year.   Dave Gelinas and Celena Tulloss are hard at work putting together the Management Institute that will be held in Knoxville, TN, October 8-9, 2018.  We are going to have some outstanding speakers and it is going to be a great opportunity for leaders in your office to enhance their management skills.  Also, if you know of an up and coming leader in your office or state, one of the pre-conference workshops next February will be a Leadership Symposium which will begin on the Saturday prior to the conference.  Katie Harrison and her conference committee met last weekend at the site of the 2019 Annual SASFAA Conference, the Grand Hyatt in Atlanta, GA, located in the Buckhead area of the city.  The conference will be held on February 17-20, 2019 so please mark your calendar and plan to attend.  As you know and have come to expect, we will have another outstanding SASFAA New Aid Officers Workshop (NAOW).   The workshop will return to Wofford College, in Spartanburg, SC June 2-7, 2019.  Celena and the entire NAOW staff will work hard to ensure another tremendously successful week.    Finally, keep an eye out for SASFAA webinars, which will be offered at different times throughout the year. 

As President, keeping all the balls in the air is quite the task, but that is why we have the Executive Board and Committee Chairs.   I am already depending on them so much and I know that over 90% of the work that gets done is because of each of them.   I would like to thank each one of them for their willingness to step up and serve SASFAA.  Many have served before, but for some this is the first go round, either as a Committee Chair or an elected position, be it a state president or one of the elected positions in SASFAA.   I look forward to working with you all this year. 

Finally, as I said initially, what we do as an Executive Board is about you all, the membership.  So, please share an idea, suggestion or just a note and let us know what is important to you.   Again, thank you for allowing me to serve this outstanding association and hopefully I will be seeing you at your state conference, or the annual conference in February!

Bryan P. Erslan
SASFAA President 2018-19