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

Greetings from Virginia, SASFAA!

Here we go again!  Another year, another President!  My thanks to Biz Daniel and all who served VASFAA so well during our wonderful 50th year!  It was truly momentous! 

The VASFAA theme for 2018-2019 is “Be the light…and the voice!”  Our 2018-2019 leadership team is doing our best to hit the ground running and to model the theme.  Outgoing 2017-2018 and incoming 2018-2019 Board members, select committee chairs, and a few paranormal “guests” met June 3-5 for a wonderful transition retreat held at the historic Carter Hall Conference Center in Millwood, Virginia.  More on the paranormal later!

Following the 2017-2018 final Board meeting, retreat participants engaged in group activities that helped us define our values, arrive at an updated mission statement, and reach preliminary consensus on goals for a new strategic plan.  The Board approved our new mission statement:

The mission of the Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (VASFAA) is to provide a safe and open environment for financial aid professionals from all sectors to interact, learn, and exchange ideas.  With the highest level of integrity, VASFAA provides training and support and advocates for the profession so students and families seeking to afford post-secondary education in the Commonwealth are well-served. 

A concentric circle exercise was followed by small group work to “image” a better VASFAA.  Group members were pleasantly surprised that each small group approached the exercise in a slightly different way but arrived at very similar conclusions as to what we wanted VASFAA to be.  As incoming President, I will compile their work into a proposed strategic plan with specific “To Do List” items.

A balanced budget was presented thanks to the Budget & Finance Committee, who held a planning meeting two weeks before the retreat and presented a well-constructed, tentative budget.  Committee chairs were charged with preparing tentative goals for the year prior to the retreat, which they shared during the retreat.  All who completed volunteer forms will be contacted for specific committees.

Back to the paranormal….  Carter Hall is a magnificent 1700’s estate--with a glorious floating two-story staircase—first owned by the family of King Carter and now owned by the Hope Foundation, the nonprofit organization that originally sailed the world in the USS Hope providing medical and emergency assistance to areas in crisis.   During the Civil War, Stonewall Jackson used the home as a base, and troops camped below the house on the beautiful rolling hills of the estate.  After the Carter family held it for several generations, the pharmaceutical giant who developed Listerine was one of the owners during the 1900’s.

What we discovered was that we weren’t the only ones who didn’t want to leave this pastoral location.   Our last night there, at least four individuals in our group—none of whom are easily unnerved—experienced some type of strange activity in our individual rooms.  Only one individual actually fled her room in the middle of the night and slept downstairs on the couch when “someone” slapped her on the hip and told her to “turn on light!”  Another had someone sit down hard on her bad; another heard people talking all night long—but everyone was asleep, and no homes or real people were anywhere near!

Yes, I know this is difficult to believe, but don’t discount it!  We were told this happens at Carter Hall frequently.  Sometimes the staff members even see and hear the soldiers in the encampment down below the house. (Maybe these were the same voices heard by our VASFAA Board member that night!)  One particular room seems to have the most activity—activity that made for a wakeful last night. 

We were told the spirits have always been friendly, and no one has ever had a truly negative experience—unless having a spirit in your room is “negative”!  As the mother of one of the staff members told her after an encounter, “It’s not the dead ones you need to worry about!”

Committee Chairs for 2018-2019

Budget & Finance                                        Joe Dobrota (with assistance from Clint Young)

Conference                                                    Jackie Cottom & Julie Finn

Charity                                                          Wynde Walker
Development Partner                                   Dianne Fulmer & Anthony Humphreys

Electronic Services                                       Chad Sartini

Funds Manager                                            Vern Fairchilds

Government Relations                                    Brett Lief (Federal) & Brad Barnett (State)

Membership                                                  Biz Daniel & Beth Armstrong
Newsletter                                                     Zita Barree

Secondary School &
Community Relations/                                 Jack Zegeer & Mike O’Grady

Site Selection                                                 Tarik Boyd


2018-2019 VASFAA Calendar

Tuesday, September 18, Sweet Briar College                      VASFAA Directors’ Summit
(All who arrive the night before are invited to dinner at the home of Biz Daniel!)

Friday, September 21, 10:00 a.m.                                        H S Counselors’ Webinar

Tuesday, October 16, Zehmer Hall, UVA                              VASFAA Fall Training
            Packed agenda, including, but not limited to:
·         Enduring Difficult People and Surviving Active Shootings
Lt. John Weinstein & Chief Dan Dusseau, NOVA Police
·         Determining Homelessness Without a Liaison
·         When Disaster Hits at the Worst Possible Time
Wayne Kruger, St. Petersburg CC; JoEllen Soucier, Houston CC;  Jana Cox, Santa Rosa Junior College and Attain
·         Advocating for Students
Ellen Davenport, Assistant Vice Chancellor – Government Relations, VCCS

Wednesday, October 17, Carruthers Hall, UVA                   VASFAA Fall Board Meeting

December, 2018, NOVA + Sites TBD                                   H.S Counselor Workshops

Thurs-Fri, February 7-8, Hilton Norfolk The Main             VASFAA Winter Board Meeting

Saturday, May 4, Hilton Norfolk The Main                           VASFAA Spring Board Meeting

Sunday-Wednesday, May 5-8, Hilton Norfolk The Main     VASFAA Conference

Joan Zanders
VASFAA President 2018-19

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