5 Free Technologies for the Student Affairs Grad

Ok, so hopefully not only #satech people are reading this because I’m sure that they’re all well aware of these technologies. Either way, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tech tools that help to make my life a little easier every day. I really like all of these services and they each have a free feature to them and some are entirely free. To be taken to the sites for the services, just click on their respective logos.

Dropbox is one of my favorite tools. If you’re like me, you’re constantly on multiple computers. You’re used to using a flash drive on which you keep important files that you’ve been working on for work or in the case of an #sagrad, school. Dropbox eliminates the need for dependency on a flash drive. It’s a program that you install on the computers you use (there is also a way to log in and access files from the web via dropbox.com) that syncs the documents in a specific folder, called My Dropbox, to the web and then, to the other computers that you have linked to your DropBox account. The minute you save a change to a word document or drop another item into your Dropbox folder, it syncs with the online version. The best part? A free account features 2gb of storage. More than enough space if you’re using it to work on Word, Powerpoint, Excel, or PDF documents. If you want to go entirely on the cloud, check out googledocs.


I’ll be the first to admit I’m a HUGE fan of Google. I think that they’ve completely changed the way that we collaborate online. Googledocs, for those unfamiliar, enables users to create word documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and many other forms of documents in an online environment. Users can then elect to share the documents with others and choose whether or not they want those users to be able to make changes for to the document.
If you’re unsure, you should at least check it out if only for the web forms feature. How many times have you sent out department wide emails to staff or students asking them to email you back a simple request? Your email inbox then gets flooded with responses and it can be very overwhelming. Google forms change that. Create a new form, select the type and number of questions you want to ask, then email the link out. The information submitted in the form will be collected in a spreadsheet and stored in the documents section of your google account. If you don’t want to use your personal account, you can always start a new google account with your university email address. Eliminate unnecessary email today by checking this out.


Ok,  so I’m relatively new to this one but so far, it’s been great in setting up meetings with students.  I discovered it when setting up a meeting with @TomKrieglstein to discuss social media. It is a tool that allows you to show your calendar availability to others outside of your organization. You don’t have to take the time to share your calendar with others; you just send the link to others and they can select times that they’d like to meet according to the availablity on your calendar. This proves to be especially useful when you don’t have an administrative assistant to schedule your appointments (as we #sagrads often do not). In addition, it allows individuals to select multiple times on your calendar so that you can select the time that you want to meet. Check it out at tungle.com.


Wufoo forms have completely revolutionized the way that we do a lot of our processes in our office resulting in more communication, collaboration, and less headaches. They are very versatile and really help to streamline processes. The best part? You can get three free forms with 10 fields each. With that being said, we’ve upgraded our plan so that we can collect more submissions BUT regardless, these can be a useful tool if you’re just using the service to collect weekly reports from RAs. For our duty logs, we used to have the person on duty fill out a word document at the end of their shift, email it to their supervisor, then their supervisor would read it and notify anyone of any concerns, and would then save it on the shared network drive. That’s a whole lot of work. Now that our duty log is web based, the RA fills out the duty log, submits it and it is emailed to everyone in the office and archived in a shared email account. In addition, the online service stores the information in a database that can be downloaded in the form of an excel sheet. I’ve created an example of a weekly report form for RAs, click here to see it in action! Also, feel free to enter your information if you want to see what the form looks like when it arrives in my email inbox.


Ok, so that last four have mainly focused on productivity tools but I think that this tool, if used correctly, can really help with productivity as well. I also included it because it’s really fun! I know at some institutions you can only send emails out to a set number of people (usually around 100) at a time. In addition, our students are so over-emailed that they often ignore a message without reading any of the content.  This site helps you send out mass emails, track the open rate of those emails, and make them visually appealing all at once. It’s super easy to use. It helps create customized, HTML emails for you to send out to individuals that look great. At DePauw we create a monthly email newsletter to send out to residents and we’ve received really good feedback about it. Check out an example of an email newsletter we send out.

Well there they are! Hopefully at least one of them can help your life as an #sagrad become a little bit easier.


“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” – Anthony Brandt

My family came to visit me this weekend and stayed with me in my apartment. Luckily, students are just returning to campus from spring break so it has been relatively quiet. As I’ve been spending more time with my family, it’s occurred to me how much I miss taking the time to spend time with family. I think that sometimes, as a grad student I pay so much attention to the things in my immediate surroundings (school, work, internship, students, & partner) that it becomes easy to forget about the individuals that helped me to achieve what I have today.

As grad students, I think we attribute our success to the individuals who mentored us during our undergraduate experiences. We speak highly of the student affairs practitioners that took a special interest in us and our journeys and look to them with high regard. The individuals that we often forget to pay notice to are those in our families that supported us along the way.

They supported me through my undergraduate years and now they’re supporting me as I pursue my graduate degree. I’m not sure that they completely understand what I’m doing but they’re always there to listen and support me when I’ve had a long day, am stressed, or am having difficulty with work or school. I’m grateful for my family and the support and encouragement that they give me. Through all of the ups and downs of life, they seem to be the one constant thing.

Have you shown your appreciation for your family lately?


I’ve decided that I’m officially going to embark on the journey of writing a thesis. I really want a greater understanding of how interactions on social media sites like facebook.com are affecting interpersonal relationships between students on campus and within residence halls. Rey Junco articulated the different interactions of individuals on social networking sites in an article Civil Discourse in the Age of Social Media. It’s been my observation that civil discourse isn’t often practiced by college students on social networking sites and this leads to roommate conflicts, suite mate conflicts, and conflicts within student organizations.

We know that these conflicts take place, but how do these interactions compare to face-to-face interactions? Additionally, what are the implications of negative social media interactions on a college student’s development of interpersonal relationship skills? It’s my hope that with some research, I can begin to find out more about this…


I’ll preface this post with this: I am a 1st year graduate student in SAHE and am therefore an infant in the world of Student Affairs compared to many of the individuals whom have dedicated years to the field.

Now to my point…
Today I, along with many others in Student Affairs, received an email from a group running a NASPA Yes! campaign. The email detailed the reasons why NASPA and ACPA should not consolidate to form one organization and provided a link to their new website, http://www.supportnaspa.com. 

I do not personally feel qualified or educated enough on the merger or the two organizations, both of which I am a member, to decide whether the two very historic organizations should be consolidated. We’ve had the debate in class, I’ve discussed it with peers and coworkers, and I certainly have my own opinions on the matter but, once again, I’m very new to the field. 

What I do know is this. As a graduate student who hopes to spend most of my career in the field, it frustrates me to see so much anger surrounding this subject. Debate needs to take place, but not at the expense of the close knit environment within higher education. I came into this field through the nurturing and guidance of student affairs professionals and it saddens me to see student affairs professionals so heated about this topic. 

In uncertain economic times, we should be uniting to form alliances to support higher education. In Indiana, higher education was cut by $150 million in 2009 and is facing more cuts in 2011. Whether it be through one consolidated organization or two separate organizations, we need to focus on what we’re here to do: meet the needs of students in higher education and advocate for the resources they need to become successful.

Summer Internship Prep!

Well it’s about that time again… I’ve pulled out my resume and made revisions to prepare for a summer internship applications. Though I must admit that I’m rather torn as to what type of summer experience I would like to have. My assistantship lasts until the end of May and then starts on August 1st so I think that my options are going to be fairly limited this year but we’ll see. I’m thinking that I want to do a NODA (National Orientation Director’s Association) internship somewhere out west but I’m open to any geographic location. For personal reasons, I’m rather interested in either Texas or California because I know people in both locations. While it would be rather fun to work in an area where I know people, I’m really interested in going to the East coast this summer. I think that it will be beneficial for me to start getting to know institutions and individuals out there because that is where I see my life leading me.
I’ve made a spreadsheet of all the institutions that I’m interested in and hope to be able to interview with some of these universities. I’m hopeful for what the summer has to bring!

LGBT Campus Support

It occurred to me that I’ve been so busy working on papers for school, projects for work, and a personal life that I’ve neglected to chronicle my experiences. For me, as I’ve recently discovered, I learn by writing down everything and reviewing it later (this has especially become important in all of my classes…). Anyway, I think it’s growing increasingly important for me to write down my thoughts, reflections, and experiences so that I can look back on these and determine how much I’ve grown or remained stagnant.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. In the past few weeks, I’ve grown increasingly drawn to the media’s attention on the subject of the number of LGBT youth suicides occurring all over the nation. It is somewhat natural for me to be drawn to this subject given my background in with those issues and my own identity. But what I’ve noticed more is the amount of attention that individuals other than those in the LGBT community are paying to this matter. Every day I log onto facebook and the “Wear Purple” event shows up in my newsfeed with an additional 25 or so individuals attending this or proclaiming their support for the event. While this is very touching, I find frustration with this. It begs the age old question that asks why does it take such a mass tragedy to bring attention to this matter?

According to a Massachusetts study, Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (see http://www.thetrevorproject.org/suicide-resources/suicidal-signs for more information). With this shocking statistic, it really is of no surprise to me that these individuals are taking their lives. Also not of shock to me, that because of the incident at Rutgers University, the media has grabbed a hold of this and publicized all of these recent deaths. My point being this: hundreds of individuals across college campuses struggle with their sexuality every day. Some of those individuals feel so isolated that they choose to end their lives. While the media’s publication of this is great for shedding light on the issue it is not a new issue, just recently more publicized.

What are you doing on your campus to ensure that all individuals feel included? Do you have a safe zone poster on your office door? Have you established yourself as someone who is an ally for LGBT students? Are you advocating for their needs on your campus? What more can you do?

I am finding myself asking these questions: Is support for LGBT youth on campus a popular fad right now? What does it take for administration and students to make a commitment to the underrepresented minorities on their campus? Will a death have to occur at every institution for each institution to make an commitment to the under represented LGBT community?