Sep 01, 2018
By Sue Riseling
When you join a professional association, you expect to network with and meet new people with similar professional backgrounds and interests. You connect and often follow up with them on a new idea, program, or challenge on which you can advise each other or collaborate. Over the distances that separate your campuses, you might problem-solve a particularly thorny personnel matter, crime challenge, or an administrative headache. In addition to advice, a willing listener, and new information, you also may get a lifelong friend.
IACLEA was the first professional organization I joined, in 1983. I was just starting out in campus public safety—before the web—and the Campus Law Enforcement Journal was the primary means of communication without traveling. The annual conference was an important event, as it remains to this day. For it was during those annual meetings that members would come together, often with their families, to network, learn, and vacation.
Now some 35 years later, I recently returned from a wedding of a fellow IACLEA member, an IACLEA past president, in fact. As I approached the wedding site, I wondered if I would know anyone beyond the happy couple. I need not have worried; of a group of 100 guests, eight other IACLEA members were present. I marveled at this, as I greeted these friends and colleagues. Several of their spouses attended, so it was a mini-reunion of sorts.
During the reception as we celebrated the newlyweds, laughed, and caught up, it dawned on me that IACLEA was the only reason the eight of us plus spouses were together. We all met and grew close over decades through our affiliation with IACLEA. The nearest guest’s home institution was 180 miles away. The furthest was my own institution, some 933 miles away. There is no way I would have known these folks if it were not for IACLEA.
This got me thinking about how many friends—not just colleagues, but genuine friends—I have made through IACLEA. They are the types of friends who have hosted me in their homes and introduced me to their families; and my family and I have reciprocated. I wonder if it is the same for any of you?
If you are just getting started or if you have been with us a while, you know you can always count on the Association or its members for sharing policies, template job descriptions, vendor advice, and more.
If you become active by attending the conferences or trainings, hosting events, or joining committees, you will learn a lot of solid information, and who knows, you may make several lifelong friends.