Friday, March 19, 2010

Lenten Series #30: ACPA - TFSFR

ACPA convention began today. I announced earlier via facebook that I was elected to the directorate for the Task Force for Spirituality, Faith, and Religion. This is one of two national organizations for professionals within student affairs/higher education. American College Personnel Association (ACPA) is also known as College students educators International.  I joined ACPA in the fall before attending a workshop that they offered.  I enjoyed the workshop and thought I would get more involved in ACPA.   
 Once they sent me my membership information I began joining committees.  I joined several which included the Task Force on Spirituality, Faith, and Religion (TFSFR), Commission for Housing and Residential Life, Commission for Social Justice Educators, Commission for Multicultural Affairs. The one that interest me the most was the task force. I was curious as to why it was a task force and not a commission. Come to find out, they are seeking to be recognized as a commission, but since it is newly formed, they must go through the proper channels. After joining all the subgroups I began receiving emails galore. I was excited because emails came from people all around the world, and I saw myself as being connected to many who do the work of serving students as I do.
 In the beginning/middle of January I received an email form the taskforce chairperson, saying they were looking for members to run for the directorate. It was January, so students had not yet arrived to campus, thus I had a clear mind. So I sent them my letter of intent to run for a spot on the directorate. The election was held mid-Feb and I received the results by the end of February.  I have been so busy with many things that I had not had the opportunity to digest this and put it all in perspective. Why this task force? Why now?  So I went back to my letter of intent and realized the answers for me remained true:

My name is Michael A. Hunt, and I'm seeking to serve the ACPA community as an elected member of TFSFR's directorate board. I am new to ACPA for I have just found my calling to serve students within higher education. I am currently the Lilly Fellow in Religious Life and Residence Life Coordinator at Grinnell College. In the past year, I've graduated from Emory University with my Masters of Divinity where I also served as Graduate Assistant Chaplain and Chapel Assistant for the Office of Religious Life. I desire to assist with fulfilling the mission of TFSFR as we seek to become a commission of ACPA. We must be informed and educated on the many levels of promoting pluralism for religion and belief within higher education. I bring a new energy and sincere appreciation for the meaning-making that currently exist and should be further examined in the work we do as college student educators. We take serious the work of spiritual and religious development, and the meaning-making of our students and our communities, and I am confident that as a collaborative and intentional educator, I can continue to foster this same spirit as member of the TFSFR directorate.

Let’s be honest… It is not too many of us black folks represented on committees/commissions within ACPA. I hope that my experience will be a blessing to those I share these duties with. I hope to learn much and gain insight that will help me better serve students and the entire community in Grinnell and wherever I end up next. One of my mentors and colleague,  sent me an email today  emphasizing great it is that I am taking steps to be active because  the two major conventions (ACPA and NASPA) have lacked “the Black Church Perspective”  when talking about spirituality. Therefore, I hope this work will bring me closer to connecting the black church experience to that of how we approach spirituality, faith and religion  as colleges student educators. In addition, it is my desire that all the work described within this task force  would not just be left up to the Chaplain's Office or the Office of Religious Life within our colleges ,but that  every student affairs professional, every professor, administrator and staff person will find their place in recognizing that in some way we all are part of the spiritual/ faith/religious formation of our students.

Peace, Love, and Prosperity,

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