Misconceptions & Misnomers of Volunteering – Pt 3

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In this series over the next few weeks, we will continue to take a look at our wonderful KASFAA volunteers from across the committees. We are revealing their misconceptions and then what changed their minds.

Lets meet 2 more of our wonderful committee members …

Name: Crystal DeLong

I know I’m a lender now so entirely different world but I wanted to answer with my FA Director hat on!!

School/Business: Citizens One Private Student Loans. Previously a workstudy student and then counselor at FHSU for 9 years, then Director of Financial Aid at Avila University in MO for 9 years.

Years volunteering: I have volunteered in either my state or regional associations for 15 years straight!!

Your misconceptions before volunteering/What made you do it anyway?: I was young and met some of “the right” people (aka Robb Cummings, Myra Pfannenstiel) at my first KASFAA so I was volunteering fast!  BUT I was nervous because I was a new professional at 22 years old and it seemed like the people involved were a tight family.

Soooooo jump in and become part of the family is my advice.  Having the KASFAA connections is how I survived my first few years as a Director.  I can’t tell you how many times I called Craig Karlin at FHSU and Brenda Hicks at Southwestern to help me figure out a policy or a process that I hadn’t been exposed to as a counselor.

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Name: Linda Oldham Burns

School/Business: KS Board of Regents

Years volunteering: 14

Position(s) held/hold: Finance Chair, Outreach Training, re-imagining College Goal Sunday, Archives, Membership

What made you do it anyway?  This is a way to give back to the people and industry that you work.  Once you get started on one committee, you get so much more back in way of relationships and a reward for the work that you accomplish that you want to keep going!!

We would love for you to participate in this series with us. If you did not receive an email from us about your misconceptions, feel free to leave a comment. Don’t forget to also include what changed your mind.

Along with this series we are including a call to volunteer. If something changes your mind or you find you relate to one of these stories feel free to head over to kasfaa.org/volunteer and complete our volunteer form. There are still plenty of spots open throughout our committees.

Misconceptions & Misnomers of Volunteering – Pt 2

In this series over the next few weeks, we will take a look at our wonderful KASFAA volunteers from across the committees. We will reveal their misconceptions and then what changed their minds.

There’s no better place to start than with our president …

Name: Darcy Johnson

School/Business: ESU

Years volunteering: 8 or 9

Position(s) held/hold: Member on Awards, Co-Chair of Awards, Chair of Awards, Member on Conference Planning, Member on Outreach Training (two years in a row), Vice-President, President-Elect, President (and we can add 3 upcoming years to my years volunteering because I’ll have Past President, and then two years on Association Governance after that)

There was a year or two break between chairing Awards (no longer a separate committee) and volunteering on Conference Planning. A couple of those years I might have served on more than one committee…it all sorts of runs together. I stopped volunteering because I got a little burnt out and just needed to step away. That is one of the reasons that the board decided a few years back to limit people to one committee at a time. I decided to step back in to volunteering because I missed being involved with my KASFAA friends. The last few years, I volunteered because people asked me to run for office, and, I’ll be honest, it felt good to have someone say, “here’s why you would make a good president” when I doubted if I was ready to run for that role (I still opted to run for VP that year instead).

We would love for you to participate in this series with us. If you did not receive an email from us about your misconceptions, feel free to leave a comment. Don’t forget to also include what changed your mind.

Along with this series we are including a call to volunteer. If something changes your mind or you find you relate to one of these stories feel free to head over to kasfaa.org/volunteer and complete our volunteer form. There are still plenty of spots open throughout our committees.

Misconceptions & Misnomers of Volunteering – Pt 1

There are a ton of reasons why people do not volunteer. The most common have to do with not having enough time or not knowing exactly what the job will entail. Another one is that they just simply haven’t been asked to.

In this series over the next few weeks, we will take a look at our wonderful KASFAA volunteers from across the committees. We will reveal their misconceptions and then what changed their minds.

We would love for you to participate in this series with us. If you did not receive an email from us about your misconceptions, feel free to leave a comment. Don’t forget to also include what changed your mind.

Along with this series we are including a call to volunteer. If something changes your mind or you find you relate to one of these stories feel free to head over to kasfaa.org/volunteer and complete our volunteer form. There are still plenty of spots open throughout our committees.

News from the KASFAA World

Hello fellow KASFAAns! I hope that you’re doing well!

Please indulge me a few minutes to share some KASFAA happenings with you.

The new KASFAA board took effect at the end of the transitional board meeting on April 16th. The 2020-2021 KASFAA board is:

Darcy Johnson – President
Diana VanDyke – President-Elect
Kristi Blevins – Vice President
Tammy Higgins – Treasurer
Angie Zeorlin – Treasurer-Elect
Melinda Harrington – Secretary
Crystal DeLong – Associate Member Representative
Tony Tanking – Past President
Rachel Touchatt – Archive
Bonnie Sandefer – Association News
Kelli Lowe-Heying – Corporate Support
Thad Davidson – Electronic Resources
Debbie Brewer – Finance
Denise Varrientos – Fiscal Officers
Mark Bandre – Government Relations
Trish Runion – Membership
Whitney Asher – Outreach Training
Robyn Brungardt – Professional Development

We had a board retreat back in March (possibly the only time we’re going to see each other F2F in 2020) and went over a lot of the housekeeping items. This allowed us to jump right in to work at the June board meeting, which was held via Zoom. At this meeting we approved the budget that had been proposed by the executive board and discussed nine action items. We also looked at the 2018-2021 Strategic Long-Range plan and discussed what goals/tasks each committee had as part of the SLRP (aka “slurp”).

In her role as President-Elect, Diana identified co-chairs and filled committee members spots from the volunteer forms we received. Several individual committee meetings have been held and, in my discussion with the chairs, they are excited with the ideas and energy of their committee members. I’m also very excited to the new ideas that come from some [necessary 2020] adaptation of previous offerings or work of these committees. Thank goodness financial aid professionals are known for their adaptability!

The board also has some extra duties this year, as we are tasked with developing the 2021-2024 Strategic Long-Range Plan. We have a planning meeting scheduled at the end of July, and input from the membership will be requested soon.

I’m very thankful that you all chose me to lead our wonderful organization this year, and I’m truly blessed with an outstanding board that’s going to make the task pretty simple!

If you know me at all, you know that I can’t sign off without sharing an Abby picture. I can’t decide if she’s finally adapted to me being at home all the time, is ready for me to go back to work, or just wishes that I would do my work in the recliner so she can sleep on me all day. I’m not sure she’s decided either…

Would You Be Our, Could You Be Our, Won’t You Be Our Volunteer?

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Not sure which committee to volunteer for? 

Archive – are you sentimental, or do you like to throw things away/stay organized? This is the committee for you!

Association News & Publicity– are you a creative type? Do you like to get to know others or blog, or social media? You’ve found where you belong!

Conference Planning – calling all party planners!

Corporate Support – do you have a passion for fundraising? Step right up! This committee chooses the philanthropy project each year and organizes the fundraiser for the Spring Conference.

Finance – Do you like numbers? Want to make sure KASFAA is fiscally sound? We’ve got your number and it’s this committee!

Fiscal Officers – do you like to collaborate with others? Join this committee to brainstorm or provide training on fiscal/financial aid topics!

Membership – Data nerds and friendly types wanted! Members of this committee have the opportunity to keep the membership database clean and up to date, and/or welcome new members to KASFAA.

Outreach Training – Do you love teaching and sharing your passion for financial aid? Have ideas for innovative delivery of content to our partners outside of KASFAA? This committee wants YOU!

Professional Development – Do you have a passion for sharing information with your peers regarding your favorite financial aid topics? Content developers, instructional designers, and trainers…this is your committee!

Not sure if you have time to volunteer? Most committees require an average commitment of 1 hour per month. Click on a committee name above to contact the Committee Chair if you have questions about committee member responsibilities. 

Complete the form to notify KASFAA of your desire to serve on one of these committees! 

On behalf of KASFAA, a heartfelt thank you to all who have volunteered already and those who are filling out the form now. Every single one of you make KASFAA go ’round.

Darcy Johnson
2020-2021 KASFAA President

COVID-19 Scams Are Here – Be Aware and Share

Ari Lazarus is a Consumer Education Specialist for the Federal Trade Commission. He has written a very topical piece on COVID-19 scams that are targeting our students.

Scammers prey on times when we are all stressed and concerned about our income and expenses. It is important to not fall victim to situations that could cause more harm.

Ari gives us two important steps to consider before clicking on any links that you may receive in an email:

Check it out. If you have concerns about an email, contact the sender directly. Look up their phone number or website yourself. Don’t click on a link. That way, you’ll know you’re not about to call a scammer or follow a link that will download malware.

Take a closer look. While some phishing emails look completely legit, bad grammar and spelling can be a tip-off to phishing. Another clue that the email is not really from your school: they use the wrong department name. In one example we’ve seen, the scammers called themselves the Financial Dept instead of the Financial Aid Department.

Check out his article here.

Thank you, Crystal DeLong, for sharing this information.

Be aware and stay safe.

2020 Award Recipients – Committee of the Year

Every President will state that it was a tough decision to make because everyone that serves on the board and in their committees gives their heart and soul in their efforts, for the benefit of their KASFAA friends. This year was no different. From the revamp of the website, to the overhaul of the membership and archiving, to the efforts made to providing additional trainings for our membership, there was no committee that was not worthy to called the Committee of the Year. Unfortunately a choice must be made. This year’s selection took the task of communicating who KASFAA is to a whole new level. We got to meet more of our board and committee members than we have done before. What better way to get to know your family than to have more information provided about them as individuals. I truly loved what they did and look forward to them continuing this direction.

ANP

This year’s KASFAA Committee of the Year is the Association News and Publicity Committee, chaired by Cindy Kleinsorge – JCCC. Her committee was made up of:

 

Bonnie Sandefer (Co-Chair) – KU

Keith Fitzsimmons – KUMC

Kim Murray – Allen County

Tanya McGee – KSU

Courtney Lockhart – WSU

Kelly Baker – Allen County

We thank you so much!! It was a blast ♥

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2020 Award Recipients – Deborah Byers Outstanding Service Award

Deborah Byers Outstanding Service Award is presented to recognize the outstanding contribution of an individual in the field of financial aid through contributions to KASFAA.

 

Awarded to Sara Vancil, Federal Student Aid (University of Kansas at time of nomination and voting), for holding numerous leadership roles (including KASFAA President) within KASFAA and RMASFAA, as well as her organization of and follow through on all projects that she is involved in. “Her knowledge of financial aid is exemplary and her passion for helping students is inspiring.”

Deborah Byers Outstanding Service Award - Sara

Sara’s words of thanks

Dear KASFAA Friends,

What strange days we are all living through!  When I took a position with Federal Student Aid in February, I never expected that my work as a training officer would be upended by something like COVID-19.  And I know all of you are feeling the same way as you navigate what this means for your students and your campuses.

I wanted to take a moment to thank the KASFAA Board for recently awarding me with the Deborah Byers Outstanding Service Award, via Zoom, no less!  😊  Being honored with this award means so much given that it seeks to recognize someone for sustained contributions to KASFAA. 

I gave it my all over the past ten years contributing to KASFAA in as many ways as I could.  I’m proud of the work I did with my KASFAA friends in planning trainings and conferences, developing our Strategic Plan, strengthening our financial position, and updating our policies and procedures.  I am very proud of my work with KASFAA, but more than that, I’m so blessed to have made so many great friends and worked with dedicated and creative colleagues on important and long-lasting work.

A very special thank you to Diane Lindeman for nominating me.  I hope you’ll stay in touch and that I’ll see you soon at a future conference!

Sara Vancil
sara.vancil@ed.gov  

 

2020 Award Recipients – KASFAA Rising Star Award

KASFAA Rising Star award provides recognition to an individual member with fewer than 5 years of experience who shows promise for future contributions to the association or the financial aid profession. This individual has demonstrated quality performance through their passion for their work while exemplifying the professionalism and dedication to the mission of KASFAA.

 

Awarded to Jillian Palan, Johnson County Community College, for her involvement as an attendee at Summer Institute 2019 (Slytherin Green hiss chant leader), work on the Professional Development Training committee, and entertainment planning for Summer Institute 2020 (sad that the entertainment will forever remain a secret now). “Jillian is truly a KASFAA Rising Star and is not afraid to seize an opportunity to be involved.”

Rising Star Award - Jillian

Jillian’s words of thanks

Thank you for this award! I appreciate it very much. I have enjoyed being a part of the KASFAA family and look forward to more years of fun ahead!

2020 Award Recipients – Bruce Lopez Meritorious Achievement Award

Bruce Lopez Meritorious Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made an important contribution to KASFAA or to the financial aid profession that KASFAA wishes to recognize. To receive a Meritorious Achievement Award, the individual should have made either an important single contribution or significant multiple contributions to KASFAA or the profession.

(This award was renamed in memory and honor of Bruce Lopez during the December 2019 board meeting)

 

Awarded to Thad Davidson, Emporia State University, for stepping in to the role of Electronic Resources chair after the former chair left mid-year, and dedicating a LOT of time and energy developing our new website and making it as easy as possible for future chairs and committee members to manage the site. “The website alone was an important single contribution and significant multiple contributions all wrapped in to one.”

Bruce lopez Meritorious Achievement Award 2020 - Thad

Thad’s words of thanks

I don’t quite remember when I first met him, but I do remember my first impression of him.  He was dressed nicely in a suit and tie and his mannerisms very professional.  As he went to greet me with his burly hands, his grip was strong, and his dark eyes and thick mustache smiled at me genuinely.  I don’t remember what he said to me, but I remember thinking that he was a kind man just in the way he greeted and welcomed this new guy in the financial aid industry.

As I became involved in KASFAA either through attending conferences or volunteering to help, he was not only the guy who could make me laugh when I needed it, but he was also the guy who would cheer me on, “You’ve got this Thad!”  He would always greet me in the hallways of the conference hotels and ask how I was doing, going out of his way to listen.  I could only surmise that if he was this way with me, he was this way with everyone in the organization and we were fortunate to have him. 

Not being one to just lead by word, he led by example.  I remember more recently as we were hosting the RMASFAA conference in Wichita, I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed and tired with some duties of that conference.  Sensing that, he gave me a preloaded Starbucks card and said “why don’t you get yourself something to drink, on me?”  I have heard story after story that he would give to our various philanthropy causes out of his own pocket to help us all reach or exceed the goal we set.  I have witnessed him serve joyfully on committee after committee.  He was a man who gave of himself to others, and that is an example worth following.

We all knew him to be humorous and so easy to talk to.  You could talk to him about anything and you know he would listen intently.  He, in turn, also loved to share what was going on in his life, and most recently it always seemed to center around his adventures with his grandkids – they were obviously his pride and joy and source of many a hearty laugh.

Bruce Lopez was a giant of a man.  We all have similar stories of him – that is just who he was.  We are all fortunate to have met him and served alongside him and I am deeply, deeply humbled to be the first recipient of the award now named in his honor.  From my own colleagues at ESU to those I have served alongside on KASFAA committees, thank you for your confidence in me, your kindness, and your giving of yourself which spurs me on to do the same – you all exemplify the character of Bruce in these ways.  May we all remember our dear friend and colleague in how we treat one another and cheer for each other in our many endeavors.