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Cranky Director’s Corner – A Word on Work

Let’s get philosophical for a moment, shall we? While perusing the NACE Journal’s May issue I naturally gravitated to the article on what Princeton University has done to reimagine career services. Generally visionary, the piece got me thinking about the nature of work and our relationship to it, both personally and professionally. What exactly do I mean by that? Simply this: we live and operate in a society that views work as a necessary evil, or at least an inconvenience, yet our own professional activities center on helping others acquire jobs and navigate careers. Even Princeton’s use of a three tiered framework – job, career, calling – belies this underlying sense that work must be dressed up to be made palatable. Further evidence lies in how we talk about work and our jobs: TGIF, dreading Mondays, working for the weekend, the threat of delayed retirement. Of course, there is a distinction to be made in the work in our jobs and the frictions, usually with people, that can lead us to desire a break; but there remains an underlying longing to move on to leisure. Why IS binge watching on Netflix so appealing rather than appalling?

Much of this stems from ancient Greek thinking that exalted leisure and reviled labor. Apparently Olympus was filled with gods living the life of Riley while humans had been tricked or trapped into working. Plato, Aristotle, and the rest of the thinking class perpetuated and reinforced this concept. Clearly we have inherited that thinking. And by we I mean all cultures influenced by the ancient Greeks, including those “visited” by Alexander. Follow your passion/calling/love and you will never work a day in your life, right? The subtext is clear, work is to be avoided.

We can attempt a biological explanation. Physical and mental labor burns energy and we naturally want to conserve energy for survival. We also tend to avoid discomfort, and physical work can leave us sore, stiff, or even injured. That said, some of us then go to the gym, run marathons, tackle challenging puzzles, or write poetry as leisure activities. We look forward to and will expend time and energy on something we designate leisure more readily than something we designate work. While the matter offers more complexity than this, the point remains.

By reinforcing this way of thinking embedded in our culture we perpetrate at least two harms. First, we create a hierarchy of labor which leads to a hierarchy of laborers. The poor shlub on the back of the garbage truck (job) compared to career development directors (career, hopefully calling). Second, we ignore or devalue the intrinsic value of work. You could point out we in fact value hard work and speak highly of those with a strong work ethic, but we usually apply that to work with a goal, as opposed to valuing the work itself. Work is the way to get the payoff, as opposed to being the payoff.

I challenge all of us as we tip into summer to take time to rethink our relationship to work – how we think about it, talk about it, teach about it – and bring a new, countercultural notion to the activities we expend energy on. Can we effect such radical change? Maybe, maybe not. Resistance will be high. But who is better positioned to introduce and advocate for a new way of relating to work?

The cranky director will deliver rants on the economy, technology, social engineering, lack of a really good nearby regional BBQ place (falafel solved!), and idiot politicians (broadly defined)  to your computer desktop of preferred mobile device the fourth Friday of every month.

Last Presidential Flashback until CONFERENCE!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey looking back at the organization through the eyes of our past presidents and I hope you are getting packed and ready to journey to the falls and help us cheers to 20 years of EACE!

Our last Presidential Flashback takes us from 2012 – 2015 as we highlight Adrienne Alberts, Jennifer Barr, and Scott Rappaport (left to right), who’s picture features 2 past presidents and our future president Stacy McClelland!

 

Adrienne Alberts: 2012 – 2013
American Red Cross

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    My first conference was in 1998 and I believe it was at the conference center at Georgetown University. I was a DAC scholarship award winner and I was elated to be at the conference.
    P.S. EACE still offers scholarships (and grants!) Check them out on eace.org under “Scholarships, Grants & Awards”.
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    I have so many proud EACE moments, but one that I fought hard for was the exploration of employer engagement vs. solely looking at membership. In my time as president, we like all other associations, were grappling with how to increase employer membership. Having made the transition from higher ed to corporate and understanding the pressures with budgets and providing ROI on investments, I knew that my organization may or may not invest in a membership but they would absolutely support my attendance at a conference or engagement at worthwhile events. All of that participation is engagement and exactly what college members were looking for. So after several intense discussions, we agreed as a board to measure engagement while continuing to work to improve membership. The infographic at that year’s conference was like a gift. It truly showcased how engaged employers are in EACE and I was extremely proud. Capturing the right metric to truly tell a story is something we all work on as leaders. This one was important to me and I believe beneficial to EACE and I remain very proud of our willingness to see things through a different lens and push boundaries for EACE and our profession!
    P.S. Check out the legacy of Adrienne’s proudest EACE moment at this year’s conference where you will find the “EACE 2016 – 2017 Year Wrap Up”!

Jennifer Barr: 2013 – 2014
Haverford College

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    My first EACE conference was the first Danvers, Mass. conference. I distinctly remember being swept into an amazing group of EACE members that included Matthew Brink, Amy Feifer and Sam Ratcliffe. There may have been a boat to Maine involved, as well as a drive to Portsmouth, NH. Most of all, I remember the incredible welcome that I received, and the commitment everyone had to the organization. As a result of that first conference, I was eager to be involved.
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    There are so many! The moments that pop into my head include Road Trips to the Real World – a program I started during my first chair experience with what was called the Liberal Arts Network. I am also so proud of introducing Group Membership during my time on the Board as the Director of Membership, which other Regional ACEs have now adopted. Finally, I am incredibly proud of my time as President. I have so many proud moments during the 2013-2014 year, but most important to mention is that everything we accomplished was because of the wonderful Board Members that supported me. EACE works best when volunteers work together, and some of my proudest moments are because of that great collaborative spirit!

Scott Rappaport: 2014 – 2015
University of Delaware 

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    My first EACE conference was in Pittsburgh in 2004, when we returned in 2015 I was president of the association 🙂
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    While I hope all the formal things that I have done with EACE have a lasting impact, I honestly feel my proudest moment from EACE was seeing so many EACE folks at my wedding. EACE is all about relationships, I have built relationships that will be life long friendships. I couldn’t ask for anything else.
    And on that note we wish you many congrats on the birth of your child earlier this month!

We hope everyone has enjoyed this look back at the presidents of our organization and that now you will recognize their faces at the conference and go introduce yourselves – especially all you newcomers!

Get tips on your trip to help you pack and get organized! See you in Niagara Falls!

The Millennial Journey: How to Mitigate Buyer’s Remorse in Education

By Gorick Ng, MBA Student, Harvard Business School

According to a recent Gallup poll, 51% of U.S. adults would change at least one of their education decisions (degree, institution, and/or field of study) if they had a chance to re-do their post-secondary degrees.[1] With 44 million Americans[2] each sitting on an average of $37,172 in student loans,[3] we should expect less buyer’s remorse, no?

We should. And we can.

Although a number of socioeconomic and sociocultural factors underpin the current higher ed crisis, I’d like to highlight an often overlooked element: our lack of foresight as students.

Our “conveyor belt” education system has always fed us the next step: do well in kindergarten and first grade will be waiting. Do well in middle school and high school will be there. Do well in high school and college becomes the next step.

Along the way, the default strategy is often to look to John on our left and choose the same school, look to Jenny on our right and choose the same major, and look to our parents and take a similar path. In a constant attempt to keep our heads above water in the face of midterms, homework, essays, jobs, activities, peer pressure, and family obligations we feel there’s no time to reflect on what are doing, why we’re doing these things, and how this all shapes the person we aspire to become. Since this “conveyor belt” kept moving anyways, we were largely sheltered from the consequences of our actions – and inaction.

But what happens towards the end of this “conveyor belt”?

Some students rush to their campus career centers in search of guidance, sometimes days before commencement. Others look to graduate school not as a career enhancing opportunity, but rather an extension of their runway. It is no surprise that buyer’s remorse is so prevalent in higher education.

How do we address this issue? Start from within.

Treat every new experience as a hypothesis test.

TickConsider life as a scatterplot: Speaking with someone (or not)? Taking a course (or not)? Taking care of a loved one (or not)? Getting a job (or not)? Working on a project (or not)? Doing an internship (or not)? Joining a club (or not)? Volunteering with an organization (or not)?

Each experience accumulated (or foregone) is another observation on this scatterplot – and another opportunity to introspect:

  1. What attracted me to (or repelled me from) this?
  2. What did I enjoy / find to be a chore? Why?
  3. What was I good at / not good at? Why?
  4. How much do I like / respect the people? Why?
  5. To what extent can I live a comfortable, fulfilling life doing this? Why?

Imagine our desired future selves as the invisible regression line. If we have just two dots, it can be tempting to draw a straight line and yell “Eureka! I should become a [whatever]!”

But the more dots we can collect, the better our ability is to identify the sweet spot at the intersection of what we are good at, what we are passionate about, and what pays the bills.

This model is not perfect, but with it we can better leverage what we know about ourselves at the time to make more informed decisions about what school to attend, what field of study to pursue, which degree to obtain, and what job to take out of school. Though it takes time, effort, and serious introspection, our future selves will thank us.

[1] http://www.gallup.com/poll/211529/half-adults-change-least-one-education-decision.aspx

[2] https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/interactives/householdcredit/data/xls/sl_update_2016.xlsx

[3] https://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/05/02/student-debt-is-about-to-set-another-record-but-the-picture-isnt-all-bad/

Gorick Ng helps Millennials more successfully transition from school to the workplace. From his work Gorick has spent thousands of hours understanding the experiences of Millennials, career counselors, and employers – and the “soft skills” and “hard skills” gaps that exist.

Gorick is pursuing his MBA Harvard Business School and is a graduate of Harvard College, where he now serves as a Resident Tutor leading pre-career advising. He was the first in his family to attend high school and college and is passionate about helping young people pursue their dreams.

More on Gorick here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gorickng

Contextually Careers: Turning Data Into Action

By Alicia Monroe, Ed.D., Assistant Director, Office of Career Advancement, Rowan University

Data, data, everywhere, What do I look at? OR Where do I begin? OR What should I capture? OR How do I assess? Now, you fill in the blank. Depending on the day, time, moment and/or sense of urgency, I mull over these questions with a look of despair on my face, wondering if there is really a way out of the data maze.  For many, the dreaded “D” word can oftentimes overwhelm us, as our questions rapidly surpass the responses.

In this, the digital age, data is increasingly used to drive decision-making. We can no longer depend solely on our intuitive sense. The millennium has ushered in a paradigm shift where data and metrics are used to assess and evaluate our activities and actions. Analyzing data, metrics, and trend development allows us, as career services professionals, to strategically shift priorities, tweak programs and reposition resources in order to get desired results and outcomes.

The need is for us to have quantifiables and meaningful metrics that can measure success and inform strategic planning efforts and decision-making. As we rethink the status quo and reframe traditional norms, our focus now rests on redefining what constitutes positive outcomes. As I muddle through key performance indicators, usability studies, reputation measures, surveys, focus groups, and other forms of evaluation and assessment, I have to first make meaning of this arduous task for myself.

Status Quo Graphic

The first step is to understand and commit to the “why” behind the work. As we collect, review, and analyze the data, our core value of having students find careers that reflect their gifts, talents, skills and interests should anchor the stories that we tell and the decisions that we make. Although it is important to collect data, what’s most valuable and vital to the decision-making process is the analysis of the data and the story that we are able to tell to provide insight and meaningful outcomes to students, recruiters, influential stakeholders, and career service organizations.

Next determine the “what.” In other words, are you asking the right questions to get the outcomes that you are looking for? The simplest definition of data-driven decision making is the use of data analysis to determine the courses of action to take to meet objectives and prescribed mandates. In addition to asking the “right” questions, it is imperative to understand “what” data- qualitative or quantitative- and “what” analyses inform our decision-making. Measurable learning outcomes, the effective use of assessment and evaluation methods, along with stakeholder demands for better career outcomes data, are forces that motivate us to slow the process down in order to make the right assumptions. Giving ourselves time to reexamine long-held beliefs and practices gives us the space to develop meaningful metrics that measure our actual performance. All in all, asking the right questions provides us the data that we need to engage in better analyses.

As we review our data collection methods, we must also revisit our tools and protocols. This is the “how.” How we collect our data must align with our objectives (the story we want to tell), the questions that we ask, and the type of data that we collect. Questions that engage student voice and insights from employers and other stakeholders should be evident in the assessments, as these responses afford us the opportunity to gain a clear picture of the expectations met, level of satisfaction achieved with career services delivery, and areas that require improvement.

Our career center stories inform our students and influential stakeholders. Looking at data through a purposed, well-focused, and intentional lens provides career services professionals the valuable insight needed to ground and promote their efficacy in the important work they do. To learn how to best tell your career center’s success story and dive deeper into multi-modal approaches for using data to frame an effective story line, attend the 2017 EACE Annual Conference, Pre- Conference Workshop- Shaping Your Career Center’s Success Story facilitated by Sam Ratcliffe, Ph.D. You can also view and contribute a number of resources in EACE’s Assessment Hub.

References:

Collins, M. (2016) “#NACE2021: Trends and Predictions.” NACE. Retrieved from https://www.naceweb.org/career-development/trends-and-predictions/nace2021-trends-and-predictions/

Contomanolis, E., Cruzvergara, C., Dey, F., & Steinfeld, T. “The Future of Career Services is Now.” NACE Journal. November 2015. Retrieved from https://www.naceweb.org/career-development/trends-and-predictions/the-future-of-career-services-is-now/

Picciano, A. (2011) Educational leadership and planning for technology. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Dr. Monroe serves as Assistant Director, OCA at Rowan University. She has developed a number of notable programs designed to actively engage students in a college to career continuum of achievement. #itsALLaboutthestudents @amonroeedd

Presidential Flashback: 2009 – 2012

We are barely a week away from conference! I am getting excited to see my EACE friends, catch up [IRL] with some of the past presidents we have been highlighting, and meet as many of the 146 newcomers [!!!] as possible. Hope you are all packed and ready to go…or at least registered.

Our Presidential Flashback takes us from 2009 straight to 2012 as we highlight the following fearless leaders of our organization: Helen Brown, Deborah D’Attilio, and John Fracchia (left to right).

Helen Brown: 2009 – 2010
Vector Marketing

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    2002 in Danvers, MA
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    Finding a new management firm for EACE. Both of the conference chairs in 2010 are presidents. (Stacy and Scott)

Deborah D’Attilio: 2010 – 2011
Enterprise Holdings

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    White Plains, NY
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    Helping rebrand the organization and transition to our new management company.

John Fracchia: 2011 – 2012
Ithaca College 

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    My first EACE conference was in Seven Springs, PA (2000) when I had just shifted from Residential Life to Career Services. My biggest memory is that it rained the whole week! I think of Norfolk 2003 (my second conference) as my first, because it was the one where I really started to engage with the organization and met so many good friends.
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    Proudest moment is a tough one . . . Being a person-centered organization is something I’ve always valued about EACE and I tried to make it a central tenet of my presidential year. I heard so many comments after our conference in Portland, ME, about how connected and included people felt and if there’s a “proudest moment,” that’s probably it.

Presidential Flashback – A Decade Apart

A decade apart in leadership our next Presidential Flashback features Nancy Dudak and Donna Ratcliffe.

nancyNancy Dudak: 1998 – 1999
Villanova University

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    My first conference was in 1983 at Seven Springs, PA right outside of Pittsburgh. It was MAPA at the time. We had our annual conferences in the fall back then and I had only been on the job for about 2 months.
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    My proudest moments were speaking to the newcomers at the conferences. Most of them were young, new professionals and I enjoyed seeing their enthusiasm and energy for the career development profession. I spoke to them about the rewards of becoming involved with professional associations and of course the best one (MAPA ->MAACE -> EACE)

donnaratcliffeDonna Cassell Ratcliffe: 2008 – 2009
Virginia Tech 

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    My first regional conference was in 1988 in Baltimore, MD (Middle Atlantic Placement Association MAPA – later merged with another association to create EACE). That year I received a MAPA Research Grant for my dissertation research and had the opportunity to present my dissertation topic, research process and outcomes at the annual conference. I remember someone coming up to me after my session who said “It is rare to attend a conference and have scholarly work presented.” Made me smile.
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    In 2003 the EACE Board decided to move from a single employee model of support to an association management firm to provide financial, technical, and other support services to the board, committees, and members. Known as EACE Headquarters (HQ), this company was located in Wisconsin. With the exception of two HQ staff members who attended board meetings, we interacted with the others by phone or emails to conduct association business. During my year as President Elect, board members and committee chairs were challenged by communication, quality, and timeliness of services issues with HQ staff. With the goal to improve relationships and productivity, I decided that my first board meeting as EACE president (summer of 2008) would be in Oak Creek, WI to meet all HQ staff face-to-face. Strategic planning meetings, tour of the office, meeting in teams with HQ staff, an afternoon cookout and an evening at a Brewers baseball game proved to be beneficial to EACE business.

Only a few more weeks until we are all together in Niagara Falls to celebrate 20 Years of EACE! I hope you are all signed up for conference and getting excited by these fun things to do in Niagara Falls. See you on the Maiden of the Mist!

Past Presidents Flashback

Before we head out for a long weekend we’ve got another dose of our presidential flashbacks with one of my favorite images sent in by Tom. I love that you can see the history of the organization in ONE image and so many of the people captured in this snapshot are still so active in EACE. It warms my heart to see the longevity of this organization and the friendships forged.

EACE picture - BeckyBecky Weir: 2004-2005
University of Maryland

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    My first was EACE’s first in Danvers, MA. I’m not sure if any of the other Past Presidents can say that they attended all of the EACE conferences that have been held these past 19 years, but I can. I plan to attend number 20 in Niagara Falls, too!
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    • Looking back, a major accomplishment during my presidency (2004-2005) was having the annual conference in August. That was the year NACE shifted to an annual meeting format from its every three year model, and EACE experimented with an August date and a site near New York City (Westchester, NY). The conference theme “INVEST 2005” (Innovation – Networking – Value – Excellence – Strategies – Training) would be as appropriate today as it was back then. Not only did we successfully increase employer membership numbers that year, we also had a strong employer focus during the annual conference itself. Starting with a one-day program option targeted for employers, a keynote panel of human resource executives, multiple site visits including Bloomberg, the New York Stock Exchange and TVI Actors Studio, and then concluding the conference with Kwame Jackson, “The Apprentice,” attendees had opportunities to invest. We capitalized on the location for fun, too. Some attendees went to a Yankees game while others saw “The Producers” on Broadway, and all of us enjoyed being entertained by a steel drum band. Of note, a number of EACE leaders emerged from committee roles they served in that year, including our current president, Walter Tarver III, who was the site liaison for the August conference.
    • A first during that year was the inaugural use by our association of the “webinar” format for professional development programs. (It seems hard to believe that there was a time when this popular methodology did not exist.) Other technology-based developments included online membership registration for new members, an online process for award nominations and the redesign of the EACE website.
    • Throughout my involvement, I have found that a major strength of EACE is that it provides opportunities to stay connected with colleagues and current issues in the field, to network and share best practices and benchmarking information and to learn from leaders in our profession. Serving as President was an honor and privilege that I’ll always cherish.

Adam Forbes lowres_Nov2012 (1)Adam Forbes: 2006-2007
Honeywell

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    Bryn Mawr & Haverford College – 1997
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    During my presidency, we took on the task of re-evaluating the board structure and annual conference model. IN both cases, we had two committees, which brought forward proposals, which were then adopted by the association. The board had positions re-aligned to best support the future direction of EACE at the time, and the conference model, focused on more disciplined professional development and learning, while still preserving the social/networking benefits the conference brings.
timTar

From Tom: “Here is one of my favorite pictures.  It is often said ‘it takes a village.’  Well, here is a community of familiar faces; all who share in their friendship and work for EACE. “

Tom Tarantelli: 2007-2008
Retired, [Formerly] RPI

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    Seven Springs, PA. I won’t tell you how many years ago that was but many of the first time attendees that year served on committees and the Board with me. We taught each other. We supported each other. We became life long friends.
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    There are many proud moments. I had the honor of attending the Conference last year in Philadelphia. I met so many young, talented professionals representing the field and EACE. I am immensely proud of how far EACE has developed and how brilliant the future looks. You all are my proudest moment!

Past Presidents Flashback: 2002 – 2004

I hope you have enjoyed our flashbacks so far. I know it’s been great seeing how much EACE has grown in the past 20 years – and who was integral in that progress. Our next two presidents served from 2002 – 2004.

Sam Ratcliffe 01-13 (4)R. Samuel Ratcliffe, Ph.D.: 2002 – 2003
[Formerly] Virginia Military Institute

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    My first EACE conference was at Tarrytown NY in 1997 and my first MAPA conference was in 1983 at Seven Springs PA.
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    A couple of items from my presidency:

    • Transition of the EACE administrative support model from an administrative director to an association management organization.
    • As member of multi-association presidents’ roundtable had key role in regional association cooperative initiative that eventually led to merger of six regional associations into the four current regional associations, among other collaborative opportunities.
    • Developed a technology strategic plan for EACE

Bonus: Catch up with this past president by attending Sam’s Pre-Conference workshop “Shaping Your Center’s Success Story,” register here.

marianneMarianne Tramelli: 2003 – 2004
Columbia University

  1. Where was your first EACE conference?
    My first EACE conference was back in 1985 at The American Great Gorge in New Jersey.
  2. What is your proudest EACE moment?
    Being honored to serve as President of EACE from 2003-2004. Also, co-chairing the first EACE conference in 1997 that celebrated the union of ECPO and MAACE into EACE.

Did you know Niagara Falls is only 25 minutes away from Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)? It’s easier to get to than you might think so I hope you’ve registered to attend.

If not I will leave you with a fun fact to help entice you…

Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the U.S. Established in 1885 as the Niagara Reservation, it was the first of several such reservations that eventually became the cornerstones to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The Value of Networking

By Robbin Beauchamp, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Per Michael Page, in his article “Six Ways Networking Can Benefit Your Career”, networking helps to strengthen your relationships, is a source of fresh ideas, raises your profile, opens new doors, facilitates the exchange of information and widens your support network.  As a person who networks frequently, I can attest to the accuracy of Mr. Page’s assertions.

When I was relatively new to the career services field, my then-director insisted her staff get involved with EACE.  For me, this meant, among other things, taking advantage of the Professional Exchange visits.  I could travel and see the inner workings of organizations that I would not have had access to if not for EACE.  I learned about the hiring practices of very prestigious organizations such as the FBI in Washington, DC, NBC in New York City, L’Oréal in New York City, numerous Wall Street investment firms and many more.  I could bring this information back to share with my colleagues and more importantly, with the students I supported.  This information gave me credibility with those students, which they shared with their friends, which helped to increase the profile of the career services office.

The other benefit of attending Professional Exchange visits was the ability to meet my peers from schools in our region.  I could share information with them about the work I was doing and more importantly, learn more about the work they were doing.  Bringing best practices back to campus allowed me to help improve the services provided to our students.  Some of the people became friends over the years, and a few became mentors.  Because of the networking I did while on Professional Exchange visits, I forged relationships with members that allowed me to expand my participation in EACE to become a member and then co-chair of committees, including Professional Exchange.  This involvement allowed me to be elected twice to the board of directors.  These experiences helped me to become a better career services practitioner and ultimately, an effective director and chief career services officer.   Honestly, I owe my career to the people of EACE and it all started with going on a few Professional Exchange visits.

As the co-chair again this year of PE, I am excited about the visits the committee has set up.  Join me this summer on the 17 visits we have scheduled.  Or, consider joining the committee this fall as we begin to plan Professional Exchange visits for 2018.  Register today for the 2017 visits at:  http://www.eace.org/?page=PEEvents

Robbin Beauchamp joined Wentworth Institute of Technology as Director of Cooperative Education and Career Development in Boston in September 2014.

Fun Things to do in Niagara Falls

By Stefano Verdesoto, Assistant Director of External Relations, The Career Center at Hofstra University

Less than a month away from 2017 EACE Annual Conference!  As my third conference, I am excited to reconnect with friends and colleagues and continue learning best practices and trends in our industry.  As someone who lived in the Buffalo/Niagara area for six years (undergraduate and graduate school at the University at Buffalo – GO BULLS!), I am even more excited to return to the area for a few days and catch up with old friends and visit a few of my favorite spots.  As we count down, pack our bags, and make our lists, see below for a few recommendations on fun things to do in Niagara Falls.

Cave of the Winds
Feeling adventurous?  Journey down into the Niagara Gorge for a one-of-a-kind view of the Falls with the Cave of the Winds tour.  Gear up in a souvenir rain poncho and sandals for the full experience.  Learn more here.  Waterfall

Niagara Skywheel
Bring your passport and get a different view of the falls from Canada!  Soar 175 feet above Niagara Falls for an amazing view. Check it out here. Ferris Wheel

Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls USA
Leave extra room in your bags!  Take a quick 15-minute car/cab ride to the premier outlet shopping destination in Niagara Falls, NY, serving customers from Buffalo and upstate New York with 200+ designer brands.  Learn more here.
Outlets

Maid of the Mist
The obvious choice!  Hop on board and experience Niagara Falls.  Hear the waves, see the sights, and feel the mist!  Learn more here.  Maid of the Mist

Buffalo, NY
The not-so-obvious choice.  Visiting from out of town?  Make the most of your time in Western New York and explore Buffalo, a quick 30-minute drive from the falls.  With diverse neighborhoods, rich culture, and delicious food (they call ‘em “wings,” not “Buffalo wings!”), there is plenty to do and see in Buffalo.  Check out the visitor’s page and explore neighborhoods like Elmwood VillageBuffalo

Of course, there is plenty more to do while in town for 2017 EACE Annual Conference, but this is a good start.  What will you do while in town?  Share your plans and ideas on Twitter using #EACE.  See you soon and Cheers to 20 Years!

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