Whether this is your first time coming to the Student Life Summit, or whether you’ve been
coming to COCA conferences for ages, this blog post will get you ready for all things SLS!
Here’s our top 5 tips:
If you take nothing else away from this conference (ps, spoiler warning, you will take a LOT
away), then the connections and friendships that you make at SLS is what makes our
conferences so amazing.
We’re all doing very similar jobs. Maybe we’re doing them in slightly different ways, but at the
end of the day we’re all creating the same thing: Student Life. So, network. Network. Network.
Seriously. Ignore what you were told your whole life. Go talk to strangers. Sit with other tables at
lunch and dinner. Change up where you sit during ed sessions. Say hi. It might just be the best
hi you’ve ever said to someone. You’ll hear a lot during this conference about the term “COCA
Family”. It isn’t just a corny line. It is true and the heartbeat of COCA as a whole.
We’re all in this industry together. We’re not working against one another. We all run into similar
issues, and you never know how one person can help another. On that note, tip #2….
Bring Business Cards
Like a solid stack for sure. Every time one of those “hi moments” happens you can hand one
out. Sure, maybe you’ll go home with a bunch in your suitcase, but each card represents
another awesome person you can reconnect with throughout the year. When you’re stuck
thinking “there has to be a different way to do this”, or “uh oh… my DJ just canceled what do I
do now…” that business card could be a “get out of UH OH free card”.
Seriously. Leave the office wear at home. This can be a long conference, so comfy is strong
encouraged. Maybe not as far as PJs… but jeans and a hoodie? Absolutely. Encouraged even.
Rock your school’s hoodie. Wear your frosh shirts you have tucked into the back of your shirt
drawer. (don’t lie, we know you all have them).
That said, there is our annual awards night where we do fancy up, so you know.. Pack
something fancy. But for the majority of the conference you’ll see the vast majority being very
Go to everything. But, also relax
OK, so you’re likely thinking after that title: “How can I do both!?” Do both.
The block schedule is pretty full for the stretch of the conference. But, throughout there are
opportunities to rest. Take a breather. Relax. Maybe schedule a coffee with someone you’ve
wanted to chat with.
That said, go to all the ed sessions (that fit with your position). Go to the showcases! They’re a
lot of fun, you get to learn who you can book for your events throughout the year, and it’s a good
way to just unwind after a day of ed sessions.
To get the most out of SLS (or any conference for that matter) you need to go to all the things.
So, go to all the things. But, make sure you take care of yourself along the way.
You’re going to be seeing different campuses, in perhaps a city you’ve never been to. So, this is
a fantastic opportunity to see and do new things. We’re going to Vancouver! Home of incredible
culinary options, incredible landscapes, and so much more. Then, when you’re on a school’s
campus, this is an awesome time to see how they do things. What does their venue look like,
how is their stage set up, what’s their club room look like, how are their marketing materials
displayed, etc etc etc. Steal ideas.
Of course this is just 5 solid tips to have the best experience. Like #1 says, network. Meet
people. If you’re new? Meet people. Are you a returning member? Help and find the new
See you in Van, COCA Fam!