Due to the impacts of COVID-19 and recommendations from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we write to share the news that the place-based 2020 NIRSA Annual Conference & Campus Rec and Wellness Expo will not take place in Phoenix, Arizona this year as planned.
We want to thank all campus recreation leaders and registered exhibitors who responded to last week’s survey about the impact of COVID-19 and all the members who have actively been keeping us apprised of changing situations on their campuses and companies. We remain committed to providing professional development opportunities, facilitating networking, and sharing resources; NIRSA leaders are exploring a variety of options to offer alternative means for connecting, learning, and celebrating achievements this spring.
We want to sincerely thank the program, host, career services, expo, award, and other committee volunteers for their tireless efforts to plan for NIRSA 2020 in Phoenix. We will engage these committees, tap into their creativity, and make alternate plans to offer valuable experiences to the NIRSA family this spring. If you were scheduled to present at NIRSA 2020, NIRSA HQ will be following up with you this week with possible opportunities to share your ideas and experiences through other avenues.
Options for future learning opportunities will be shared with you as they are developed. Modified cancellation and refund options will be initiated by NIRSA HQ and emailed directly to registered attendees and exhibitors later this week. Updates will also be shared on the NIRSA 2020 website.
If you reserved lodging through NIRSA’s room block, the reservation will be automatically cancelled without fees or penalties. If you reserved lodging outside of NIRSA’s room block, you need to cancel your reservation with your lodging provider on your own.
The alternatives under discussion won’t replicate our beloved Annual Conference. But our industry knows how to pivot, get creative, and adapt to alternative platforms to stay committed to the core of what we do as a member association: learning, networking, sharing resources.
We know that now—perhaps more than ever before—you need to connect with your colleagues to be refreshed, renewed, and reinvigorated to meet the challenges ahead and continue to focus on the health and wellbeing of our campus communities. We have a real opportunity to be bold and innovative in how we connect! Social distancing does not mean disconnecting. And while nothing can replace in-person interactions, we can make the most out of learning to connect professionally through other options during this critical time of social distancing.
More broadly, we will continue to facilitate member connections and share resources specific to navigating the impacts of COVID-19 in our communities. Over 150 sites joined the virtual forum earlier today to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 and we will continue to offer these forums for virtual connection as needed. We encourage you to continue to share resources in the NIRSA Connect platform and follow NIRSA social media channels for updates and resources. Although we are not surprised, we are inspired by the engagement from members reaching out in support of one another.
We know this period of uncertainty will continue into the future and NIRSA will continue to be a pillar of stability that facilitates crucial engagement.
Thank you for your understanding and patience. We want to encourage you again to practice self-care and encourage others to do so as well. Though we may need to be physically distanced from each other for a while, we can stay connected, practice gratitude, and adapt to new habits necessary for personal and community health and wellbeing. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to share any ideas or needs for yourself or others.