It is a great pleasure to extend a warm invitation to the 2017 ACUI Region VIII Conference, November 17-19 at the University of Massachusetts—Boston.  

The conference will provide a wonderful forum to enhance your knowledge base and explore innovations and research in field of student unions and student life. Attendees will represent more than 45 universities in New England, Canada, Ireland and the UK, providing networking opportunities with professional colleagues, student employees, and exhibitors.

The Conference Planning Team has organized a wonderful conference that will appeal to both students and professionals.   Conference highlights include:

  • Preconference Programs: JFK Presidential Library and Museum and Boston-area union tours
  • Keynote Address: Justin Jones “Why Matters Now, How Purpose and Passion Inspire Success”
  • Educational Sessions: More than 35 workshops and educational sessions
  • Town Hall: All-conference discussion on mental health and bystander intervention programs
  • Student Case Study Competition: A problem-solving competition for student teams
  • Student Leadership Track: Translating your student involvement experience in to your resume and job search
  • Professional & Grad Track: Research showcase, "Global Ready Leaders & Employee Retention Strategies"
  • Networking: Meet and connect with staff and students from 45 colleges and universities  
  • Region VIII Awards: Recognize excellence in our students, staff, and campus programs 

International Experience

2017 Region VIII Conference Logo

Volunteer for the Conference Management Team! This is a great opportunity for undergraduate or graduate students looking to enter the field of student affairs. Applications are due by September 27.

Learn More



(through September 15)
(September 16–October 30)
(October 31–November 13)
Professional Member$225$250$295
Graduate or Undergraduate Student Member$205$205$280
One-Day (Saturday) Registration Member$105$140$155
Professional Nonmember$290$340$375
Graduate or Undergraduate Student Nonmember$245$245$345
One-Day (Saturday) Registration Nonmember$140$180$190




At this year's conference, we plan to provide a variety of excellent educational content including keynote speakers, town hall forums, educational sessions, and Pecha Kucha-style talks. More information will be available as we get closer to the conference.

Keynote: Justin Jones-Fosu | Friday, november 17, 7–8 p.m.

Your WHY is important, but so is your NOW! You may be familiar with the bestselling book by Simon Sinek titled Start with Why. The book focuses on helping organizations and leaders discover their why. It started a movement to help people become inspired by their work and in turn inspire others. Justin Jones-Fosu takes that one step further in his presentation "WHY Matters NOW: How Purpose and Passion Inspire Meaningful Success." Jones-Fosu believes that when you understand your why, it leads you to make better decisions, to say no more effectively, and persevere when challenges arise. Jones-Fosu will also encourage you to examine your now, what is your passion, and how passionately are you living your life right now.

Justin Jones-Fosu

Town Hall: Bystander Intervention | Saturday, November 18, 4–4:50 p.m.

What exactly is bystander intervention? Simply put, it’s when someone interrupts a potentially harmful situation where someone could possibly harm themselves or others. There are many types of bystander intervention programs, including terror, gun violence, sexual assault, and suicide prevention. This will be a general discussion about bystander intervention. Attendees will learn about the benefits and challenges of bystander intervention. The session will explore the different types of intervention skills, identify possible obstacles that inhibit bystander intervention, and learn about intervention strategies that match the individual or the situation at hand. The presentation will be followed by an open discussion.  

Bystander Intervention

PechaKucha 20X20: Mental Health and Wellness | Sunday, November 19, 11–11:50 a.m.

What is PechaKucha? Developed in Tokyo in 2003 by an architectural firm, PechaKucha 20x20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically, and the presenter talks along with the images.  Through the PechaKucha presentation format, you will hear from a series of students and professionals as they share with you their personal and professional stories, triumphs and challenges connected to mental health and wellness. The session promises to offer some inspiring and uplifting moments for conference attendees.

Pecha Kucha


The Conference Planning Team has planned a robust schedule, including educational sessions, workshops, speakers and entertainment. Select the links below for a complete schedule.    

Friday, November 17
  • 10 a.m.–1 p.m. — Preconference Tour: JFK Library and Museum and/or EMKI
    Enjoy a guided tour of the Presidential Library and get a special behind-the-scenes look at their operations and event spaces. The $30 tour fee includes admission to the library and lunch. Please indicate any dietary requirements.

  • 10 a.m.–1 p.m. — Preconference Union Tour: Northeastern and Emerson
    This tour makes stops at Northeastern University’s Curry Student Center and Emerson College’s Max Mutchnick Campus Center. The $30 tour fee includes a one-day Charlie Card and lunch. Please indicate any dietary requirements.

  • 2–5:30 p.m. — Registration

  • 2:30–4:30 p.m. — Campus Center Tours (2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.)

  • 3:30–4:30 p.m. — Newcomers Welcome & Orientation

  • 4:30–5:30 p.m. — Opening Reception & Networking

  • 5:30–7 p.m. — Dinner and Welcome

  • 7–8 p.m. — Keynote: Justin Jones-Fosu

  • 8–8:45 p.m. — Case Study Overview & Introductions
    Undergraduate participants will be divided into teams and provided with a case study. With the guidance from a graduate student mentor, undergraduate students will reflect on the case study scenario and work together to develop a presentation discussing possible strategies and solutions to the case.

  • 8–9:30 p.m. — Evening Entertainment: Animal Adventures Zoo and Rescue Center
    Ed's Animal Adventures is the only rescue sanctuary in the Northeast for exotic animals. Animal Adventures has taken in exotic animals from countless individuals, numerous institutions, as well as leading authorities including Tufts VeterinaryHospital, Harvard Museum of Natural History, the MSPCA along with many others. Their rescue facility never turns away animals. In many cases it means picking up the thousands of dollars in costs to have the animal flown or shipped legally to their rescue center.

  • 8–9:30 p.m. — Networking Reception for Graduate Students and Professionals

Saturday, November 18
  • 8 a.m.–10 a.m. — Registration
  • 8 a.m.–5 p.m. — Silent Auction, Hospitality, Vendor Expo Open
  • 8:30–10 a.m. — Undergraduate, Graduate, and Professional Track
    In the undergraduate track, student leaders will attend a presentation by Mathew Power- Koch, Manager of University Internships at UMass Boston, to discuss the significance undergraduate leadership experiences has on your future career! Learn how to market your experiences on your resume, in interviews, and when networking.
  • 10:10–11 a.m. — Block 1 – Educational Sessions
  • 11:10 a.m.–Noon — Block 2 – Educational Sessions 
  • Noon–12:30 p.m. — Conference Break – Silent Auction Bidding, Vendor Expo
  • 12:30–1:50 p.m. — Conference Lunch
  • 2–2:50 p.m. — Region VIII – Meeting of the Members
  • 2–2:50 p.m. — Student Leadership Connections
    Hear from a panel of past student leaders! Learn how they used skills they developed throughout their undergraduate experience and transformed them into professional practice.
  • 3–3:50 p.m. — Block 3 – Educational Sessions 
  • 4–4:50 p.m. — All Conference: Town Hall on Bystander Intervention
  • 5 p.m. — Hospitality and Silent Auction Closes
  • 6:30–7:30 p.m. — Reception/Delegation Photos/Live Auction
  • 7:30–9:30 p.m. — Mystery Dinner Theater and Awards Banquet
Sunday, November 19
  • 9–9:50 a.m. — Case Study Final Prep
    Wrap it up! Case study teams will meet one last time before presenting to a panel of judges.
  • 9–9:50 a.m. —  Block 4 – Educational Sessions
  • 10–10:50 a.m. — Case Study Presentations
    Show time! Case study teams will present their ideas to the judges.
  • 10–10:50 a.m. — Block 5 – Educational Sessions
  • 11–11:50 a.m. — All Conference – PechaKucha 20 x 20 Talks
  • Noon–1 p.m. — Brunch and Conference Wrap-Up


Animal Adventures Zoo & Rescue Center | Friday, November 17, 8–9:30 p.m.
Meet and interact with a variety of exotic animals. Ed's Animal Adventures is the only rescue sanctuary in the Northeast for exotic animals. Animal Adventures has taken in exotic animals from countless individuals, numerous institutions. In many cases, it means picking up the thousands of dollars in costs to have the animal flown or shipped legally to their rescue center. Animal Adventures rescues and cares for animals that your local animal shelters are unable or unqualified to take care of. Learn about these exotic animals while supporting their unique mission.


Animal Adventures
Mystery Dinner Theatre | Saturday, November 18, 7:30–9:30 p.m.

Dinner on Saturday will be transformed by mystery, thrill, and intrigue. Every individual in the room will play a role, from the moment you walk through the door, the plot thickens and villainy unfolds before your eyes. As the night continues, you will get to interrogate the suspects, gather clues, and work with your friends and colleagues to help the detectives crack the case before the criminal gets away!  The clues might be as close as the person at your table. So watch your back and enjoy an evening of mystery and suspense.

Mystery Dinner Theater


A rate of $165/night has been secured at the conference hotel. Rooms may be booked here; use group name "ACUI Regional Conference" when booking.

Doubletree Boston Bayside Hotel
240 Mt Vernon St., Boston, 02125

The hotel services and amenities include:

  • Accessible rooms
  • Multilingual staff
  • Marketplace Café
  • Daily breakfast buffet ($15.95)
  • Hotel bar
  • Shuttle service to airport
  • Gym w/ cardio and free weights

Parking and Directions

Parking at the hotel is $15 per day. Parking is available at UMass Boston Bayside lot (immediately adjacent to hotel) for $6 per day with a free shuttle to the Campus Center. All campus parking lots are $6 per day.

Hotel Directions | Campus Map

Conference Planning Team

Discover what volunteer are planning the various aspects of your conference experience.

Conference Education Team

Education – Coordinator:  Joe Campo, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Responsible for distributing call for programs; recruiting session presenters and planning schedule of sessions; all communication with session presenters; coordinates technical needs with host institution. Corresponds with educational programs and online learning programs coordinators; serves as lead for Conference Education Team.

Education – Professional and Graduate: Dezanae Boston-Bernier, UMass Lowell
Works as part of the Conference Education Team; focuses primarily on educational sessions, leadership track and programs for professional staff and graduate students; collaborates with student engagement for mentor/mentee program.

Education — Student Engagement: Kylie Bowen, Northeastern University
Works as part of the Conference Education Team; coordinates sessions focused on student interest (i.e., leadership track, case study program, mentor/mentee program, educational sessions, etc); works alongside registration, volunteer, scholarship, and entertainment Conference Planning Team members to help ensure programs are student focused.   Works in collaboration with the student regional director as needed.

Conference Programming and Communications Team

Programming and Communication Coordinator: Alyssa Frey, Merrimack College
Coordinates publicity for conference; conference booklet and guide; works with communication coordinator for publicity; coordinates social media, conference slide shows, social media challenge. Collaborates with social media and web coordinator.  Team lead for Conference Programming and Communications Team.

Registration/Volunteer/Entertainment: Nora Molloy, University of New Hampshire; Daphney Voltaire, UMass Boston
Plans and oversees online registration and on-site registration alongside Central Office; provides participation lists for events; coordinates volunteers at conference, works collaboratively with volunteer coordinator; oversees Conference Management Team member recruitment; works collaboratively with host institution for logistics of entertainment and engaging/utilizing student/local talent.

Exhibits/Vendors/Hospitality: Mark Metevier, Curry College
Works as part of the Programming and Communications Team; recruit, coordinate, and host exhibitors and vendors; coordinates hospitality suite at conference, develops and leads newcomer orientation/program; may develop other programs/exhibits that facilitate idea-sharing. Works in collaboration with corporate partnerships coordinator.

Scholarship/Fundraising: Eric Bouchard, University of Connecticut
Works as part of the Programming and Communications Team; coordinates activities that will raise funds for scholarships; coordinates and implements both silent/live auctions; may develop other programs/initiatives to support scholarships/fundraising.  Works collaboratively with awards and scholarship coordinator.

Conference International Team

Preconference Program for Non-U.S. Delegates: Adam Dunbar, UMass Lowell
Develops, organizes, and leads program for non-US delegates; develops welcome/orientation; serves as liaison during conference; manages hotel, caterers, and bus logistics; arranges visits with colleges/universities; works with publicity and communication, registration, educational coordinators to ensure seamless program in the U.S.

2018 Conference Chair: Linda Bernazzani, Wentworth Institute of Technology
Assists the current conference chair with logistics, special projects, and other duties as assigned.

Conference Host Team

Conference Coordinator: Geoff Combs, University of Massachusetts–Boston
The regional conference coordinator provides leadership in the planning efforts for the premier educational and networking event of the region. The coordinator is responsible for recruiting, selecting, and leading a committee to plan the regional conference; establishing a planning team from the host institution in support of the conference committee; providing a cost-effective, educational, and engaging experience for professionals and students that supports and advances the mission of ACUI; working closely with the business manager to prepare a budget for the conference; collaborating with other members of the Regional Leadership Team for their needs related to the regional conference, including awards presentations, corporate involvement, membership, regional communications, volunteer recognition, and website; assisting the regional director in recruiting future regional conference locations.

Host Chair & Committee: Erin Dayharsh, UMass Boston and Team
Primary liaison to the university; liaison to hotel regarding contract and other needs; planning/liaison for catering and meals; organizes local transportation information and support; on-site logistics, space needs, signage, and AV support; collaborates with campus programming board/student organizations/departments for entertainment, support, or donations; gathers local information for distribution to conference attendees; plans any local regional trips/excursions alongside entertainment coordinator.