Burrill Elected NASPA Knowledge Community Co-Chair
While Curtis Burrill may have a seat at AU as assistant director of Student Activities for Fraternity & Sorority Life, he’s just landed a new chair off campus. Well, a co-chair.
As recently elected co-chair of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ (NASPA) Fraternity and Sorority Life Knowledge Community, Burrill will guide 1,700 colleagues from institutions across the country.
NASPA, a national organization of student affairs administrators in higher education, promotes the advancement of its more than 13,000 members in the student affairs profession. One way NASPA supports its members is through 27 knowledge communities, one of which Burrill now leads.
“It’s really all about creating knowledge [and] providing opportunities for our members to find resources for specific communities, subject matters that pertain to student affairs,” he says. “Trying to get people engaged and connected is really the point of the knowledge community just as much as building that knowledge around the specific topic area.”
After spending the past two years as a regional representative in his knowledge community, Burrill will serve the next three years – one as co-chair elect and two in the post – organizing and engaging members of institutions ranging from places like Penn State to Kennesaw State Universities. He will officially take over as Co-Chair at the 2014 NASPA National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
At its core, the work is all about enriching fraternities and sororities as a whole by collaborating on successes, short-comings, and trends.
“[We’re] trying to get an understanding of what our communities look like in different places. Obviously, every school is different, but overall there is a fraternal movement, and we really try to support it,” he says. “We have an association of fraternity and sorority advisors that we partner with, trying just to have the dialogue about the fraternal movement and how to progress it in a way that’s positive and in line with our organizations.”
Other knowledge communities exist around topics such as LGBT issues, assessment, and indigenous peoples, and Burrill is certain to collaborate with them. Still, his new post and its duties are right in his wheelhouse, right where his heart is.
“My work in fraternity and sorority life and advising is where my passion is in student affairs,” he says. “I just want to make sure that we’re furthering our work and making sure that I can help push the work we’re doing forward and maintain our relevancy on our campuses, making sure we’re doing the right research and providing the right information for campus professional as well as our colleagues in the different national organizations that we partner with.”
Not only will he be helping others further their campus communities, he’ll also be bettering AU with each step as co-chair, whether in examining new research, organizing an annual national Greek Life conference, or just learning through conversation with the scores of NASPA members now looking to his leadership.
“It will definitely help me to be much more engaged with the current research and trends,” he says. “It will help our community also. We’ve been growing dramatically over these last few years. Bringing up our current trends and needs and bouncing them off of my colleagues is really great.”
With a Greek letter population at AU of more than 1,200 students that’s expanded by 40% over the past five years, Burrill is all ears when working with organizations like the Association of Fraternity & Sorority Advisors and the American College Personnel Association.
For him, improving is all about connections.
“It’s really important to build those relationships and bring that knowledge together so that we can all benefit from it. When we’re working in our little silos, a lot of us forget that there are others who could benefit from what we’re doing,” he says.
A five-year member of the AU community and six-year professional in the field, Burrill has dedicated a lot of time to promoting fraternity and sorority life as part of the university experience. Still, this new move, this new chair, is something he’s more than happy to take on.
Just like the students at AU, he’s ready to serve where he can best make an impact.
“It’s going to be a great experience. I’m excited for it,” he says. “It’s going to be some good challenges and opportunities for me to give back to the community.”