Chester E. Peters Lecture Series

by Olivia Miller

Since 1983, the Chester E. Peters Lectures in Student Development Series hosts several prominent professionals in student affairs to the Kansas State University campus. The lecture series is after Chet Peters in recognition of his contributions to K-State students and the student personnel profession. I have been fortunate enough to be one of the students on the planning committee for the event this year. Last Thursday, our committee hosted Dr. Salvador Mena, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs from Rutgers University, to discuss “A Student Affairs Perspective on Responding to Critical Issues on Campus.” We specifically asked Dr. Mena to discuss how to respond to issues such as growing racial tensions on campuses after the Mizzou incident last year.

After six to seven months of planning, our committee was excited to finally have Dr. Mena on campus to give his insight on the topic we had chosen. While the topic was broad, Dr. Mena outlined the history of race both in America in general and college campuses, along with his own unique history growing up in the Bronx as a Puerto Rican-Dominican and first-generation college students, to the various perspectives that are at play on a campus. The lecture was informative and thought-provoking, making many realize that there is no one right way to be fully prepared for any critical issue, but it is better to be thinking ahead rather than being reactive under a media microscope.

While the planning process has been fun, and at times drawn out, my favorite part was welcoming all of the attendees to the event. Many of the student affairs professionals that attended were people who have had a profound impact on me during my time at K-State – and I was pleased to see them all taking time out of their very busy days to listen to our speaker. It made me realize that again, learning does not end as a student, nor does professional development – we must always be seeking it out. I would encourage each of you to look into ways of bringing similar speakers to your campus to engage with your student affairs community!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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