During the first week of January, I, and eight other Maryville College students, participated in the Alliance Management Institute, or AMI, conference.
AMI is a national conference for college students, both undergrad and graduate students, who want to pursue a career in the nonprofit, soon to be known as social, sector. This conference brings students from all over the country together partake in three days of professional development for future nonprofit professionals.
The workshops, activities, networking opportunities, and keynote addresses are all geared toward the achievement of becoming a Certified Nonprofit Professional, or a CNP. This certification is granted based on the achievement of the competencies set by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.
If that term sounds familiar, it is because Maryville College has its very own chapter. The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, shortened to NLA, is a special feature of the college as not all colleges have the privilege of having this organization on their campus.
Through the NLA, students can obtain their certification. Along the way, they get to participate in activities and have access to opportunities that lead to an advantage in the nonprofit sector. One of these opportunities is getting to travel with a group of like-minded students to the annual conference.
This year, members of NLA, including myself, traveled to Denver, whose location changes every year, and gained competencies while having a great time.
We got the chance to meet professionals, executives, organizers and students from other institutions while learning about the various things that come with founding and leading a nonprofit organization.
I, like other students, was able to tailor my experience to not only the competencies I needed but also the issues in which I am most interested.
I attended lectures by professors from other universities, one in particular was about grassroots organization. There we spoke about Black Lives Matter and the ways to craft an effective message for an organization.
Another workshop was led by a nonprofit founder who spoke to students about culture and diversity and how the lack of it can hinder both the organization’s internal operation as well as its impact on the community it wants to help.
There was also a series of brief sessions that allowed students to listen to the various professionals and CNPs attending the conference. This was coupled with keynote speakers who told the stories of their success and gave attendees a position to aspire to.
The conference, however, was not all business. We were given the opportunity to explore downtown Denver. As a group, we traveled to the Colorado’s capitol building, the Denver Art Museum, and ate together at restaurants native to Denver.
Overall, this was a great experience and opportunity that I hope more MC students take advantage of. Also, with the potential growth of the nonprofit sector, this experience can lead to a better society.