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Alumni Report

BYU Sponsors Regional Conference, Promotes “Peak Performance”

By Todd R. Michaelis, ’90

THE phrase peak performance may bring to mind a runner stretching across the finish line or a bobsled whizzing down an icy track in record time—or a theme to build relationships and invigorate minds.

A team of BYU students chose “Peak Performance” as the theme for the 2003 District VII Association of Student Advancement Programs (ASAP), sponsored by BYU and conducted at Aspen Grove. Students representing alumni programs at universities in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah attended.

“The setting at Aspen Grove was the perfect complement to our theme ‘Peak Performance,'” said Janene S. Smith, ’03, conference cochair. “Participants enjoyed two tightly packed days, which included professional and student presentations, a keynote speaker, a visit to the Utah Olympic Park, nightly entertainment, and an address by Neleh Dennis, a survivor from the TV show Survivor.

Putting on a conference for 200 people required an army of volunteers. Some 40 BYU students donated more than 2,000 hours to make the conference run smoothly. Many volunteers served as school hosts responsible for various activities, from providing transportation to making nametags. “Our students bonded with our host—I don’t think we have experienced something like that before,” said Maria Ubago, of California State University, Los Angeles.

The professional presentations offered ways to improve group dynamics, leadership, marketability, and communication. Attendees had a variety of topics to choose from, such as “Is Lying Sometimes the Right Thing for an Honest Person to Do?” which was presented in a packed room by BYU‘s Emeriti Alumni Association president, Quinn G. McKay, ’54. A keynote address by John C. Lewis, ’77, BYU‘s associate advancement vice president of alumni and external relations, focused on theoretical and practical advice for branding and marketing student alumni associations.

“From John’s address we learned the branding idea—making sure we have our logo on everything. We implemented this idea immediately after returning from the conference,” said Seth Haye, of Seaver College, Pepperdine University. Student presentations included creating fun homecoming activities on a budget and promoting community and diversity.

Organizing the conference was a demanding task, but for Melanie Hart, ’04, BYU Student Alumni Association vice president, it all became worth it during an evening performance by BYU‘s a cappella group Vocal Point. “The weeks of preparation before the conference were chaos, and I asked myself, ‘Why I am doing this?’ The answer came to me when Vocal Point was performing. They shifted from a funny song to a sacred hymn, ‘Be Still My Soul’—everyone became quiet. For me, this was a special moment.”