Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Student SHRM Conference & H.R. Games at NIU

If you are looking for a way to share or renew your passion for HR, I suggest you do two things, talk to those just starting out in HR and volunteer. This past weekend Northern Illinois University hosted the first Illinois Student SHRM Conference and HR Games, and I had the chance to participate.

The conference was planned and coordinated by the NIU Student Chapter of SHRM, headed up by student, John Bruce under the guidance of NIU faculty advisor Dr. Bishop and ISU faculty advisor Dr. Goodman. There were 48 students from 7 different colleges that met on the campus of NIU for two days to networking, to listen and learn from speakers and to test and challenge their knowledge of HR. Schools represented include: Bradley University, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, Robert Morris University, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign.

The two days were a mix of competition in Jeopardy style HR games, networking and lectures. Thirty HR professionals volunteered to act as judges, timekeepers and score keepers, with John Jorgenson acting as the Head Judge. At the end of the day on Saturday, the final four teams consisted of Eastern Illinois University, Illinois State University, University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University. Eastern Illinois and Illinois State advanced to the finals and in the end Eastern Illinois won the competition. 

Speakers included Jeff DeMoss, District Team Leader at Target, John Savas, VP Business Development at Forest Financial Group and Audrey Southland, Sr. VP HR at Follett Higher Education Group. Topics covered Networking, HR Professionalism, and the Strategic Importance of HR. Sponsors for the weekend were Forest Financial Group, Illinois SHRM State Council, Follett Higher Education Group, Target, Northern Illinois University College of Business, and Northern Illinois University Department of Management.

It was quite amazing to meet these students who represent the future of the HR profession. They are excited to prove what they know, eager to know more and open to all possibilities. The advisors and faculty are dedicated, invested in the success of the students and proud of the student accomplishments. The HR professionals who volunteered were generous in the giving of their time and knowledge, and impressed by the quality of the up and coming professionals. I am truly grateful for having had the opportunity to participate in what hopefully will be an annual event.

-Laura Donahue ISC SHRM Director of College Relations