Building a stronger SASP identity

We detail our aggressive SASP membership growth plan for the upcoming year and focus on strengthening our connection to Division 16

By Kaleigh Bantum and Lindsey Venesky

SASP ConnectionFor many professional organizations, the New Year brings new executive boards. The Student Affiliates in School Psychology (SASP) is no different. With elections soon approaching, the SASP leaders reflect the achievements of 2011, as well as goals for the year to come.

In doing so, one of the primary objectives that has come out of the conversation has been the need to create a stronger connection between Division 16, the national SASP executive board, and the local SASP chapters. Although SASP has grown throughout the years, both as an organization and as a branch of Division 16, it seems as though there is still confusion as to SASP’s role and function.

Therefore, we chose to dedicate this quarter’s SASP Corner to describing SASP and its connection to Division 16. In doing so, we wanted to provide resources for D16 and SASP members as well as other faculty and graduate students on how they can get involved in SASP. In the upcoming article, we outline what SASP is and what benefits come as being a member of D16 and the SASP student organization. We hope that in doing so, we will create a better understanding of SASP so that we can begin to reach the goal of strengthening the SASP community.

What is the connection?

SASP is a student organization of Division 16 of APA. We are comprised of a national executive board that collaborates directly with Division 16, as well as local chapters that exist across the country.

What does SASP do?

  • As a student-led organization, obtain the full support of Division 16 of the APA.

  • Link graduate students all over the United States to the national leadership environment in school psychology and psychology as a whole.

  • Coordinate student activities at nationally organized conferences through means such as our booth at the NASP convention each year and our annual meeting with APAGS at the APA convention.

  • Collaborate with D16 to provide support and resources to students such as the Division 16/ SASP Diversity Scholarships that are awarded on an annual basis to SASP members.

  • Create a community of school psychology professionals that includes national and local connections for faculty, practitioners, and students.

  • Provide information to graduate students on up to date issues pertaining to school psychology through online forums such as our listserv and Facebook.

  • Encourage participation in activities that will further strengthen school psychology in the future, such as our current involvement on the planning committee for the 2012 School Psychology Futures Forum.

  • Build opportunities and networks between students and professionals.

  • Provide forums for students to disperse their work and share ideas through the SASP publication, From Science to Practice, and our annual SASP Student Research Forum (previously known as SASP Mini-Convention) held at the APA convention each year.

As is evident, SASP has many benefits. Graduate students in school psychology can get involved in SASP at the individual and chapter levels. SASP has been successful in building our individual membership in the past, but in the upcoming year we would like to strengthen our connection to Division 16 by also building membership as Division 16 Student Affiliates. SASP is fully supported by Division 16, and we have to provide support not only by increasing our SASP members, but also promoting SASP members to become members of D16. This is crucial as Division 16 fully supports SASP by providing funding for our Diversity Scholarships, hosting our Student Forum (previously known as the SASP Mini-Convention), and providing travel support for our board members as well those who present at the Student Forum. Although this list is not exhaustive, in outlining our connection to D16, we seek to exemplify the importance of graduate students not only becoming SASP members, but members of Division 16.

Chapter membership is also a focus for SASP in the year to come. Particularly, we would like to create a stronger connection between the local chapters, the national board, and Division 16. Our goals for the upcoming year is to ensure that all of our chapter information is up to date, making sure each chapter has a chapter and faculty representative. With this, we hope to then establish stronger communication with our chapters by holding meetings online and at national conventions such as NASP and APA.

Overall, SASP hopes to continue to grow into the upcoming year as we strive to create leaders in our graduate students that will someday become leaders in our field. We ask you to support our efforts by dispersing this information so that graduate students can gain a better understanding of SASP and our connection to Division 16.

I encourage everyone to check out our SASP website.

If you are a student interested in joining SASP at the individual level please fill out our application.

We also ask you to complete the D16 membership application.

If you are interested in starting a chapter at your university, SASP is more than happy to provide resources to support your efforts as well as guidelines on how to get you chapter started. Having a SASP chapter is a great way to build cohesiveness within your program as well as connect your students to the national environment. Some activities associated with local chapters include:

  • Community service activities to link graduate students to local organizations

  • Attend state and national conferences

  • Fundraisers to support your organization. Also, look into funding opportunities offered to student organizations through your university

  • Social events such as happy hours or holiday parties to provide social activities for students and faculty in your program Create a program newsletter

  • Submit proposals to SASP’s Research Forum at APA

  • Submit publications to SASP’s newsletter, From Science to Practice

  • Hold workshops for students in your program to learn about internships, current issues in the field, etc.

  • Invite guest speakers to come speak to your program regarding issues in school psychology, research happenings in your program, etc.

  • Support students in your program by providing meetings around comprehensive exams, Praxis study sessions, etc.

Please feel free to contact the upcoming 2012 SASP President, Kaleigh Bantum with any questions you may have about SASP. We look forward to the outcome of the upcoming elections, as we strive for another productive year for SASP.