ACUP: Coming up on 50 years
Joe Goss, long-time printing director at Indiana University until he retired a year ago, introduced me to the Association of College and University Printers (ACUP) when I moved from the Texas Department of Human Resources to the University of Iowa in 1986 (I know, I’m showing my age), and I’ve been a member ever since. During that time ACUP has been a valuable resource, primarily by opening the door to its members’ knowledge and expertise. I also get to hang out with some really cool people.
Joe and Harv and Al and Scot and John and Steve and Paul and Maury and Cheryl and Kelly and Mike and Susann and JT and Chuck and Wayne and Rosemary and the Aussies and the Brits and the Canadians—the list goes on forever—all contributed to any success I may have enjoyed in my career. More than that, I’m privileged to call them friends. But I never would have met them if there had been no ACUP.
You see, ACUP is more than a professional organization. It’s a community. A family. Always has been, and I hope it always will be. Maybe it goes back to our roots as an all-volunteer organization, where schools agreed to host the conference because they wanted to give back, but we were never quite sure where the next conference would be until someone stepped up. For nearly 50 years someone always did.
Three years ago ACUP members came together to create a formal organization. You know, one with a budget, by-laws and an executive director. I’m proud to have served on the interim board that hammered the organization together. One of our goals then was to maintain and enhance the unique culture that made ACUP special; and subsequent board members have remained true to that vision.
At a time when other professional organizations are losing members, curtailing services, laying off people and selling their assets, ACUP membership is growing. We’ve come a long way from our first conference as a real organization in Dallas just three short years ago, but we have a way to go. Lisa Hoover, Jen Bowers and the board of directors have strengthened ACUP financially and expanded our portfolio of services, but they can’t do it alone.
Bob Neubauer, In-plant Graphics editor, observed in the January 2014 issue that among the benefits of attending a conference—as opposed to webinars and other forms of online learning—are the “Ah-Ha” moments one may experience at a conference.
“What of the unexpected discoveries we make when engaging in spontaneous conversations with fellow managers?” says Bob. “An off-the-cuff remark by a manager about a new idea he is trying may light a spark in your mind and inspire you to try something similar in your shop.”
I couldn't agree more.
I would also argue that those “A-Ha” moments are fueled by the relationships we have formed through years, or in some cases decades, of ACUP attendance and participation.
ACUP continues to grow as an organization because of its people. Sure we share knowledge and experience, and help our friends in the process, but it goes deeper than that. We truly care about one another. That’s why I continue to participate, and that’s why I hope each of you will as well.
And thanks, Bob, for speaking up for in-plants and in-plant professional organizations.