District 6 & 7 Conference: Columbus, Ohio
Last month, 30 dental students from the Detroit Mercy ASDA chapter piled into cars and took off for a weekend packed with learning, networking with other students and dentists, and fun socials at the ASDA District 6/7 Annual Meeting. A four hour drive, a few wrong turns and a couple of pit stops later, we gathered in the lobby of a hotel in Columbus, Ohio.
The weekend kicked off with a social hosted at Callahan's bar. Dental students from twelve schools across the two districts got together on the rooftop to mingle, dance and to get ready for the days ahead. The following morning, we suited up and got ready for a morning of CE courses and talks from keynote speakers. Students first heard from the District leader, Samantha Lindsey, before Dr. Niveditha Rajagopalan took the stage. Dr. Rajagopalan talked about her journey from dental student to new practicing dentist with Aspen Dental, inspiring us all with her unparalleled drive and dedication.
Shortly after, we gathered to discuss ASDA chapter “Best Practices” in breakout groups with other schools. We divided ourselves amongst the groups to hear from students across the districts about their chapter’s work in leadership, wellness initiatives, fundraising ideas, social media usage, outreach activities, and more. The brainstorming session was invaluable and left us with fresh ideas to bring back to our own chapter.
The most anticipated event of the weekend was “ASDA Goes Wild”. Students hopped onto busses dressed up as cheetahs, alpacas, flamingos and other animals and rode to the Columbus Zoo. The ASDA fevers in the room were sky high as schools anticipated the Gold Onlay award ceremony ahead.
Naturally, Detroit Mercy sat front and center of both the bar and the dancefloor as the awards ceremony began. Between bites of food and sips of wine, students clapped and cheered each time they heard their school name for award categories such as Distinguished ASDA Leader, Best Chapter Social Media Usage, Most Improved Chapter, Best Wellness Event and more. With each Gold Onlay, the anticipation in the room grew as members from each school hoped to be called up.
The first Gold Onlay that Detroit Mercy received was for Best Website. Our website wizards, Anthony Laszlo and Samer Jassar, went up to accept the award as applause and cheers filled the room. We’d had our fingers crossed for this all weekend… little did we know there was more to come!
Detroit Mercy also brought home awards for Best Community Service Event, Best Fundraising Initiative and Best Newsletter Article (shout outs to our Outreach Chair (Kal Barawi), our Fundraising Chair (Megan Width) and our creative writer (Monica Garay)). With each additional Gold Onlay, more and more Detroit Mercy students were up out of their chairs clapping, cheering, yelling and running up to accept awards.
The energy our chapter and our students brought was unmatched by any other school! With it we headed to the dancefloor to celebrate and congratulate the other schools on their successes as well.
The Annual Meeting came to an end Sunday afternoon as we re-packed our bags and got ready for the drive back to Detroit. The ride back gave us all a chance to reflect on all that we’d learned and to relish in the recognition our chapter received for all its hard work. Most importantly, we raised our chapter’s ASDA fevers to new temperatures and we can’t wait to see what NLC brings this year!