Student leaders prep to welcome 18 universities to campus this week 

When student delegates and their advisors from 18 Midwestern universities come to Pittsburg this week, they'll be attending a regional conference proposed and organized by Pittsburg State University students — a definite resumé-builder, they say. 

Amaya Harris, a management and marketing major, has dreams of a career in sports marketing. Kassidy Toomay, a music education major, plans to apply for a graduate assistantship after graduating.  

Both have had a unique and impactful leadership opportunity for the past year: They’ve been instrumental in bringing to campus the Regional Business Conference for the Midwest Affiliate of the National Association of College & University Residence Halls, or MACURH. 

Harris has been serving as the regional business manager for the event, handling registration and dietary needs of participants, as well as seeking sponsors, while Toomay has served as the regional business conference chair. 

The theme: Showtime. 

“We submitted a 40-page bid document a year ago to get this conference here, addressing everything from the schedule, to the theme, to health and safety considerations, to the layout of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, which is where it’s being held,” Toomay said. “It’s a big deal, and we’re very excited to host it.” 

Toomay is the lead RA, or resident assistant, for Crimson Commons, a modern complex of five buildings with 53 apartment-style units. Harris is a resident assistant in Tanner, a residence hall of over 130 students. 

“This process has really helped me learn,” Harris said. “Connecting with local businesses, drafting letters, the whole communication aspect has been a tremendous experience.” 

They’ve done the work with the help of teams of students, all of whom are looking forward to showing off what Pitt State has to offer. 

“I’m most excited for people to get into town and see gorilla statues everywhere,” Toomay said. “I think this community is special because of its support of the university, and not every town has that.” 

Registration will open Wednesday afternoon and the opening ceremony will be held Thursday. The conference will run through Saturday and will include educational sessions, legislation, and bids for positions for the executive board. 

“This is just the second conference that has been in person since COVID, and something we’re really aiming for with our theme is to give people a great in-person experience, to get people excited to be having in-person conferences again,” Toomay said. 

Their advisor Elizabeth Gier, area coordinator of Dellinger, Nation, and Willard Halls at Pitt State and Residence Hall Assembly advisor, is proud of what they’ve accomplished with their teams over the past year. 

“Amaya and her crew have been instrumental at making this conference accessible to the institutions attending. Kassidy has been amazing at helping us navigate the policies and being a liaison for us to the Board of Directors,” Gier said. “These two have been in it since the beginning, and the other team members that have worked with them have made this process such an enjoyable one as an advisor.”