Student Activities and Involvement is excited to host its first annual SOARCon (Student Organization & Advisor Resource Conference) on October 24th, 2021.

SOARCon - Navigating the New Frontier is a conference for incoming and returning student organization leaders, members, and advisors. This conference will provide a way to interact with the incredible resources available to you as a registered student organization, with a specific focus on organizational re-envisioning and re-imagining relationships and interactions.

SOARCon is open to all registered student organizations and is a great way to engage new and returning leaders to a new era of involvement and engagement. Registration has been extended to October 21, 2021!

conference schedule

October 24, 2021 – Reitz Union Rion Ballroom

SOARCon: Navigating the New Frontier


Keynote Speaker, James Tyger; Director of Campus Engagement

Dana McPherson; Director of Marketing and Brand Management

Dana is responsible for advancing the University's reputation in the national and international higher education market. This includes integrating and identifying marketing communications strategies and campaigns; and planning and leading marketing and communications across owned, earned, social, and paid platforms.

Before joining Strategic Communications and Marketing, Dana served as the Assistant Director for Marketing and Strategic Communications for the University of Florida's Division of Student Affairs. Dana has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations from Florida A&M University. Outside of work, Dana is either somewhere getting stamps in her passport or planning her next destination.

Fairen Horner; Associate Director of Marketing and Communications, Social Media

Fairen ensures that the U.F. brand looks the absolute best online every day – a digital bodyguard in a sense. She leads Florida's social media strategy, protects and upholds the brand, and functions as the digital voice, eyes, and ears for the University. Prior to this role, Fairen was the social media lead for her alma mater, Virginia Tech, where she built a #1 ranked Twitter account and #2 ranked Instagram account, according to Rival I.Q.'s higher ed reports. Thanks to her time in the transit marketing and communications world, she also knows an abnormal amount about buses. Fairen helped solve a driver shortage issue by developing an APTA AdWheel Grand Prize award-winning digital ad campaign.

When she isn't writing copy, creating and analyzing content, or fending off trolls, you can probably find Fairen cooking and hanging out with her miniature dachshund, Butterbean.

P.J. Jones; Inclusion Strategist

P.J. is an educator, seeker, consultant, and storyteller. She is a proud Detroit native, born and raised in the city she loves. P.J. obtained my Bachelor of Science in Education from Bowling Green State University and Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University.  While at Western, she worked primarily with fraternities and sororities.  It was during this time, she found her passion for diversity education based on the need to create an inclusive Greek community. After grad school, she moved to the great state of Texas to begin her role as a Diversity Education Specialist within the Department of Multicultural Services at Texas A&M University. P.J. worked with student organizations and campus partners to create customized workshops and training that developed and strengthened their organizations. She then transitioned southeast to the University of Florida to work as the Assistant Director of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, where she was directly responsible for developing and implementing workshops and training for the campus community.

In 2017, while still in her role within higher education, P.J. began answering the calls from universities across the country to consult and be a strategic partner in their organization's growth. This was the start of her independent consulting career. Since then, P.J. has been fortunate to join the dynamic Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management team as the Chief Inclusion Strategist. After five years at the University of Florida, she has transitioned to a new role as the Inclusion Manager with the local utility company for the City of Gainesville.

When P.J. is not helping talented teams Unlearn, you can find her cycling on a bike trail, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, hiking in nature, or headlining karaoke night!


9:15 am | Check-in begins in the Student Activities & Involvement Portal on Level 3 of the Reitz  Union. Light breakfast will be provided.

10:00 am | Conference program begins with Keynote Welcome by Dr. James Tyger in the Rion Ballroom

10:20 am | Deep Dive: Making Your Brand a Top-Five Brand with Dana McPherson and Fairen Horner in the Rion Ballroom

11:20 am | Breakout Session 1 Begins:

Launch Into Event Planning in Room 3320

Funding & Finance Panel: Requesting, Using, and Budgeting Your Money in the Rion Ballroom

Get the Word Out: External Relations 101 in Room 3310

12 pm | Interactive IDEA: Navigating Critical Conversations with P.J. Jones in the Rion Ballroom

1:20 pm |Breakout Session 2 Begins:

What is Green Dot Gators? In the Rion Ballroom

Hook, Line, and Sinker: Member Recruitment & Retention in Room 3320

Your Org is Out of this World! Celebrating Orgs with the Involvement Awards   in Room 3310

2 pm | Closing Remarks in the Rion Ballroom

2:30 pm | Bowling and a Bite student leader mixer in the Game Room

4:30 pm | Conference concludes