I’ve just arrived in Madison, Wisconsin for the 65th annual congress of the United States Student Association.

USSA, a confederation of student governments and state student associations, is the oldest and largest student-run national student organization in the country. Founded (as the US National Student Association) right here in Madison in the aftermath of World War II, USSA has since 1960 been based in Washington DC, working as a political advocacy organization as well as a grassroots organizing group.

I served on the USSA board of directors for two years as an undergrad, and a short internal history of NSA/USSA that I wrote then was (if I’m remembering the chronology right) the first piece of real historical writing I ever did. USSA shaped me as an activist, and it’s a big part of why I became a historian.

Occasionally over the years, and more regularly recently, USSA has invited me to come out to Congress to lend a hand. So I’ll be here for the next six days, holding a workshop on student history, leading a tour of the organization’s archives at the Wisconsin Historical Society, and helping out with chairing plenary sessions. If you’re here at the conference, come say hi. If not, stay tuned for more — I’ll be writing and tweeting (at hashtag #NSC12) a fair amount, I suspect.