NWASAP Embraces Drupal 8

Northwest Association of Student Affairs Professionals
nwasap drupal 8

The client

The Northwest Association of Student Affairs Professionals is the oldest regional college student personnel organization in North America. It was founded in 1940 by 12 student services professionals representing Washington State College, University of Washington, Multnomah College, College of Puget Sound, Western Washington State College of Education, Whitworth College, Oregon State College, and the University of Montana.

The major activity of NWASAP is an annual conference, held since the inception of the association in 1940. Individuals of national and regional prominence serve as speakers and resource people for the conferences which center on relevant student services topics and current issues in higher education. The underlying philosophy of the organization is to provide an action-oriented conference where those who are engaged in the profession can join together to renew friendships and share ideas for becoming more successful professionals. It is also a time when new and seasoned professionals can spend time learning together.

What they needed

Initially, NWASAP was simply looking for someone to manage their existing infrastructure with the long-term goals of a complete re-design, registration implementation, and easy-to-manage CMS. At the beginning of the project, this involved migrating them off of their existing Joomla instance and porting all content over to Drupal 7 and included conference registration and commerce pieces.

As the site progressed, NWASAP realized that third party payment portals and integrations were more ideal for payment and registration processing than Drupal Commerce. In this effect, the site become a marketing platform to leverage the NWASAP brand, promote engagement, and share blog posts. In October 2015, at the launch of Drupal 8, we made the intentional decision to embrace the core modules of Drupal 8 and leverage the performance increases in Big Pipe.

How I helped

Using the core migration tools and base Drupal 8 functionality, I ported over the pre-existing Drupal 7 site into the latest version (8.0.3). In this work, the older content was flushed out, re-purposed and placed into new, intentional content types.

The design was born from the NWASAP brand and strategic Google fonts were selected for their clarity and flow. This brought new life into the front-end user experience. 


  • Site load times went from 2-3 seconds on a shared hosting platform to 400ms.
  • An intentional base theme and framework, Neato, was implemented and allows better content layout.
  • Content types were expanded to include their profiles and blog posts (previously only had Basic pages).


Drupal 8, Neato, Big Pipe, Shared Hosting