***Edit as of Sunday, March 25th. I was staying with Eugene with family from my Dad’s side here in the Boston area in the days after ACUI, and so had limited access to the interwebs… some of what is below is conference wrap up written Wednesday… directly after, and the bulk of it is now…***
The Association of College Unions International Annual Conference 2012 has concluded. As always, the conference was a complete success, and the Boston Conference Planning Team should be thanked and honored for their hard work, dedication to our association, and revolutionary ideas and opportunities presented at this conference.
Here are some of my highlights and excitements this year…
- I had the opportunity to present twice at this conference, on topics I am very passionate about and hope to continue to engage with throughout my time with ACUI. My first presentation was a re-examination of digital student identity, presented with Jeff Pelletier from Ohio State. This was my first time getting to present with Jeff, and it was just as fun to do that as getting to present on this topic. The second one, I presented solo, on the Internationalization of College Unions, a fairly broad and undefined topic. This presentation went really well (better than my regional presentations in the fall), and like Jeff P. said, the regionals are perfect opportunities to present those “drafts” of presentations, and then to present the final product at national conferences. I think my Internationalization presentation is a clear example of this occurring.
- I am moving from Ohio to Boston this year along with Eugene, who will graduate in June, and is also currently searching in the Boston area. I went into this conference with a clear goal of networking and connecting and getting to know colleagues in Region 1 (the New England region of ACUI). This was helped along by numerous parties: Jeff from Ohio State, Bob Rodda from Wooster, and the Tweeterrrrrrr. See, as an introvert, just going up to someone and being like “Oh hey, I’m moving here… talk to me now?” is not in my usual list of cool or comfortable things to do. However, a twitter direct message does the trick. Through that initial conversation set up via Twitter, I had the opportunity to meet a ton of colleagues from around the Region, and have a network in the area that I feel I can rely on and trust for guidance, support and excitement as I pursue jobs in this region. Basically, Tim St. John is awesome. Although, I am breaking one of his tweeting rules by not having a face pic up… which Eric Stoller also berated me for at the ACUI/#SaChat Tweetup.
- ACUI had some wonderful keynotes, unsessions, and educational sessions this year. We got to hear from Elizabeth Alexander who had many wonderful, refreshing, and inspiring things to say and read us the poem that she wrote and read at Barack Obama’s Inauguration Ceremony. The unsessions were also a good addition to the conference overall, featuring topics that were posted and voted on by conference members at the conference. Kony 2012 is a hot topic on campuses right now, and the unsession on it was helpful, bringing together many different perspectives on how to respond to planned events on our campuses and a bit of exploration into this burgeoning phenomenon of “slacktivism.”
- Having gone to two ACUI Annual Conferences and moved into professional life, and moving into a city and region where I know I will be for many years, I am ready to begin volunteering in earnest for ACUI opportunities. I’m looking forward to opportunities to serve on a conference planning team in the future, but I also want to explore international options, whether it is research, outreach, or whatever, ACUI can offer international opportunities and I want to take advantage of that.
My time after in Boston was also great, as Eugene flew out Thursday morning, and we got to stay with family in the area (much better than spending $500 on a hotel). We hit some of the main sites and lots of architectural sites for Eugene, like the ICA, Harvard, MIT, but also got the opportunity to tour a firm that Eugene is applying to. Also, I was disappointed because I didn’t see Mark Zuckerberg or Jesse Eisenberg running around in flip flops at Harvard… I expected at least that.
So, now it is back to Wooster, back to real life and work, and a very intense and crazy week back. Baking will commence again this week with Chocolate Covered Banana Cupcakes, and plans for baking utilizing Girl Scout Cookies (you can be jealous now, yes.)
Other than that… full speed ahead.