When I first arrived on campus in the summer of 2011, I’d just returned from an amazing six-day pre-orientation trip in the woods and was bubbling with the excitement of new friendships and a fresh start (and okay, some nerves too. And mud). As I walked by the Sexual Assault and Rape Prevention Center (SHARPP) on my way to the dining hall with my new friends, I vaguely remember thinking it was odd that there was an entire building dedicated to these services. How common, really, is sexual assault?
March usually embodies the naïve hope of spring: warm weather, green grass, tulips, frolicking in fields…. As I’m writing this blog post warming up my frigid fingers after being slammed by Winter Storm Toby, it’s hard to imagine what a green world feels like. Yet the Orca team has been psyched to be collaborating with universities to promote “green” (like the segue?!) and sustainable initiatives throughout March and into Earth Month in April.
Most notable in March was our initiative to promote the nationwide Recylemania tournament. I was made aware of the tournament after a December phone call with facilities administrators at Southwestern University. They mentioned that Southwestern would be competing in the 8-week competition beginning February 4th. Recyclemania is a “friendly competition for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.” Competing schools raise awareness about waste reduction, increase recycling efforts, and report weights to benchmark against other schools.
After a slower January in which many schools were still on winter break, February has been a busy month for the OrcaTV team. Aside from the personal weirdness of being a Patriots fan living in Philadelphia (ask me about my friends who stole my Pats hat ON MY BIRTHDAY, please!) I’ve been working with schools to support important initiatives through the OrcaTV channel. In February, I was ecstatic to see vibrant Black History Month conversations and some creative campus events celebrating diversity and inclusion. On OrcaTV channels nationwide, campuses advertised events such as the University of Mary Washington’s Step Show, which is sponsored by the James Farmer Multicultural Center and features step teams from around the country. At Pace University, our student ambassador, Rachel, put together a breathtaking slideshow to feature fashion designs from a Pace freshman who was using fashion to inform conversations about Black History Month.
After upwards of fifty school visits in 2017 and countless student engagement-related phone calls, I’ve learned a lot. I get really excited to fly out of Terminal D in the Philadelphia airport because I know there’s a Jamba Juice there, and parking on a new campus is by far the hardest part of a school visit.
It’s been almost two years since I finished my Master’s at the University of New Hampshire. I can still vividly recall my last finals experience in which I had to write four twenty-page papers in one week. Don’t ask me why I left them all until the bitter end – there was definitely a good reason for it. Probably something to do with leading three sunrise New Hampshire Outing Club hikes and planning the English Graduate Organization holiday party the week after Thanksgiving. Regardless, I remember seeing the time on my iPhone tick by as I pounded away on my keyboard and finished the last vestiges of my academic career around 3:00 am, slouched in the wooden chairs of Dimond Library’s second floor.
For the past several weeks, my friends in Philadelphia have been bemused as I’ve recounted my adventures of conferences, happy hours, and networking events galore. With EDUCAUSE and the Apogee Customer Technology Seminar falling within the same three-week period, I’ve had a packed conference schedule that has finally started to wind down for the holidays.