This past weekend I had the privilege to return to my stomping grounds (at least, figuratively) with two of my Reclaim colleagues, Taylor and Pilot, to attend and participate in a conference that is near and dear to my heart, SUNY’s inaugural Digital Learning Conference.
There are so many things about this conference experience that brought me joy I’m worried I might start rambling too much. So here’s a general outline:
- I first started planning this conference in my previous position back around April 2022.
- I got to meet up with old (and new!) colleagues in-person.
- I got to travel to a conference again!
- I was inspired and reinvigorated in that old, familiar, conference-y way.
Watching baby bird fly
To my first point, I first spoke with Ed Beck and my former boss Paul Schacht about the possibility of such a conference this past April. We were excited about the idea of promoting digital citizenship throughout the SUNY system, and getting the folks together who were interested in and/or already doing this kind of work.
What made this particular conference planning process so exciting and special was that we were able to put together a planning committee that brought in people from various SUNY institutions, like Oneonta, Geneseo, Oswego, Binghamton, and more. The whole team was really dedicated to developing a clear theme and focus for this event, which resulted in some pretty awesome talks and workshops.
When I began my work with Reclaim in late June, I, naturally, had to step away from the planning committee. I couldn’t be more grateful for getting to see and participate in what an amazing job the team did between my time with them and the conference itself!
Hello, fellow humans
This was maybe my second conference since Covid restrictions were eased, and my first one as a Reclaim employee. Since I’ve been working from home full time since late June, it was definitely exciting to mingle with some tangible human beings!
Seeing old colleagues from SUNY was really nice; it felt like I was among friends!
Perhaps most exciting of all, I got to meet Taylor and Pilot in-person for the first time. Even though we’ve been working closely together for the past 5 months, I was somewhat surprised by how seamless it was for us to be in the flesh. Those who share Indian food together are bonded… #4life?
On the road again
While Pilot came by rail, and Taylor came by air, I was fortunate enough to go by the NYS thruway in my car. Oneonta, NY is about a 3.5 hour drive from Rochester, so travel was a breeze for me.
It was so nice to be out and about again. Virtual conferences are really important; they can be more accessible to a broader audience by meeting us where we are physically and bringing more voices to the stage, but I have missed in-person. It’s been said, but the conversations you can have between sessions and at meals are a totally invaluable aspect of in-person conferences.
Here’s to hoping there are more travel opportunities in Reclaim’s future 🔮.
Building off the excitement of travel to in-person conferences, I must say that this conference gave me that old-timey hit of inspiration only available at these types of events.
Listening to people speak about things that make me excited to do my job, like Dr. Lisa Rhody from CUNY and her talk “’Treasures that prevail:’ A Liberatory Approach to Digital Infrastructures”, and connecting with faculty and students who are already doing the amazing things we see the potential for, as well as those who want to get started… all of it is rejuvenating.
All in all, I’m looking forward to continuing to reflect on what I learned at the SUNY DLC ’22, and hope I can work up the courage to share some of those reflections here!