Friday, November 19, 2010

I like IT

I'm back on my old laptop again for the time being, as my Yale-issued Dell is in the hands of the IT Help Desk. For some reason, the Bamboo writing pad I use when I tutor kids online (via is not working, and I can't re-install the CD. I hope they're able to fix it, because the children are counting on me.

Speaking of knowledge displays, yesterday evening was the annual Student/Faculty Challenge at the School of Management, a trivia game-show style event in which four students compete against four faculty members. The students won, as they did last year. Had I been a contestant, I'd have been of little help beyond a few questions in the intersection of business and popular culture. Although I've learned a lot in my MBA program, my desire to pick up a Wall Street Journal hasn't intensified significantly. I'd still rather read Billboard Magazine. To each his own.

Both the clubs I co-lead saw some successes this week. In Q+, a first-year student is putting together what promises to be a really entertaining sketch-performance event where people will act out scenes depicting situations in which gay people and/or allies might feel uncomfortable. The scenes will be followed by discussion. It will be funny. Also in Q+, we're in the midst of working with Student Academic Services to alter the roommate policy during the required first-year international trip. Right now, students are asked to select roommates of the same sex. This has what we call "hetero-normative" implications, such as (1) dictating that same-sex roommate situations would naturally be more comfortable for all students than opposite-sex arrangements, (2) putting a cloak of invisibility on gay couples, (3) implying that there is something wrong with extramarital cohabitation.

Over in the other club I co-lead, the Human Capital Club, we had an info session to solicit first-year candidates to co-lead the club this spring, and next year. It's early in the year for that, but because my friend Erika and I are founding the club, the paperwork requires that we have a team of first-years lined up pretty early, just to ensure that the club doesn't die on the vine. We were really pleased with the turnout -- five people. That's more than enough to lead, and they all seemed really enthusiastic and into it.

It's a nice feeling to know that after I leave here there were be some evidence that I made a difference. I think that's been one of the benefits of school in general that I hadn't foreseen. Just last night, at the weekly happy hour, a girl told me she remembered me from last year because I conducted the campus tour in which she participated. She's not the first to say that, and I remember my tour guides as well. Those kinds of small things -- taking the time to have a conversation, or getting someone in touch with a relevant contact -- can matter to people. And the larger things, like changing the roommate policy or starting a club, can have ripple effects into the future that I'll never even realize! Good effects, I hope.

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