Saturday, October 14, 2006
I'm in Big Airport returning from a conference, waiting for a flight that's been delayed about two hours (as they have all the way along the line) that will take me to Northern Clime airport. The conference itself was too busy to report on at the time, but here are a couple of observations:
Most presentations that I saw were excellent. You could really learn something from the papers, and they seemed to get the audience (me included) fired up about the topics and about our own work. Although I always dread going (expense, the stress of travel, and having to talk to people being the top three reasons), conferences do energize you. (Question: How many conference-going cliches can you find in this bullet point? They're true, anyway.) Why does a hotel in a relatively warm climate (50-70 degrees this time of year) feel the need to have (1) windows that don't open, (2) a thermostat that only can be turned down to 64 degrees at night, and (3) a big pouffy down comforter on the bed? So that my eyes will look big and pouffy like the down comforter all day long? If you love the cold and don't do well in heat, though, there was some consolation in that the conference rooms, which felt perfect to me, caused everyone to come in and complain about the low temperatures. Even at a conference at which many of the panels address class and injustice, and at which grassroots organizing is seen as important, no one seems to notice the class hierarchy of institutions represented at the conference (Elite institutions and R1s = many panels; smaller institutions and community colleges = very few panels.) If community colleges and smaller state and private institutions constitute the place where many working adults or first-generation college students receive an education, why aren't there more panels accepted from these institutions?