Friday, October 20, 2006

SI Reunion: Lack of planning or lack of caring?

So, I went to the SI Alumni Reunion last Saturday. Let me talk about the highlights of my visit back to the Midwest and then I'll talk about the letdowns. But, here are the photos before I forget about them: Reunion weekend .

- Friday night, Jeff and I got in around 6 and drove into Ann Arbor. Everything looked the same as 6 months ago. We checked into the Lamppost Inn and they informed us that because they were fully booked, we were being upgraded. We had a room with a kitchen, full sized fridge, king sized bed, real wood furniture, a hallway and a nice bathroom with a high pressure shower head. Surprises cannot get any better than that specially since we paid $50 a night.

- That evening, we had dinner at Chili's with Madelyn and Autumn. $3 margaritas and friends I haven't seen in a while.

- Then, we went to Leopold's for a few hours where we had drinks with Amy A , Autumn, Amy G , Madelyn, and Sarah W.

- Saturday morning, we had brunch with Amy A, Autumn, Sarah W and Olga at Cafe Zola . It was really good. I am surprised I never went there in the 2 years I was there.

- After dropping Jeff off at the hotel for a power nap, Amy A, Autumn and I went shopping at our old hunting grounds - The Briarwood Mall .

- At 5:30ish, we headed back, picked up Jeff and met up with Jon B at Buffalo Wild Wings for some spicy chow and the Tigers game.

- Then we went to the SI Reunion, where we all got a nice fleece blankie.

- After the Reunion, we went to Ashley's for an hour or so, where we watched Michigan win against somebody else (I was playing games on Jeff's phone the whole time, as the photos will show).

- Sunday morning, Jeff and I drove down to Sylvania, OH to visit family friends and stayed there overnight.

Now, for my frustrations with the whole trip:

- I wanted to get an oven mitt with the MI map on it and could not find one. The store that carries it for sure was closed.

- The Reunion was a hmm how do I put it gently - failure? let down? People who had RSVPed yes didn't show up. People just didn't show up. There were 2 faculty members and 3 staff members who probably had to be there because they planned it. JB and I had a nice long discussion on what this lack of interest implies.

One, it implies that the School was probably more involved with the iConference than with the Reunion. Well, they could have separated the events.

Two, the notices to alumni didn't go out early enough. People who have just started jobs maybe 6 months ago need more than a few week's notice to plan flights, time off, etc. I booked my ticket way in advance because I saw the information online as I was updating my alumni profile.

Three, there's a lack of a feeling of belonging. Is it a thought that you've paid your dues, you got your degree, there's nothing left to take or give from the School anymore? If that's true, it's really sad. SI is a small school and I'd have thought that would lead to a more cohesive bond between the students which would stick even after we graduate and between the students and the school.

I am sure there were more things we discussed and points we came up with but I'll have to come back and update when I remember more.


Noor said...

I heard about it back in August and thought, "Who'd want to visit Ann Arbor in October?" I didn't really see a reason to fly out, book a hotel, and take time off work. It didn't really seem like there were any activities planned around the reunion - other than the iConference.

I think SI alums do care - there was a reception with Gary Olson in SF in August and it had a pretty good turnout. I just didn't see a reason to travel several thousand miles just to visit SI when I just left! :)

Noor said...

how many alums/students attended?

oh and I'm not surprised about the lack of faculty.

Coffee Luv~ said...

what reunion?

Amy said...

sorry autumn and i had to disappear (for mental health reasons) during the sorry excuse for a reunion.

it seemed more like a networking event for the painfully shy than any kind of party....