Wednesday, July 29, 2015

From Executive Director Maggie Stevens

Refresh, Reconnect, Reload and Reboot

If you are like me, then you already have a list of projects and activities that you aim to accomplish as soon as commencement is over. For some of you, students left campus this past weekend and you may have already crossed a few things off of your list. For others, you may, with mixed emotions, be counting down the days until classes are over and the campus becomes a little quieter.

Regardless of what your to-do list may look like, I would encourage you find time this summer to reconnect, refresh, reload, and possibly even reboot.

Maybe it is because I am anticipating some computer updates later this week that I have computer metaphors on my mind, but I find them appropriate as I think about how I will spend the upcoming summer months. (And of course, I will tell you how Indiana Campus Compact can help you achieve each of these this summer!)

Reconnect: Whether it is docking my laptop when I come into my office each morning or syncing my iPhone at the end of the day, these are routine activities that allow me to stay connected to my work (and music and apps). While many of us are good at connecting our technology to the necessary power cords and cables each day, we often are not as intentional about connecting with our colleagues and friends. So find time this summer to reconnect with that person you met at a conference earlier this year, the colleague who left your campus last year, or maybe a classmate or mentor you haven’t talked to in many years.

Refresh: If you want the stats (sports, vote counts, or anything else you are interested in) on a webpage to be as up-to-date as possible, then you hit the refresh button on your browser countless times in a 5 minute window. While refreshing a webpage may change the stats on a page, it may not change the entire look of the page. When focusing on refreshing your work, I would contend that a change in the look (i.e. the scenery around you) can make all of the difference.  Drive a different route to work. Go outside at lunch. Attend a retreat. Take an afternoon off and go people watch somewhere.  Small changes can inspire creativity and bring on new energy. Although vacations on the beach are always a great way to refresh, there are lots of ways that you can refresh your routines without leaving town.

Reload (and update): Sometimes programs just don’t load the right way.  Sometimes they need to be updated. Programs are launched, and through trial and error, programmers find bugs and learn what needs to be tweaked in order to make the program more efficient and effective.  We aren’t just talking about computer programs though; we are talking about the programs (and classes) that each of you offer on your campus and in the community. What worked? What didn’t work? Update accordingly. After all, isn’t insanity defined as “doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”? (BTW, while many attribute this quote to Albert Einstein, that probably isn’t its true origin, regardless the sentiment is the same.) Take sometime this summer to reflect on what you have done and then reload your updated programs/classes to your fall schedule.

Reboot: And finally, know that sometimes systems just need to reboot—again, not just computer systems, but the mental and physical systems in your body too. Sometimes the best thing we can do is shut the system down (or end the circular conversation, ongoing email chain, or the never ending meeting) and walk away. Sometimes it’s appropriate to come back later the same day and “boot” it up again; sometimes, you just need to call it a day and start fresh in the morning. Either way, give yourself permission to walk away (for an afternoon, a night or maybe even an entire week) to reboot your mind and your body. Stop, reboot, and restart.

As you think about some of your goals and projects for the summer, Indiana Campus Compact would like to invite you to places where you can reconnect, refresh, reload and even reboot yourself!

  • The Community Service Director’s Institute is just a few weeks away, but there is still time to register.  Come to northern Indiana for a change of scenery (refresh), a chance to connect with colleagues from your own and other campuses (reconnect) and an opportunity to think differently about how you do your work (reload and reboot).
  • The Pen to Paper Academic Writing Retreat is a chance for anyone who needs go get away (refresh) to focus on their writing about service engagement (reload/reboot). Participants will have a chance to talk with other colleagues with similar writing interests and experiences and receive feedback from journal editors (reconnect).

Visit our Facebook page or tweet us @INCampusCompact and let us know how you plan to reconnect, refresh, reload and reboot this summer!

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Indiana Campus Compact is grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for significant funding in support of programs, training,and resources for our member campuses that allow them to deepen their commitment to community engagement and service-learning.