"I mean, we had to, right?" That’s what I told a group of my Big Ten Plus colleagues while I was showing our year-end video and the footage from the U-M game appeared on the screen, complete with the fan in the “surrender cobra” pose. Everyone groaned or laughed, even the folks representing Michigan. Sure, we’re absolutely rivals on the field, but in our field of higher education communications, we’re full of respect and admiration for each other. We’re even friends.
I, along with two of my MSU colleagues, spent a couple of days last week at Washington University at St. Louis (part of the “plus” of our group with a beautiful campus and fantastic hosts), learning from others in our field, sharing ideas, forming partnerships, discussing challenges and offering solutions. Oh, and sweating. A lot. Wow, was it hot. My sweat was sweating. The 102-degree heat index was something to behold. But even extreme temperatures couldn’t keep the Big Ten Plus communicators down for long. We simply wiped off and kept working.
It’s always great to spend time with our contemporaries from other schools. Like I said, we are rivals on the field, but that’s all in fun. The real stuff, the important stuff, is the work that our research universities are doing to change the world. There probably isn’t a researcher around who hasn’t collaborated with a scientist at another university. The best researchers, and communicators, realize that strength comes in numbers and diversity.