Nov. 13, 2013
So here I am—on the road again. For the first time since I traveled around the world on the amazing Spartans Will.360 trip, I left the office and hopped on a plane for a work assignment.
This time I’m not in some remote Chinese village or on the streets of Bangladesh—I’m in the great city of Boston in a lovely hotel with drinkable water, no wild animals and all the modern amenities. I even brought more than one pair of shoes. I’m here with some colleagues at the American Marketing Association Higher Education Symposium where we presented the 360 project to our peers from other universities.
And while I’ve picked up some great new ideas while I’m here, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it seems weird to be anywhere on the road without my 360 crew. Don’t get me wrong, the colleagues I’m with are wonderful, the conference is a good one and it was a lot of fun to watch the Spartans beat Kentucky from a popular sports bar in Boston—it’s just that the 360 trip was truly something special—squat toilets, extreme temperatures, bumpy rides, weird food, dislocated shoulders and all.
Which is exactly why we were asked to present the project in one of the conference sessions. It was special. It was unique. It was smart. It was cool. It was a pretty groundbreaking way to do an annual report—and that’s always reinforced when we have the chance to talk about the project with other university communication professionals. Once we show them what we did, people are pretty impressed and sometimes I think a little jealous that they didn’t come up with such an awesome project first.
I love that we aren’t afraid to try new things—to take a risk here and there and think outside the box. It’s all part of Spartan creativity.
Just like our latest project, 360.24, where we asked Spartans all over the world to share with us moments of their day through video and photos taken on Nov. 6. The footage will eventually be pieced together for a short documentary. The submissions are still coming in, but it’s interesting to see how far and wide Spartans have traveled and the important things they’re doing.
And that’s just one day. One day out of a whole year of Spartan’s lives. We picked a normal day, not a holiday or a day of any significance, because Spartans don’t need a special day to do special things. You could pick any day of the year and find MSU students, faculty and alumni doing great things all over the world.
Like one of my 360 crew members, Kirk Mason. Kirk is an uber-talented undergraduate who traveled with us on five legs of the trip. (Seriously, how fantastic is it that an undergrad got to do something like that?) Not too long after we returned, Kirk joined a group of students on a fascinating study abroad trip to Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand, India. I shared Part I of his short video series, Ecology of the Mountains in a previous post. Make sure to check out Part II: Dancing Queen and the Patels, in this week’s STUDENT VIEW.
On any given day, you’ll also find brilliant faculty and researchers studying thousands of topics. Like Ian Dworkin, an assistant professor in the Department of Zoology Read the FACULTY VOICE: Genes Gone Wild, to learn about the crazy things he found flies doing to escape attack by spiders.
So, once again I find myself propped up in bed, late at night, pecking away at my laptop. The bed might be softer, the food more recognizable and the trip a little more normal, but my feelings remain the same. I’m so proud to be a Spartan. No matter where I go in the world, no matter what day it is, I can find Spartans doing some pretty incredible things.
Photo of autumn leaves at the Natural Science Building by Derrick L. Turner