I am on the planning committee for the class of 19988’s 20th reunion, now just 9 months away. Below the break is a request/suggestion from a classmate about how we might provide better web tools for people to get-together. Suggestions on how to accomplish this, especially via WordPress, would be most welcome. Does the Alumni Office’s new web services do anything along these lines?

Thanks for volunteering your time to take on planning the reunion! I’m afraid I don’t have that kind of time right now, so wouldn’t be able to be on the committee. But I do have a suggestion that I hope you’ll seriously consider.

When I got the mailings for the 15th Reunion I was immediately struck by how golf-centric it was. I don’t play golf, and I generally consider golf a plague on the earth, so it made me fairly unmotivated to come to the reunion. By coincidence, a few months after our 15th, I went to a very well organized national conference with a couple thousand land conservation professionals from all over the country and the world. A really cool thing they do every year for this conference is to set up an interactive website a couple months ahead of time where anyone who registers can post all kinds of notices and inquiries. I can’t remember exactly what it looked like, but the website was organized into categories such as: need room-mate / daytime activities / evening activities / regional activities (people from the Rocky Mt West for example) / etc. So for example, I could post a note to see if anyone wanted to join me for a hike up Pine Cobble on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 and others could respond and as interest and ideas were exchanged we might end up hiking the Dome on Sunday morning at 10:00. This website was also where one could sign up for “official” events — they usually have a number of tours and hikes and things planned the day before the conference. The result was that it created a forum where people could connect and interact with each other before the event, so while there were plenty of “official” elements of the event that the event planning committee or staff organized, there was also a lot of stuff that got organized organically by the participants that the event organizers didn’t have to put any effort into other than set up the website. I used the website to find a room mate at one of the very expensive hotels near where this was going on, and so greatly reduced the cost to my organization of sending me to the conference.

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