Work Hard & Be Nice to People

All of the GPP18 folks were reunited at the Switzerland Embassy in Washington, D.C., along with guests and GPP alumni. This event took place about two weeks after the majority of our group had returned back to the states. Some GPP18-ers even traveled directly from Europe after continuing personal travel once our group meeting had subsided. I couldn’t fathom that!

My plus one and I, another PhD student in Food Science, chose to ride with a group in the university van. On the way to D.C., we stopped for lunch at a very cozy coffee shop at James Madison University, where a GPP alum is currently employed as faculty. This individual actually used to be my teaching assistant, although it was a few years ago. It was great to get to chat with him about his experiences as faculty at JMU, and to visit the campus, which I find to be quaint. The coffee shop egg and cheese biscuits weren’t so bad either!

At the Embassy, we presented in our groups that each represented a topic associated with evolving higher education. I was a member of the open access/open movement group. Originally the group name was “open access,” but we soon realized the open movement encompassed so much more than just open access journal publications. It seems like forever ago when we brainstormed presentation topics on the white board walls located in the Steger Center in Rita San Vitale, Switzerland and even more distant when we first chose when group topic we would like to further study.

From our conversations at the Steger Center, I learned that Virginia Tech has an open access fund that helps to cover fees associated with open access publishing. Virginia Tech also participates in International Open Access Week, which I did not realize was an internationally recognized initiative. I’m impressed by the Swiss National Science Foundation’s aim to publish in all open access journals/have open access articles by 2020 as well as Germany’s boycott of Elsevier’s journals.

During our group presentation, audience members did pose difficult questions that I’ve continued to dwell on.

*With all of the resources available (such as MOOCs, robots, etc.), why would a student need to attend college in person anyway?

*How do we get the word out to faculty about archiving and other resources available in relation to open access/science?

Post group presentations, we all enjoyed a wonderful cocktail hour and dinner together, where we were able to catch up with one another, as well as meet other individuals attending the event. Despite how quick of a meeting this was,   it was nice to have a reunion with everyone (although we missed a few folks) – definitely a feeling of nostalgia. 

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