Well… Where to begin? CASE 8 held a lot of firsts for me: It was my first time at a CASE Conference. It was my first time at any conference. It was my first time in Vancouver, and my first time in Canada. I didn’t even really, fully understand the term “advancement” until a few days before I left. So, for your enjoyment, here’s a quick recap!
Kegan, Ashley and I drove to Vancouver. The drive was delightful, and Kegan managed not to get us all detained at the border! We happily checked into our hotels after the eight-hour drive, and headed down the street for dinner, during which our delightful waiter gave us some tips of things to see in the city.
Conference opportunities didn’t start until the afternoon, so after picking up our name tags & schedules in the morning, we took the opportunity to see a bit of the city: We walked and shopped around the downtown area and enjoyed our first Canadian staple: Tim Horton’s! And then we made our way to Granville Island, where we enjoyed the public market and some of the shops & galleries.
In the Pacific Centre mall, we actually got interviewed by a personality from CTV! The segment, which contains man-on-the-street style interviews about random topics at the end of the Vancouver newscast is online here.
The opening keynote was given that evening by Shane Koyczan. You may know him from his TedTalk….
His keynote speech was very similar to this talk: kind of fading in and out of poetry and public speaking. It wasn’t so much about our careers in higher education, but about life and how to be creative. I heard mixed reviews from other conference-goers, but I LOVED it! I jotted down a few notes a few notes:
•”If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces”
•My favorite quote from the Velveteen Rabbit, “…by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”, which almost brought me to tears because my Grandaddy read me this book before he passed away, and it’s always meant the world to me, as a metaphor for salvation.
•”In this world, If you can’t succeed in the formula set out for you, you will not be successful.” (which basically means …life ain’t fair!) But if you spend your life conforming to a broken process, you break yourself in the process.”
•”Stop waiting for a breakthrough.”
So it was a lot of stuff I’d heard before, but said in an awesome, poetic new way, and it reminded me of a song by one of my favorite bands, The Mountain Goats.
[If you don't feel like listening to the whole song, my favorite line is "When you punish a person for dreaming his dream don't expect him to thank or forgive you."]
After the opening reception, 10 of us from URM, Public Health & development headed out for a delicious Mexican dinner in the Gaslight District, where the staff were kind enough to let us watch our CTV interview on their TV! Ha.
Thursday, we got into the nitty gritty of the conference. First, we heard from Simon Fraser University about “Why We Stopped Talking About Ourselves”. They shared their “Are you SFU” campaign for prospective students:
I really liked how the illustrations they used in their video, website and print materials all matched, and were really cute and fun. The point basically was: they stopped telling students about themselves; they stopped recruiting students. Instead, they started SEARCHING for the RIGHT students, the ones who would belong on their campus and thrive. Pretty cool!
As you all know by now, I was REALLY excited for the second session that day, because it was given by two social media professionals from Arkansas, one from Central Arkansas University and one from Arkansas Tech University. But, honestly, I was a bit disappointed in the representation from my home state, and I’m sad to say I didn’t learn too much about social media. However, I did get an idea from the lady from ATU. She said she reads her university’s strategic plan every morning before she starts the day. I know this sounds a little excessive, but when you’re writing all day, and the plan is part of the messaging, I think it could only help, so I might start doing that! We’ll see.
At the Communications Awards Luncheon, we were awarded a Grand Gold award for Kel Wer! But, were denied the Cregal. Maybe next year, guys.
After lunch, I sat in to hear Melody and Carson present “A Tale of Two Beavers,” and they did a great job talking about our rebrand!
The last session of the day was presented by UBC about “Breaking Down the Digital Wall”. Until this presentation, I’d never heard “digital immigrants” used as a term, which I thought was interesting. They talked about their use of storybox, which is similar to tools we’re utilizing, and reminded us to ask the questions: Are you building stories that lets your audience in? How does your audience participate?
That evening, the alumni association took us out for a great dinner, where I ate probably two loaves of bread by myself, among other things….
Because we had to drive home, we only got to attend one session on the final day of the conference, presented by the University of Manitoba. They talked about embracing their perceived negatives for a marketing campaign. They turned negative words like cold, flat, boring, old-fashioned into words like “pioneer” and “visionary”, using them boldly with great black and white photography. I really liked their ideas, but (fortunately), I don’t think we’re facing many of the same challenges they are…
Wrapping it Up…
So all in all, it was a great time, and I’m really thankful for the opportunity! As you can see, I got some great ideas, met some interesting people and basically became internationally famous. Thanks for reading!