On February 29, 2008 I, along with several members of the College of General Studies Student Government, traveled to Murfreesboro, TN for the 2008 ANTSHE (Association of Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education) conference. It was the first time University of Pittsburgh students attended this event. The trip was a lot of fun and somewhat interesting. CGSSG members gained some knowledge from the material but I think we all realized that the University of Pittsburgh is really far ahead in the way of non-traditional student life.
Of course, the trip couldn’t happen without some humor. On the way down, half our group went to eat before our connecting flight, and the other half went directly to the gate. Heading off to the restaurant, we all checked our watches and had over an hour and a half from the time we landed until our connection departed. After eating, we arrived at the gate 20 minutes before scheduled departure time, only to find the plane taxiing away from the gate. “We gave your seats away to standby passengers” was the only thing I really remember about the conversation – that and Kathy freaking out because she thought she was stranded.
After we arrived in Nashville, about an hour later than anticipated, we headed down to Murfreesboro, TN, home of Middle Tennessee State University. I was amazed as I stared out the window, at how much Nashville had changed since the last time I was there. Highways expanded, buildings erected and traffic was everywhere. As we were chaurfferred down I-24 it seemed like nothing but strip mall after strip mall. I never saw that many Target and Best Buy stores in such a short amount of time! I was freaked out by my realization of what it mean to be in, “suburban America.”
The hotel was nice but the conference was pretty uneventful. I wasn’t impressed with the workshops, the organization, or the keynote address. This speaker was a psychologist from Washington who created some sort of “self-awareness model.” This model, which she stated she teaches to her graduate students, had no scientific backing whatsoever, no results evaluating the model’s effectiveness and lacked any clarity in her explanation of the model’s process. (Honestly, while I was sitting there listening to her, I thought she might break into chants and channel spirits from beyond.) The workshops proved really ineffective and lacked any real interesting content.
On a good note, Sherry Miller-Brown, PhD, an administrator at Pitt asked to conduct two workshops, gave an outstanding presentation to a pretty full crowd. Our Pitt crew demonstrated school pride by wearing school colors, donating gifts as giveaway prizes, and making a great effort to interact with delegates from other institutions. We even offered to the conference administrators that Pitt would like to host the ANTSHE conference in the future.
I really need to praise the University of Pittsburgh for doing as much as it has for its non-traditional student population.
We managed to partake in some fun activities. Ric, JoAnn and several other members went to a Native American Heritage festival, held about fifteen minutes from campus.
And of course we couldn’t be that close to Nashville without visiting the Music City!
Ric, at one of his four times to Crystal.
We headed to Vanderbilt University and took a few pictures