by Jess Faulk
For the last seven summers that I’ve lived in the wonderful city of Boston, I have sought out every free festival, movie, and concert in town and logged it into a Google calendar. I just can’t stand the idea of something amazing (and free) happening and me not knowing about it. Seriously, I get upset when I find out after the fact that I didn’t know about some awesome event.
For those of you who have read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, you probably recognize me as a Maven. The person who takes it on as their personal responsibility to gather massive amounts of information and then pass on knowledge to others. Each May, I pull up every bit of information I can find from web and print sources and feed them into a public Google calendar and share it with the world. I have 50+ Google subscribers. I share the calendar widely, hoping that the information I pull together benefits others. If I can’t make it to a wonderful event, I really want other people to!!
How to make your own calendar:
To make it easier to share, I set up a bit.ly for my annual Boston Summer Calendar: www.bit.ly/bostonsummer
In the “description” section of the event, I copy and paste whatever information I find online. Ideally, a short summary of the event itself. I also copy and paste the link to event itself if possible, and if not available, a link to the source where I found the information.
When possible, I put in exact times of the events so someone can easily see whether they will be able to make it to multiple events in one day.
In the “title” area I write in a dollar amount if it is not free and if the title is short enough, the city or suburb where it is taking place.
Because I am a movie buff, I also take the time to plug in all of the best summer movie premieres too.
This year, I am taking my information gathering to a new level. I have made a public Google document which lists all of the websites I used to gather events. Not only will this make my job easier year after year, but it allows folks to go deeper into any of the venues or city sites that they are interested in. You can see my source listing (50+ sites) at www.bit.ly/bostonsummersources.
Amazing things happening in your city this summer? Then take some time while watching a movie (or two or three) to fill up a public Google calendar and share the wealth of knowledge.
By Kathryn Magura
Hello everyone! It is my pleasure to have the first post in our new “Follow Friday” series. Through these posts, we hope to introduce you to people on Twitter who inspire us, blogs that influence us, or things that we like that we think you may like too.
For the inaugural “Follow Friday” post, I would like to recognize someone I first met when she was a Student Affairs graduate student, but am fortunate to now be able to call my friend, Laura Lambeth.
Laura epitomizes an authentic Student Affairs professional in my mind. Laura is kind, funny, caring and sincere. When you read her tweets, you get the feeling that she is an impassioned learner who enjoys giving back to her community. I don’t remember how I first came to follow Laura back when she was a graduate student at Texas Tech (it probably had something to do with #TallPeopleProblems), but I remember being impressed that a young professional seemed so incredibly wise beyond her years.
After graduating, Laura took a position with the University of Washington Housing and Food Services, and I was excited to learn that she would be moving back to my corner of the country. Soon thereafter, I actually got to meet Laura in person (or IRL, as we say on the internet) and she was just as amazing in person as she is online (except for taller). Laura and I got to hang out at the NWACUHO this past February, and had the opportunity to truly get to know each other better. It was a wonderful experience to meet someone first via a social networking community, and then be able to meet them in person and be able to call them your friend.
If you want insights on working with college students, with a dab of wit and humor, I recommend following Laura Lambeth on Twitter.
By Brenda Bethman
It’s finals week here at UMKC. Combine that with what has become a fairly intense travel schedule, and I’ve got summer travel on the brain. This summer, I’ve got three trips coming up — taking students to St. Louis in May, a seminar in Germany in June, and a vacation in Wisconsin in July. Arranging and keeping track of all the details for those trips requires some assistance from technology, so for this edition of Best Practices, I want to highlight the apps I use to keep track of everything, as well as a couple of non tech helpers I use to make travel easier.
Apps and Websites
First the apps and websites — when making reservations, I rely on several sites for researching prices and then booking flights, hotels, etc. For flights (and more), I like both Expedia and Travelocity, and use both their websites and apps. I’m also a big fan of Booking.com, as I find their recommendations and reviews to generally be solid (I found two of my favorite places to stay in Frankfurt through Booking.com).
Hands down, my all-time favorite travel app — and the one that truly does make my life easier is TripIt. Available as a website, iPhone/iPad, Windows, Blackberry and Android apps, TripIt is the one-stop shop for storing all your travel information.
TripIt syncs between the website and my iPad/iPhone, so I always have the information for all my upcoming trips available. You can also set it up to auto import from an email account or simply forward emails to an address that then imports the information into the appropriate trip or creates a new one. TripIt will accurately import from most major airlines, hotels, etc., as well as OpenTable reservations. For some smaller companies, you may need to manually add the information. Since using TripIt, I no longer print out and carry a bunch of paper confirmations — it’s all on my phone.
TripIt also syncs with other travel apps and websites, including FlightTrack Pro, GateGuru, and TripDeck (just to mention a few). There’s calendar integration and social sharing (in case you want your Facebook friends to know your comings and goings) as well.
My other go-to travel apps (both of which sync with TripIt), are FlightTrack Pro and GateGuru:
As its name implies, FlightTrack Pro tracks your flights for you — need to know if your flight is on time or delayed? What gate it’s at? Just check the app and all the information you need is there. You can import flights from your TripIt trips or add manually. GateGuru is an airport directory on your phone, so when you’re delayed at that airport you’ve never been at before, you can find the bar closest to your gate (or food, or shop to pick up that last-minute souvenir for the folks at home). GateGuru also has reviews and has saved me from bad food on more than one occasion. Recent updates have added the ability to integrate with social media as well as the ability to check in on Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare from the app.
Organizing Your Tech
As I’ve mentioned here before (see here and here), I tend to travel with a fair amount of technology, which unfortunately means carrying a lot of small items (cords, chargers, dongles, etc.). Recently I’ve found two items that make traveling with all of those small items a LOT easier: Tom Bihn’s Clear Organizer Pouches and their Travel Tray. I use the pouch to carry all my cables and chargers, and the travel tray to get my phone, jewelry, etc. through security without losing things and as a place to keep loose items in the hotel room (again without losing or forgetting them).
The travel tray, in particular, really does make my traveling life much easier. I only wish I’d bought one sooner.
What about you? What tech or non tech essentials do you use to make traveling easier? Let us know in the comments!
by Kristen Abell
Well, for some of us, the summer season has already started, and for the rest of us, it’s probably not that far away. Summer tends to be a season of projects, of getting done all that we put off during the year, of rest and relaxation, of catching up. Despite the fact that the reason many of us love our jobs is because of the students, there is also a freedom that comes with having an empty campus, a chance to breathe a little. We’ll enjoy it for a little while, and then come August, we’ll be ready for the students to return, to bring the vibrancy back to our campuses that have been too quiet all summer.
Here at Student Affairs Women Talk Tech, we’re taking stock. We’ve made some changes to our schedule to freshen things up. Instead of posting Monday – Thursday, we’ll now be posting Tuesday – Friday. On Fridays, we’ll be adding a new type of post – the Follow Friday post. This will give our bloggers a chance to tell you who they follow and what they’re reading – and give you some new info to check out hopefully. Consider it your very own student affairs and tech content curation system. Feel free to send us suggestions to check out.
As of this post, we’ve published 458 posts, over slightly less than three years. We’re one of the most consistently updated (and least recognized) blogs in student affairs and technology. This summer, we’ll be bringing you even more and better content, including some collaborative posts by our bloggers, who have so much good info we can’t wait to share it.
We hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it. Happy summer!