I am enjoying a few minutes of light computing in the Student Center at Eastern Michigan University right now: coffee, sunlight, email, Google Reader, Fantasy Football results. I try to spend an hour in the Student Center every Tuesday. The weekly, non-essential outing contributes to my New Faculty Continuing Orientation Plan. Basically, the NFCOP goes like this: leave your office every so often, develop a feel for the place. Frequently I run into students or colleagues as I make my way across campus, and we talk. Also, I walk alternative routes, get to know the landscape, the distances. These semi-strategic excursions are refreshingly ordinary, far less in the vein of anthropological scrutiny (a la Marc Augé) than in slow, deep, you-are-here mapping (a la William Least Heat-Moon). Walks less motivated by ground-truthing this "rhetorical country" than in walking, being here.
EMU’s Student Center is impressive, well designed. It opened just three years ago, making it one of the newest buildings on campus (I can’t remember which is younger, Halle Library or the Student Center; both are crisp, shiny, unworn). There’s much to like about it: restaurants, lunch hour DJs, natural light, an Apple store, outlets, wifi, comfortable seating for Tuesday morning light computing. I’ll be back in the Student Center twice tomorrow, once for a meeting with the Provost, who is also in his first year at EMU and who is meeting with small groups of faculty, and again between classes to meet with a friend from Ypsilanti who played basketball at Park a few years ago when I was working there. He’s running a business in Belleville, Mich.; he called Sunday to see whether we could catch up this week, and it turns out we could. At the Student Center.
My hour here is almost up. I’ll head back to the sixth floor of Pray Harrold where I will button down in my office for a solid three-hour working session. If all goes well, it will include gathering some materials tied to a conference paper and eventual article, reading and commenting a stack of Short Papers, putting the finishing touches on the final project prompt and example for ENGL328, re-reading three chapters of Lanham on the Paramedic Method, and, in whatever time remains, taking a look into setting up a felicitous Bootcamp and VMware Fusion installation on the Macbook. Pickup basketball at REC/IM comes next, and after that, I’ll return to the office to close out this list, perhaps post a few thoughts on Paumgarten’s short and cynical “Out to Lunch” in the latest New Yorker.