Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 2 - "Building it"

Last night Amy informed the participants that we wouldn't be providing every meal at IDDS 2008 but we agreed that we would provide breakfast one more time, on Tuesday morning
as we didn't want participants who hadn't had a chance to go to the grocery store to start their day on an empty stomach!

Once all participants had gone through their ISO Orientation, ID Registration and basic fire and safety, we were ready to get started on the build it modules. One of the participants, Stephen Gerrard, a final year chemical engineering student at Cambridge, could not get his ID straight away as he still technically had an MIT account from his time spent here on a one year exchange program in 2007. His old ID had to be de-activated first and he was quite disappointed by this, explaining that he had hoped he might have stayed in the MIT system forever!

The three build it projects that the participants had to choose from were a Corn Sheller, Charcoal Press and a Solar Powered flashlight. We had given the participants time during Day 1 to see which of these they would be most interested in and thankfully we were thus able to distribute them into teams of relatively similar numbers. The participants were delighted to finally be given the chance to get their hands dirty as building and constructing technology and physical design's is, after all, why they came to IDDS in the first place!

Amy then decided that she was going to take a different approach to our evening meeting to avoid it from going on for the customary hour as opposed to the optimistic fifteen minutes. She proposed that we run around the group, list of individually what we each needed to get done and then to get people to volunteer to help us out with this within a ten second time frame. This actually worked quite well and Amy maintains that the meeting officially lasted 11 minutes even though we kept talking for at least another fifteen! Kendra Leith, one of the main organizers at both this and last years conference, told me that they employed quite a different system last year - Amy was the one who had to wait 10 seconds before volunteering because she was so eager to help out with all aspects of the conference!

The rest of our evening was spent fraantically combing both the Boson and Cambridge area for one of our most important materials for the conference - balloons! Tomorrow we will be placing the particiapnts, after a lengthly voting process, into thier desired project choices and teams. We are planning some novel team building exercises involving balloons and name game's to help settle the participants into their teams by helping them to learn how to work together. This evening we took the participants to see a local band playing on Massachusetts Avenue to give them the opportunity to let their hair down and get to know each other outside of the hectic atmosphere of MIT and from all accounts, it was much appreciated!

One of the participants, Stephen Gerrard, letting off some steam

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