Over Commencement Weekend, the Experimental Study Group (ESG) hosted alumni from across the decades and around the world in a new, but strangely familiar, venue: the ESG Virtual Lounge. Guests were greeted on the 6th floor in the Building 24 elevator – how everyone, regardless of time or place or sense of urgency, has always entered ESG. Floating in bubbles that framed their faces, guests moved throughout the virtual space, visiting with each other and exploring various rooms, including
- ESG Lounges, where they could contemplate ESG from various angles.
- Decades Rooms, where they traveled back in time to the ESG lounge of yesteryear.
- TEJI (The Educational Justice Institute) Room, where they had a chance to speak with TEJI Co-director and ESG Instructor Lee Perlman about the work TEJI is doing in the field of corrections education.
- Beanbag rooms, where small groups could gather in more intimate settings.
The schedule for the reunion was fairly relaxed. Doors opened at 4 pm. In the second hour, Christian Cardozo ’17, MNG ’18, the ESG Alumni Group chair, gave a few remarks about the work of the ESG Alumni Steering Committee. He then introduced Director Leigh Royden, who updated everyone on the last year of virtual learning at ESG. Guests also heard from Lee Perlman about the work that he and his colleagues are doing to create sustainable solutions to mass incarceration, social injustice, and barriers to reentry through education and emerging technologies.
Approximately 80 people attended. At 8:15 pm, when the last of the site administrators signed off, four alumni were still deep in conversation. We have checked, and they have signed off for now.
The virtual platform we used was spatial.chat. We highly recommend it – intuitive, easy, and lots of fun. All in all, the event was a hit with alumni and staff alike!
— Bettina McGimsey, ESG