So a few weeks ago I was chosen to go to an Information Fluency workshop at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. Now let me tell you, I was expecting nice, but I was not expecting how nice this joint was going to be. For starters, we were located on Embassy Row between the Italian and Danish embassies, with Hillary and Bill Clinton’s Washington D.C. home across the street. My bedroom was bigger than some of the hotel rooms I’ve stayed in with my family, and my roommates and I had a full kitchen and living room at our disposal. Lastly, there was a full-time housekeeping staff, who were the real MVPs all week. Anyone who gives me tea and snacks during lectures on top of home-cooked meals is number one in my book.
Now moving on to the workshop itself. Phoebe Acheson headed the lectures with different topics for each day, centering around everything from metadata to useful databases for classics students. As a classics major with an interest in library science, the workshop was perfect. I felt that I learned a lot of useful sources for my friends and I back at Grand Valley to use, and I’m excited to integrate this workshop into my senior thesis on Information Literacy Among Undergraduate Classics Students this coming year. The only downside was already knowing some of the things we went over, such as how to use various databases to their fullest potential. I admit my eyes got a bit glazed over at these points, and I drifted off a bit into daydream mode.
The last two things I want to mention are the great networking opportunities (more like making nerdy friends on the other side of the country) I had and the free time we were allowed. It was really neat to meet other Eta Sigma Phi members from around the country, and I’m really excited to hopefully see them again at the National Conference in Pennsylvania next year. Additionally, finding out what other departments did for extracurricular events, community service, and fundraising opportunities was embarrassingly fascinating to me, since I’m excited to bring these ideas back to my own Classics Society at home. Lastly, the fact that we got to do everything from movie nights to sightseeing in Washington D.C. really made the trip feel like a vacation, and broke up the nine day trip well.
So there you have it! If you’re a classics student, I would definitely recommend finding an excuse to venture there at some point. Everyone from the on-staff librarians to the landscape crew are super nice, and the classics library is so huge that you can honestly use the need for research materials alone as an excuse to go.