Get a box

Robert Valentine
Senior lecturer
of advertisingRobert Valentine Senior lecturer of advertising

Column by Robert Valentine, Senior lecturer of advertising

It’s that special time of year again.

No, it’s too early for July 4, despite the prevalence of red, white and blue, which signifies a presidential election year. It’s too early for Election Day, too (sigh).

It is the perfect time for vice presidents, secretaries, volunteer event coordinators and publicity chairmen across campus to get a box. Depending on what you’ve been doing, you might want to get a big one.

The one big problem with the digital age is that all the communication is digital. Gone is the memo, the scribbled list, the minutes of the meeting or the printed letter from someone detailing the steps necessary to pull off the Homecoming fundraiser, the annual alumni dinner or the Rho Rho Rho Kitten Toss for Male Pattern Baldness.

In place of the old fashioned piles of paper are digital files, voice mails and emails that remain only seconds away, assuming you have access to the right computer, cell phone or iPad. Instead of planning meetings, we have group emails. Instead of a filing cabinet drawer in an office somewhere, we have Google Docs or a private Facebook or Pinterest or Twerper or Instacram or some other component of the latest social networking universe.

It’s a vast improvement – until this time next year.

Then, we will find that Pinterest was bought out by ESPN The Website and that your e-notepad has been sent to the big e-recycling bin in the e-sky. Everything was on Dave’s computer, but he forgot to forward it to someone and it fell overboard while he was fishing and writing an accounting paper at the same time. He lost the fish, too.

Andrea can’t remember which password she used for Google Docs, and she has run through all the possible permutations of her ex-boyfriend’s statistics, including birthday, height, weight and the number of times the sleaze bag lied about studying at the Signa Phi Naught house when he was actually out with Stephanie, her ex-BFF (assuming “B” still stands for “best”).

In short: no one knows what we did or how we did it. We only know it took a great deal of work and it was pretty successful. Now what do we do?

“If only,” you wail to an uncaring shoe tree, “we had collected all the lists, charts, programs, plans, posters, receipts, records, thank you notes and spare keys to the rented golf cart and put them all in one place where we could find them this year!”

Well, “if wishes were horses,” as the old saying goes, “there would be plenty of hoof prints around here.”

But wishes are not horses, nor are they careful records, summaries of activities, mailing lists, calling lists, guest lists, bucket lists or suggestions for improvement.

Those you must make, print, preserve and put in a box. You can even include a thumb drive with everything on it. Then, you must make sure the box is not given to Dave, Andrea’s boyfriend, or ol’ professor Postulate who has been declaring his retirement since the reign of the Alexanders and who might just do it this year. He can’t remember where he parked, anyway.

Even if your event was part of the Great Beginnings and Luggage Migration Extravaganza, it’s not too late.

Get a box. Someone is going to have to remember how we do Campus Lights, All Campus Sing, Honors Day, Senior Salute, officer elections, new member installations, Runs, Walks, Sleep-ins, Robings and all the other memorable events of spring. It’s not too early to start making a plan to save all the “stuff” that will make it easier for next year’s wheel re-inventors.

Be a friend; help make life easier for the next class. Make yourself part of history.

Get a box.