It’s a post about SWIL!
After over 48 straight hours of doing no work, I might as well keep my streak going…
First of all, I’ve missed a number of meetings this semester, including the one where the most recent incident occurred. I don’t think I would call this SWIL politics, but rather SWIL sociology, or perhaps SWIL psychology. Interestingly enough, as an engineer, I am completely unqualified to make judgements on these topics :oP. One of the reasons I’ve missed these meetings is that I’m now able to do other activities, like Tau Beta Pi conferences, robotics experiments, SPC retreats, and all-day gaming sessions. An advantage of not being president, I suppose.
I’ve always been in an interesting position with regard to SWIL. First, a number of non-SWILlies are surprised when I mention that I am in SWIL, or even more, was SWILPresident. I guess I don’t fit their SWIL stereotype, which is odd, considering how irrevocably weird I am…
SWIL is definitely one of my groups of friends, but I don’t think I’ve bonded as closely with SWIL as I have with SCCS, or people I know from other organizations, or with my other close friends. I don’t really know why that is. Maybe I just don’t fit the SWIL mold.
I have moved away from SWIL over the last year, and I think that a shift in the population of the organization has been a major cause of that. The serious gamers have graduated, and gaming is one of the big things that attracted me to SWIL. At the same time, the influx of freshman has been largely of people who are interested in writing, which has never been a hobby of mine. Many of them are also obsessed with slash, but that’s probably a rant for another day. Or a rant for never, seeing as how all of my anti-slash actions seem to make the situation worse for me. :oP
One think that has kept me somewhat distant from the SWIL social group is that none of my other friends are interested in getting involved in any SWIL events. I’m talking about my friends who are serious gamers, the ones I play D&D and other games with on a fairly regular basis. I don’t entirely know their reasons, but I gather that it’s a mix of not wanting to be around specific people who happen to be in SWIL, and not wanting to be associated with SWIL, even though they do many of the things that SWIL does.
I do think that a number of people in SWIL do not have the strongest social skills in one or more departments, and the end result is that minor problems can explode into huge (even schismatic) problems. It sounds like Arthur did a small thing that annoyed a small subset of people at the meeting, and this was compounded by a number of tactless reactions from assorted parties, and the end result was that Arthur was completely shot down.
It seems like meetings have gotten more chaotic than they were last year, and I would attribute that to the larger attendance. It’s just that much harder to deal with side conversations, objections, proposals, etc. when there are more of them. I’ve taken a seminar on how good meetings work, but I think most of the techniques are a little (or a lot) too formal for SWILMeeting. “Tipping the baton”, for example. I don’t know how to “fix” SWILMeeting.
As for the exclusivity of SWIL, I think that SWIL is exclusive by nature, not by design. What SWIL is just isn’t for everyone, so they’re not going to participate in SWIL events. Obviously all of our events are open, but I think the average Swattie would choose not to attend most of those events, no matter who was running them. The fact that we are SWIL (complete with our bad reputation on campus) probably turns off the rest of the non-SWILlies who would be potentially interested. For example, JC and I planning to have a Diplomacy game during finals, but I doubt that we will grab the interest of any of the non-SWIL Diplomacy players. I don’t know what causes this.
As for our campus reputation, I don’t think that there’s an easy fix. I’m not going to consider “be less weird”, because that wouldn’t make sense, and I’m not even sure it would even work. It would also be completely hypocritical. I mean, just look at me. Look at my last 10 LJ posts. You get the idea ;o). There may be something specific to SWIL’s weirdness that scares away generally weird Swatties; I have absolutely no clue what that is.
What it basically comes down to is that I have the impression that there is something wrong with SWIL that is fixable, but that I don’t know how to fix it without completely changing our identity as an organization.