Ten weeks ago, my senior seminar students decided what project they wanted to pursue this semester. I was thrilled at the time to have a direction and a goal.
The uncertainty that plagued me after that decision was made was about the signature event for the project. I'm a convert to having some big splashy thing happen in any student project -- but especially for an awareness campaign -- to which media can be invited to help spread the word. For our campaign, which seeks to rally support for permanent protection for the Jewel Moore Nature Reserve, I initially had a problem wrapping my head around such an event. Students had brainstormed ideas like holding classes in the Reserve, inviting in school groups, doing performance art. I was worried that the concepts were too complicated, too hard to communicate to the media and the campus audience, not camera-friendly enough.
Then a few days later, during a early-hours period of sleeplessness, I had a vision. People holding hands and forming a human chain around the entire Nature Reserve. It was exactly what I was looking for -- simple, symbolic, visual, participatory.
Tomorrow my vision is going to come true. I'm hoping for a big turnout, and fussing over details. I'm still a little worried about the weather, although the forecast has been improving steadily. I anticipate an exhausting day tomorrow, fraught with anxiety over success and unanswered questions and unforeseen difficulties. But I'm starting to think it's going to come off. And if any part of my vision turns into reality, I'm going to be ecstatic.
If you're in town, come join us -- 1:40-2:30 at the Nature Reserve along Farris Road. You could show up in my dream!