Here’s how it happened: it all started with one person going on a little rant on Twitter about how she couldn’t afford to go to SAA because of the registration fees. So I asked her to put her thoughts together and post a comment here. And she did. That got me thinking, and on Facebook I asked my friends if they’d be wiling to kick in some money to help pay for this person’s registration. And of course, a lot of them said they would, because I have lovely friends. The next step was an easy one. On July 1 I posted something here, on Twitter, on my two Facebook accounts (yes ArchivesNext has a Facebook page of its own), and later on the A&A listserv. Soon a helpful colleague forwarded the message, with his own endorsement, to the listservs of the SAA College of Fellows and the Archival Educators. On Thursday, two weeks later, I received the last donation. So like a flashmob, you got together, did something, and now it’s over. As the title says, 94 generous people have funded meeting registrations for 26 people.
18 of those lucky people are students or recent graduates, and they are very excited about attending the meeting. For some, it will be their first and what better introduction to the positive aspects of our profession could there be than to have people step forward to help them out? I’ve suggested to all the lucky people that if they want to say thanks to the donors, they can do so via a comment left on this post. Some of the donors wanted to find a time at the meeting to meet the recipients, and so everyone, donors and scholarship people, are welcome at the official 2011 SAA tweetup on Thursday night. Just write “donor” or “scholarship awardee” on your name tag. I’ve also invited the recipients to write up guest blog posts about their meeting experiences, so watch for those in September. And last, but by no means least, I don’t see any reason not to do this again next year. But with a little more advance notice and planning. So if you didn’t have chance to give this year, don’t worry, I’ll be asking you again before you know it.
And I should note that we had one extremely generous donor who went above and beyond any normal expectations, giving 40% of the total funds received. So thanks to you, Outrageously Generous Donor, and to everyone, including those who gave what they could, even if it was $5. Because of all of you, 60% of the people who applied for a scholarship received one. A lot of people thanked me for doing this, but I can honestly say that it was my pleasure. It’s easy sometimes to focus on what problems there are within our profession, but this little project reminded me and many others that there’s a lot of good out there too.