Swag & Such: Casting a Vision for the Future Washington Irving Society

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President of the Washington Irving Society

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

After listening to some podcasts about “visioneering” and “vivid vision,” I find myself wondering what the future Washington Irving Society should look like.

As 2020 looms around the corner, I can see one year into the future. We plan to host at least one panel for the American Literature Association conference in San Diego on “Washington Irving and Film.” The Call for Papers will be posted shortly.

This Fall 2019 and then again in Spring 2020, I’ll be visiting Irving’s Sunnyside estate and scouting for venues where we might host a conference for the society. A Washington Irving Society conference is likely for 2021. That puts us two years into the future.

In fact, I would also like to set up a Sunnyside, New York, trip every Fall Break for English majors at Baylor. That’s not really WIS business, but it’s part of the vision I see for Irving scholarship, albeit undergraduate research.

The Washington Irving Society is in the process of putting a treasurer in place so that we can file with the IRS as a non-profit. Hopefully, by January 2020, we’ll be able to take dues and raise funds to sponsor graduate students at our upcoming conferences, to maintain and improve the WIS page, to recognize outstanding scholars, to provide scholarships, and to host receptions.

That’s the future I see, but I need to broaden my horizons if I’m to keep pace with the rest of the world.

Yesterday afternoon, three of my freshmen students stayed after class to take several rounds of selfies and other posed pictures. I didn’t really think much of it. They were working on their poses while I was packing up my things after class. They swapped Instagram and Snap account information, and I thought to myself how nice it was to see freshmen making friends.

But then one of the young women explained to me what had just transpired. She said one of the three had designed and made some earrings to sell for hurricane relief, and they were posting photos of them sporting the earrings to promote the merchandise.

Wow. I was way off base. But pleasantly surprised. How awesome is that?!

Recently, I chatted with some colleagues about our incoming freshmen: how their skill sets seem to fall on the extremes. Some struggle with basic things like getting to class on time and printing papers while other students are running non-profit organizations and operating multiple web sites.

Today, I’m wondering if I’m like one of those students who struggles with the basics when everybody else is juggling so many more awesome activities.

These recent podcasts I absorbed have left me with one simple statement to consider:

“It would be really cool if the Washington Irving Society could ____________________.”

What else might we imagine for future scholarship and the promotion of Irving? Let me know. Help me cast a greater vision. I’d love your feedback.

Please feel free to add to the conversation wherever you like: Twitter, Facebook, on this page. Comments are very much welcomed. Also feel free to message me at Tracy_Hoffman@baylor.edu. I try to respond to all correspondence on Wednesdays, and also update the WIS page.

Published in: on September 25, 2019 at 11:58 am  Leave a Comment  

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