The Coffee with Cobbers topic on Homecoming Friday was a follow-up discussion to the 2009 Faith, Reason and World Affairs Symposium topic: “Where is the We in an iWorld?” Students, faculty, staff and a multitude of alumni back on campus conversed about how technology has helped and hindered society.
Coffee with Cobbers was shorter than usual, only about 20 minutes, because it shared Friday’s community time with Homecoming chapel. However, judging by the animated chatter coming from each table in the Maize, it was still enough time for a dialogue.
Michael Sly, SGA Academic Affairs co-commissioner, said he thought the topic was very relevant, but he still was surprised how well the symposium was attended.
“It [the 8:30 plenary with Mark Bauerlein] was packed,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Much of the discussion revolved around how technology has changed many aspects of daily life. Robert Tunheim, ’82, said his son’s birthday was earlier that week, and it was unbelievable how many people wrote birthday messages on his son’s Facebook wall.
“It was just like ‘boom,’” he said. “That wouldn’t have been the case 10 years ago. We had to really connect to do that.”
Jess Almlie, assistant director of student leadership, said that it can be difficult to even escape technology for a little while. She said you can’t just close the door and be away from the rest of the world because of technology. Consequently, life moves at a faster pace because of the multitude of technology used by our society today.
“You always have that cell phone or that Internet connection, so socially, things are happening constantly and you never get a break from it,” she said.
Tunheim, an attorney in Minneapolis, agreed. He said his clients know they can get a hold of him at almost any time, which wasn’t the case when he started out.
Despite the strong presence of technology in our lives, most agreed that it is entirely necessary. Adam Gilbertson, ’99, is one of the alumnus who agreed.
“Coming out of school, if you’re going into the business world, you have got to understand technology, both the basics of it and how it works, and where things are heading. I certainly didn’t feel prepared for that 10 years ago in college,” Gilbertson said.
Rob Tungseth, a member of the 2009 Homecoming Committee, closed the Coffee with Cobbers session by thanking all of the alumni for coming. He said he greatly appreciates that the alumni, many from a great distance away, come back to campus every year and students enjoy meeting them.
“It’s just nice to see that Concordia means so much to so many folks,” he said.
Marisa Paulson is a senior and the news & features editor of The Concordian, although she still writes when she can. She plans to attend the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in fall 2011.