This summer I’m working as an assistant liaison, coordinating the affairs of a state-wide summer program for Native American high-schoolers which is hosted annually on the Komplexify U campus. As most of my previous “service” work to the university has been on either ad-hoc committees or doing department tasks, this is the first real non-academic post I’ve held, and as a result I’m getting a crash course in the bureaucratic etiquette needed to interact with different programs and different departments on and off campus.
Case in point, today I sat in on a telephone conference between representatives of the summer program, the university, and a corporate sponsor who generously donated a significant sum of money to help connect the program and the university together. Ironically, though the call took over an hour to transact and included the phrases “win-win situation,” “thinking outside the box,” “giving 110%,” “synergy,” “diversity,” “raising the bar” and “meaningful exchange between our entities” more times can I can remember, the entire substance of the call can be boiled down to:
- University: May we please use some of your funds to pay for activities X, Y, and Z.
- Sponsor: Do these activities connect the school and the program? Will we be mentioned somehow?
- University: Yes, and yes.
- Sponsor: Then yes.
- University: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In related news, the contract scene in A Night at the Opera is a lot less funny now that I know its not a parody.