Inter-Year Retreat 2009
For some time now, various TPPers, having noted that their peers are exceptionally fascinating, gregarious, and talented, have envisioned an event dedicated to enhancing the connection between the two classes. In October of 2009, the vision finally came to fruition with the first (with more planned) “Inter-year Retreat.” Nearly half of the program participants trekked north to the lovely Sargent Center in New Hampshire, just as the air was getting cool and the leaves were turning.
Upon arriving, the participants were informed of the theme for the weekend: King Neptune’s underwater realm was desperately short on plankton, the universal energy source. Though the Chief Technology and Policy Officer had just invented a perpetual-plankton-producing machine, he and his device had been kidnapped. Everyone was divided into teams with the objective of finding the T&P Officer and the plankton machine via a host of activities like skits, teambuilding challenges, and a life-size board game. The four teams were sea-monsters, mer-people, explorers, and pirates.
In addition to themed activities, blocks of the weekend were allotted for free time and outdoor activities like hiking and canoeing. When not struggling to resolve the underwater-world’s energy crisis, TPPers were busy eating, playing board games in the dormitory, cooking s’mores around the campfire, and stargazing.
The plankton problem was eventually solved. But the final activity before returning to lovely Cambridge, MA was a frank discussion between the two classes about the Technology and Policy Program, the two classes’ strengths and weaknesses, and how to ensure a great upcoming academic year. To a person, everyone agreed that the retreat had been both enjoyable and enriching. By all accounts it seems like the objective was fulfilled of opening TPPers’ eyes to the latent potential embedded in their peers, and having a generally great time in the process.