I recently resigned my position on the Colorado College Alumni Association Board (AAB) so I can devote more time to whiskey. Lest anyone suggest I need to allocate my now-available AAB energy to AA, I have an explanation. But, first:
As a member of the AAB, I was on a brainstorming team that worked to define the AAB’s mission to connect alumni to their alma mater. We determined the AAB’s purpose was to deliver the Colorado College experience to thousands of alumni around the world. But, what exactly is the Colorado College experience? Is it having your mind whirl as a professor points you in an unknown intellectual direction? Is it risking your life crossing an arroyo during a flash flood while on a field trip? Is it chanting T-I-G-E-R-S at a game after you and your friends have all enjoyed your favorite beverage?
The answer is yes. Intellectual expansion, educational adventure, and plain ol’ fun are all part of the Colorado College experience. The AAB creates opportunities for alumni to engage with these experiences at events throughout the country. Our hope is that alumni will walk away from each event feeling nostalgia for their college days, but will also carry with them a renewed spark that inspires their current lives.
Ten years of being an event organizer and AAB board member have certainly sparked my inner Tiger. Last fall, I left my job as a political media strategist in Los Angeles, apparently deciding that a major national economic crisis was the ideal time to not work.
In typical CC fashion, I have moved to an island off the coast of Scotland to write a book. What prompted the decision? Perhaps it was hearing author John Nichols’s 1989 commencement speech where he urged graduates to drop out of society. Perhaps it was the hope that Susan Ashley would learn of my bold individual endeavor in the face of social chaos and grant to me the credit I need to complete my “The Individual vs. Society” thematic minor. Perhaps the reason is simply a desire to face a new situation to learn more about myself and the world.
CC is so ingrained in my actions that I left my job three and a half weeks before I left L.A. … which was three and a half weeks before I left America … to go to India for two blocks (I mean seven weeks) … to then head to Scotland for a semester.
Uh … India? Yep. Somewhere in this process I thought the perfect bridge between Hollywood and Haggis is Hinduism. That’s CC logic for you.
My book will compare the whiskey maturation process to how boys mature into men. I hope to return to the U.S. in late 2009 and hustle to find a publisher. Of course, that means by July I’ll probably be working as a pastry chef in Bogota.
If the CC experience has taught me anything, it’s that lifelong learning isn’t about reaching a destination; it’s about taking as many side trips as you can along the way.
Former AAB Board Member Rob Gard graduated from Colorado College with a degree in English. To follow his exploits in Scotland, visit his Web site www.whiskyguyrob.com