Kenneth A. Shaw, Chancellor

Sandi Tams Mulconry '75
Associate Vice President for
University Communications; Publisher

Jeffrey Charboneau G'99
Institutional/Administrative Publications;
Managing Editor

Jay Cox

Laurie Cronin

Gary Pallassino, Christine Yackel G'75

W. Michael McGrath, Amy McVey

W. Michael McGrath

Jennifer Merante

Denise A. Hendee

Erin Corcoran '01
Kathleen Kreuter '01

Joanne Arany
Tammy DiDomenico,
Jonathan Hay,
Judy Holmes G'86,
Wendy S. Loughlin G'95,
Paula Meseroll,
Kevin Morrow,
Kelly Homan Rodoski '92
Charles Salzberg '67
Carol North Schmuckler '57, G'85,

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Like many of you, I spend most of my workday hunkered down in front of a computer. It’s where I write, edit, research, exchange e-mail, and inevitably get tired of staring at the screen. Online, I read newspapers, scout for books at the SU Library, and scan assorted web sites for information.
      This is quite a departure from my days banging out stories on a manual typewriter and sorting through yellowed newspaper clippings for background material. Admittedly, being connected to the digital world is a blessing. And life only seems to get better as the Information Age enhances more and more facets of our daily routines.
      On the SU campus, it’s a topic explored endlessly. Course catalogs are loaded with computer-connected classes, whether they involve web design, computer architecture, or information technology. And that’s not even considering the online courses that have become so common. In this issue of SU Magazine, for instance, there’s a story about a group of Newhouse professors who are examining the impact of the Internet on the 2000 elections; and another story on the School of Information Studies joining forces with Alcatel Internetworking to establish a center devoted to broadband applications.
      The world, no doubt, has put the pedal to the metal with the emergence of the Internet. There’s no looking back and everything, it seems, is in hyperdrive. Information, whether totally trivial or absolutely essential, had best appear post-haste. If it doesn’t download fast, its time is past. People now swap e-mail jokes more readily than hallway pleasantries and loiter in virtual communities more frequently than in their own neighborhoods.
      But amid this CyberWorld revolution, where seemingly everyone has a dot-com address, a collection of listservs a country-mile long, and a day-trading account, I sometimes feel disconnected. It’s a strange time, after all, when you know more about a Norwegian music promoter than you do about your own neighbor, who, in fact, may know more about an obscure Oaxacan woodcarver than he does about you. It’s like a fast car ride—you’re revved up to reach an inviting destination, but who knows what’s being missed along the roadside as you fly by?
      That’s why every once in a while, I’m relieved to find not everyone is bogged down in this expanse of ever-available, instant information. On a recent stroll across the Quad, I nearly tripped over a student crouched down chalking a meeting announcemont on the sidewalk. Primitive, I thought, yet I was curious enough to wander by later and read the dispatch.
      It wasn’t the only message decorating the Quad sidewalks that day. There were plenty of others, both chalk scrawlings and fliers taped to the concrete. Simple, yet effective, these communiques had sidestepped the CyberWorld. One announced roller hockey tryouts, another a fraternity’s ice-cream social. Surprisingly, only one included a web site address—and it was an invitation to download five new songs off a music site. There was also one that gave a Latin American history lesson. “Simon Bolivar,” it said, “is known as the ‘George Washington’ of Latin America.” I’m not sure what this statement’s intent was, but it reassured me that there’s still much more to communication than a computer monitor and an Internet feed.

                                                                                    Jay Cox

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