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How the Ripple came to be

by Zawad

This is a tale about blogs, bonds, and boba. To be more specific, it’s about how I got roped into making this blog exist.

It was the first day of October. I was a wide-eyed frosh, blundering my way through MIT. On that day, I’d been lured once again to the ESP Office, this time with promises of a ‘snack’ if I attended a meeting. I arrived, and once my eyes had adjusted to the sensory overload of the office clutter, I spotted it. Boba.

(The boba is actually not relevant at all and I will ignore it ever existed for the rest of this blog post. Why mention it at all? Drama.)

The meeting was for ESP’s Community Working Group. The term ‘Working Group’ might conjure up a black-and-white image of old men with sagging cheeks discussing how to fill a 400 page report with 100 more pages of– I’m gonna stop you there. Because our working group (affectionately called CWG) is… not that. It’s a bunch of plucky undergrads sitting around a horrible mess (underneath which legends say lies a table), trying to come up with cool ideas to build connections between people at ESP Programs!! Ok, maybe that doesn’t sound cool to you. But what about a puzzle hunt? Meme channels for teachers?? What about, dear reader, this very blog you’re reading???

Indeed, it all started at that meeting. While I spent most of it trying to figure out the weird words everyone was saying (which at the time included Summer HSSP and ESPerimental Summer Program), we managed to come up with several ideas for building community at programs. One of the most discussed was Student Confessions – handing the mike over to students and letting them say whatever they thought. Sound familiar?

Next week, we discussed possible details for our ideas. There wasn’t much hope for Confessions. Would people have enough interactions to even care to post? It would survive for the 2 days of splash, and then die out? Would we have to *gasp* submit fake confessions to seed it?? It seemed like too much work for too little gain.

But we had all seen the spark in the idea, and we wanted to keep that spark alive (what we really wanted was to build the next big confessions page). And so the idea evolved. There was another plan for a yearbook, or some sort of video. They all mashed together into this hybrid blog/vlog thing.

And so the plans were set. We would set up a wordpress. We would seed it by writing posts ourselves (hehe). We would put the blog on emails, signs, and have a *presence* at Splash. Everyone would know that the Ripple comes after the Splash…

One week passed.

‘Oh no, I’m busy with classes and Cascade.’

Two weeks passed.

‘Splash is still a month away, right?’

A month passed.

‘WordPress is hard :(‘

After much procrastinating, I finally got the site up. It looked pretty bad. Janice sprinkled some of her magic in, and it was… slightly less bad (and after a recent redesign, it looks great :0).

Because of how late the blog actually got started, we got caught in the tidal wave of the week before Splash. And all the grand plans of signs and *presence* were forgotten in the rush to make sure everything was alright.

But once classes ended on the final period of Sunday, we got to work. We drafted a snippet to add to the closing email, sent out to all students and teachers, asking for blog entries. And we got several, on topics from LaTeX to the MIT Tunnels to the very spirit of Splash! Of course I procrastinated on putting those up as well…

And now the Ripple will continue beyond just after the Splash. I can’t wait to read the blog posts you guys have to share, this summer and beyond!

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