This week, the SC committee met in the historic city of Charleston in South Carolina. This was another so-called “Turnover” meeting. As I explained in this post, in a “turnover” meeting the outgoing SC committee (SC16 this time) meets with the now-in-charge committee for this year’s conference (SC17, so my committee!) to exchange ideas and experiences, discuss issues and problems and suggestions how to fix them for the next conference. This is one instrument SC uses to ensure quality and continuity over the years although the organizing committee changes from year to year. The Turnover meeting is traditionally in a “warmer” location (as it is always mid to end of January), and Charleston did not disappoint us in this regard: we had nice spring temperatures, wore T-shirts during the day, and one evening was even so warm , we could sit outside for a round of drinks after dinner.
Luckily, no major issues happened during SC16 in Salt Lake City, so in the meeting we concentrated on discussing and fixing minor subjects, for example how to improve the double-blind review for technical papers, the child-care room, and the online program available as mobile website instead of a separate smart phone app; all items which were introduced at SC16. Other topics included selecting the final submission deadlines for technical program elements or the communication strategy for the rest of the year. Although this was already the 5th planning meeting for SC17, it felt different this time, now my committee and I are really in charge, as we have to organize this year’s SC conference. We still have 10 months to accomplish this task, but everyone knows how time flies when you are busy 😉 Anyhow, the more planning meetings we have, the more I am convinced I picked the right people for my committee and that we will deliver the best SC conference ever!
In the evenings, we had time to explore the excellent restaurant and bar scene of the city. One bar was especially interesting: it had the custom that guests sign a one dollar bill out of the tip and glue it to the wall:
The weekend before, I had the chance to visit the in Congaree National Park, the largest intact area of old growth hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. The forest gets flooded every winter by the Congaree and Wateree Rivers. This together with perfect temperatures through-out the year make the park home of many national and state champion trees.
Visiting the park in Winter means that it is not as green and pretty as in Summer, but if you are lucky you can experience some of the flooding. In order to make this possible, many miles of the hiking paths of the park are actually elevated wooden board walks. But the best part is that in Winter there are no mosquitos; I got told that some parts of the year, the mosquito situation is so bad that you are only allowed to hike in the park with special protective gear!