Some ideas for students/newcomers at DiGRA 2007
Beth Aileen Dillon from Simon Fraser University proposes an interesting idea. According to Beth, at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, there is a "mentor program," in which newcomers were assigned to scholars who have attended the conference in the past and have a session to meet up with them. The veterans of the conference help the newcomers about the conference and meeting people at the conference, making the newcomers feel supported. Moreover, in some cases, such mentorship relation continues even after the conference over long distance communication.
My first thought was that there were two separate issues:
1. Introduction or guidance for those who are new to the DiGRA conference. Many scholars who have started to be in game studies are not junior scholars. Many of them come from different disciplines. It might be good to have a guidance or orientation session early in the program of the conference for those who are new to DiGRA or to the field.
2. A session for students to meet possible mentors. Many students who work on games are not always lucky to have a perfect adviser at their home institute. The DiGRA conference might be able to facilitate students to meet first rate scholars close to their research topic. Mentoring round table sessions like the ones in the last conference will probably do (but I was not involved in any of those sessions, so I do really do not know).
One additional thought: An orientation session of a large group might be useful too, but, to give a personal touch, we might want to organize small group meetings, in which only a small number of newcomers should be assigned to one mentor. A problem, however, will be whether we can get a sufficient number of volunteers for mentors.
I am thinking of one other thing for students. At a meeting like the Society for Social Studies of Science annual meeting, there is a "student party." This is an occasion for junior scholars to know each other than to get support. I am wondering if such an event is desirable.