This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Field Trip

On Wednesday a group of Saint Joseph's College business students attended another business networking event. This time it was off to the big city of Chicago.
Several faculty members spend a lot of time making the preparations for about twenty students to go to Chicago (or Indianapolis) for networking, socializing, practicing their people skills, and generally learning how to behave in an informal business setting. Last year the Chicago event was at the Board of Trade Center. Saint Joseph's College has an alumnus who was able to get the college access to that site, which was quite exciting because visitors are no longer able to see the trading floor of the exchange.
At the time, the Board of Trade had recently merged with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and construction was underway on a new trading floor. Some trading was taking place there already, but more would be coming. The Chicago exchange is among the last of the open-outcry markets. Most trading of this sort is now done electronically. I am pretty sure that what happens on these floors sets the prices that Rensselaer farmers get when they sell their grain here.
The location was exciting, but the space itself was not really very good for what we were doing. We were mingling in a corridor.
The food, though, looked appetizing. I do not often get to sample delicacies like these.
This year we returned to a location that we had used in the past, the Union League Club. It is a very old club, founded well over a century ago, and when I walk into the building, it tells me, "You do not have enough wealth or social status to be here." I usually whisper back, "Calm down. I am just visiting and will be on my way very soon." The Union Club has an impressive collection of art, which is displayed everywhere.
Our reception was in a small room. Down the hall was a large dining room with a couple dozen large pictures. Since no one was there, and we were still waiting for people to arrive, I checked them out. A lot of them were from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The staircase to the ground floor had the pictures below. I am not sure how many floors the Union Club has (update--someone told me it was nine), but I am pretty sure paintings decorated the stairs all the way to the top.The room was better suited for talking to people than the Board of Trade space. The students are encouraged to mingle and meet people, and find out what the "real" world is like.
One of the students who sometimes reads this blog told me that I should take a picture of the plates. I thought that the holes were for holding the plate, sort of like the way an artist holds a palette, but the server corrected me and said that was for a wine glass. Someone showed me how that worked, but it might take some practice for me to get it right.
It is always fun to see the alumni. Sometimes they still remember me and sometimes they do not. They often look a lot different than what they looked like when they were students.
Below are two current students and one one of my all-time favorite students from the past. She had gone to California and gotten a job at New Line Cinema. New Line was recently merged with Warner, and then Warner fired most of the New Line people. So she had moved back to the Midwest, recently gotten married, and will soon be in an upcoming play called Police Academy: Insurgency Emergency. (I forgot to tell one of these women that she recently had a street named after her.)
After two hours, it was time to hit the road. I was very happy that I did not have to drive or do much of anything except come along for the event. We took the Skyway home. I am happy to live without toll booths.
Chicago is a fun place to visit, but....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The art collection is outstanding at the Union League Club. I hope to take a tour one of these years, and I will let you know more detail. They usually have a small art gallery show on one of the floors.