Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Beautiful College Of Charleston Hosted BarcampCHS And After Party At the Mynt

This was my first detailed walk around the campus of the beautiful College of Charleston. The historic aspects of the city of Charleston and its charm flow onto the campus naturally like a wave to a beach and never misses a beat. It is an elegant blend of the old with the new. I was on the campus for the annual Barcamp.

The College of Charleston was founded in 1770. It is the oldest educational institution south of Virginia, and the 13th oldest in the United States. Three of its founders were signers of the Declaration of Independence and another three were framers of the U.S. Constitution. It offers learning experiences in business, science, teaching, the humanities, languages and the arts.

When you enter the stone archways of Porter's Lodge from George Street you are treated with the grand spectacle of the College's oldest building, the Randolph Hall. It is a humbling experience when you exit the archway and the grand hall comes into view. Stately live oak trees, draped with Spanish moss, shade the brick walkways of Randolf Hall and throughout the main campus. You can see the history. You can feel the history. Its at every corner you turn, it is in every alley you walk, and every iron gate you pass through.

The college has an interesting tradition that sets it apart from other learning institutions. Students, upon completing their undergraduate degrees at the College of Charleston do not wear robes or caps for the spring commencement ceremony. Instead, women students wear white dresses and men wear white dinner jackets each spring at graduation.

BarcampCHS is all about participation. It is all about opportunity. An opportunity for local area techies, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs to share ideas. When I arrived in Charleston, the streets around the campus were crowded. Since I was not familiar with the campus, I had to solicit some directions from various students. Thank goodness for students with smart phones. I immediately began to take pictures. I registered at the Physicians Auditorium and received a bag of swag containing a t-shirt, stickers from sponsors, writing tablets, and ear jacks for plug-ins. I hit the jackpot. I got two t-shirts.

Then, there was the opportunity for attendees to pitch their ideas and we all voted on what sessions we would be interested in attending. A schedule was posted of the winning sessions with the building, room number, and time. Pizza, snacks, and an assortment of refreshments were available to grab as you went from building to building, room to room. The pizza tasted like cheese and sauce on cardboard, but what the heck, it was free. Coastal Coffee Roasters of Summerville, one of the sponsors of the event, provided the coffee, hands down the best in the Lowcountry.

In between sessions, I walked around the campus and took more pictures. There was a robot shooting baskets in front of the Honors College building. An old, black clock nearby caught my attention. It is living relic of the college's glorious history. I walked to the entrance on George Street, admired the huge iron gate used to secure the grounds. A horse carriage loaded with tourists sauntered past. The live oaks along the walkways were huge and their canopy of leaves only allowed the suns rays to penetrate in select places. The final session I attended demonstrated how to get free stuff on the Internet. College students are very creative when it comes to finding ways to earn extra money, especially those in the computer sciences.

The after party was at the Mynt, a fairly new bar/nightclub on Calhoun Street. The Mynt's interior is dominated by the richness of wood and a ceiling accented with colorful lighting and symmetrical shapes. The seating is spacious and the bar area covers a good portion of one wall decorated with ceiling high shelving framed in squares with soft blue lighting. It features appetizers with sandwiches and wraps. The party was on their outside patio. If you were a sponsored attendee you received a free Holy City glass and unlimited Holy City beer. I was not, so no freebies for me. Still, the atmosphere was great, the nighttime weather on the patio pleasant, and it was fun. If you are in town, check out the Mynt for some late night entertainment and refreshment.

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