Hiram – A $2.1 million gift to Hiram College from alumnus Dean Scarborough ’77 and his wife, Janice Bini, for Tech and Trek sprang into action last week as incoming freshmen picked up their iPad Pro bundles as part of their “Institute Days” orientation. Tech and Trek went campus-wide Sunday, Aug. 27, when Hiram’s entire student body gathered for a daylong celebration that fuses the fanfare with the makings of history. This implementation of an Apple mobile program is the first of its kind to be offered in any four-year college or university in Ohio.
“Hiram is better positioned than any other university in the country to be the place where mobile technology meets mindful technology,” says Hiram President Lori Varlotta, Ph.D. “Tech Trek is one of the most exciting components of the New Liberal Arts for which Hiram will now be known.”
As part of Tech and Trek, all full-time traditional students will receive new iPad Pros, Apple Pencils and keyboards and Vasque hiking boots. The gear, however, only begins to tell the Tech and Trek story. Tech and Trek promotes “mindful technology,” teaching students how to creatively and critically use the contemporary gadgets as learning tools, and when they should consider putting the devices down in a technology timeout.
The spirit of this philosophy underscores the New Liberal Arts, a model that Hiram has introduced and now embodies. Amongst other things, the model structures time for students to get out of their comfort zone and explore the physical and natural world around them. What better way to bring the model to life than by having students join Scarborough and Bini on a 2.3-mile hike near campus at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. The official event kickoff followed at 1 p.m. Welcoming remarks were delivered by Varlotta, Scarborough and Bini, and designer/illustrator Aaron Archer, the creative force behind the Hasbro Transformer® toy line, animation and movies, will speak as well. All very fitting, given the transformational nature of the Tech and Trek program.
Students then trekked in groups of 50 to learning/activity stations dotted across campus. There they were able to: bling and personalize their iPads; learn about the Tech and Trek experience at Tech and Trek Central, stationed at the Hiram College Library; discuss mindfulness; and creatively craft transformations of the Hiram Terrier mascot with Archer’s inspiration.
Festivities continued through late afternoon on Sunday when students gathered at Henry Field for a picnic dinner, games and group drone photos to mark this historic event.
“I think [Tech and Trek] is super innovative and will help us go forward,” says freshman Stella Stevens of Garrettsville.
“It’s really cool and definitely different and creative,” adds new freshman Elijah Skaggs of Galion.