[Omaha.pm] Perl student outreach

Jay Hannah jay at jays.net
Sat Dec 13 05:01:16 PST 2008

On Dec 11, 2008, at 7:28 PM, Eric Wilhelm wrote:
> Hi Robert and Jay,
> I read about your recent lightning talks and I'm very interested in  
> what
> is going on with Perl at UNO and in Omaha (as both the president of
> pdx.pm and the Perl Foundation's administrator from Google's Summer of
> Code 2008.)

They're Robert's lightning talks. I'm just the de-facto Omaha Perl  
Mongers (Omaha.pm) group leader. Due to a work emergency, I didn't  
even show up. I'm a slacker.  :)

> Jay, how is the attendance of students (and professors?) at  
> Omaha.pm and
> other local user groups?  Is your group doing anything to engage with
> students?  Do you have any ideas about how .pm groups can do more to
> reach out to universities?

I am the only Perl-centric regular attendee of our monthly Omaha.pm  
meetings. We hold them in conjunction with the Omaha Dynamic Language  
Users Group (ODynUG), so average attendance is ~10 people, talking  
about many different languages. Several months a year I do Perl  
project status update lightning talks at those meetings, and have  
done full Perl presentations a couple times.

As a general rule, no students or faculty attend those meetings, even  
though they're held in the same room that some UNO computer  
programming classes are taught and are officially sponsored by a  
faculty member.

I'm under the impression that one UNO prof attends the Python users  

As a general rule it appears to me the overlap between academia and  
user group attendance is near zero.

But this apathy is not unique to academia. I continue to be surprised  
by the number of working stiffs like me who use open source tools  
daily but have never attended any relevant user group. It is  
certainly not that we don't have enough groups:


My best guess at the psychology at work is that, academia or not, by  
the end of a day people have had quite enough computer junk in their  
lives, thank you, and have priorities other than tacking on more non- 
mandated geek time.

I invite everyone that ever breathes the word "Perl" within ear shot  
of me to come to our meetings. (I hand out Omaha.pm business cards.)   
I've done nothing else to "engage the students" or "reach out to  

What more could be done?

     Perhaps nothing?




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