Conference: Psi Chi/NEPA Regional Convention Program (2004)
This year's conference of the New England Psychological Association (NEPA) was truly unique! About an hour before the opening dinner started, the entire Rhode Island College campus, host of the conference, went dark due to a power failure. The dinner ceremony was moved to a location with emergency lighting. Fortunately, there was enough emergency power in the auditorium for the APA Distinguished Scientist Lecturer Mahzarin Banaji to continue with her presentation.
By the following morning, however, the electricity had not returned and emergency power was stressed by several major campus activities. Special thanks are due to all our Psi Chi presenters: Sheila O'Brien Quinn (Salve Regina College), Miguel Roig (St. John's University), Joan Cannon (University of Massachusetts Lowell), and Marjy Ehmer (Southern Connecticut State University) who delivered their presentations the old fashioned way--with neither microphone, overheads, or PowerPoint.
But the real high point for me was the Psi Chi Distinguished Lecture by John Hogan (St. John's University). The auditorium was completely black. All the available emergency power was channeled into one outlet to run the computer and projector. We knew there were people in the audience by their sounds (coughs and the occasional "excuse me" as someone tried to sit in an already-occupied seat), but we could not see them. Dr. Hogan delivered his entire talk by flashlight. He used the light to make little circles and gestures that no one could see. But the talk, on classic tales in psychology, was terrific and the old photos he had found made the trade of lights for PowerPoint well worth it. After the talk, he used the flashlight as a searchlight, panning the audience for questions. This certainly was a "different" conference experience!
Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to all the students who chaired the Psi Chi sessions, co-chaired the chapter exchange, and to the members of Rhode Island College Chapter who were everywhere and helped with everything.