UCCSC: A First-Timer’s Perspective

Attendees enjoying an outdoor reception

By Jeané Blunt. I recently attended the University of California Computing Services Conference (UCCSC) at UC Davis. This year’s conference was held August 13-15th and had over 600 attendees, making it the largest since UCCSC’s inception in 1983. Being a first-time attendee (and a fairly new UC employee) I didn’t know what to expect. I assumed there would be workshops, mixers and networking opportunities – but UCCSC delivered so much more!

The Welcome Dinner gave attendees a chance to mix and mingle on the grounds of the Robert Mondavi Institute, in the beautiful Good Life Garden. The Good Life Garden boasts an “ever-changing edible landscape”, with organic and sustainably grown vegetables, herbs and flowers. The reception started at 6pm, and the Golden Hour was in full effect as attendees sat down for a buffet-style dinner.

On day two, attendees could attend morning yoga, take a guided tour across the Arboretum, and join colleagues for breakfast – all before 9am! With 60 sessions planned, Tuesday’s schedule had something for everyone, including: Lightning Talks, the Women in Technology Panel and bowling in the Memorial Union. After the last sessions concluded, we all descended upon the Mondavi Center for the annual Larry L. Sautter Award ceremony. University of California Vice President & CIO Tom Andriola presented the awards, provided the entertainment, and “passed the buck” onto UC Santa Barbara (next year’s UCCSC host).

Wednesday might have been the final day of the conference, but attendees still had 64 sessions to choose from, the vendor fair to explore, and an ice cream cart to close out the day. UCCSC was an amazing experience for me; I met countless wonderful people and learned so much valuable information. I recognize that a conference of this magnitude requires a great deal of preparation by many people. UC Davis put on a phenomenal conference and I know their contributions were appreciated by many.

I also had the opportunity to speak with some fellow first-time attendees, and asked them about their experience:

Manisha Kanodia, UCSD – “This conference was a wonderful way to gain an understanding of what other universities are doing to adapt to the evolving needs of their campus. The greatest compliment I can give is that this conference can serve all within the IT community. There were C level professionals, Directors, System Administrators, IT Managers, Software Developers – and with such diversity in attendance, the exchange of ideas and knowledge occurred naturally and easily.”

Mary Salome, UCSF – “…it was great to engage with so many people across UC. The complimentary registration made a huge difference in my getting there. I appreciated having the focus on critical issues like accessibility and workplace equality integrated with the equally critical IT work being done to advance UC’s mission.”

For me, attending UCCSC felt like a warm introduction into the UC IT Community. There are so many of us, with different jobs, tasks and ideas – but at the end of the day, we are one entity working towards a common goal. After attending UCCSC, it is clear to me that this group is full of dedicated, hard-working people that are passionate about the growth and evolution of this community – and I feel fortunate to be a part of it.

This year may have drawn UCCSC’s largest crowd to date, but next year’s conference at UC Santa Barbara promises to be even bigger. For news and updates on UCCSC 2019, follow the UCCSC Slack channel and check out their website.

Headshot of Jeané BluntJeané Blunt is IT communications and UC FCC licensing coordinator at UC Office of the President.

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