I am writing with the disappointing news tha there will be no report forthcoming for the Plains region. I sent out an email query a good month ago, and received only one response, from my colleague Sue Ann Moore here in Missouri; nary a peep from the other state VPs. Last year I had news from Iowa and Missouri, and since that was not enough to warrant publication, I have not tried to extrapolate this year from just one report.
This situation leads me to ponder dark and cynical thoughts about the entire state/regional VP structure--at least here in this region. I am perfectly willing to admit that the problem lies with me, the regional vice president, since I have not been beating the bushes for news, and I would be willing to resign the post if we can find an energetic person more likely to suffuse some life into this region. If I am honest about it (and I am trying to be), my duties at school now simply preclude my being "pro-active" in this position; indeed, I feel lucky just to be "re-active." On the other hand, the problem is not just my own indolence; the steady turnover among state VP's in this region suggests that the malaise I feel includes more than just me.
I have no brilliant simple solutions to offer, nor can I even think of any ideas that would speak to the basic fact, viz., in the Plains states Latin programs are (1) few in number and (2) isolated from one another geographically. Missouri probably has more of these "pockets" than the other states (esp. one like Oklahoma), but that does not mean that it is easier for those pockets to build a rapport with one another. Indeed, I am far from sure that the classicists in KC and St. Louis, for example, even particularly want to associate. Don't get me wrong: this is not a matter of stasis among factions--it's just that, in the rough and tumble of the school year, it matters very little to me fighting the good fight here what's going on across the state.
I do wonder (not for the first time) whether what's wanted is more communication and cooperation within these "pockets" of classical instruction. I would like for the St. Louis classicists to gather, because I do feel a sense of comradery with them simply by virtue of geographical proximity. Maybe those in KC feel the same way. But, whether CAMWS or CPL can or wants to help build intra-city bonds as opposed to inter-state bonds is another matter. I shall not speak for others, but it would be interesting to have a forum some time among us in states like MO, KS, NE, etc. to see if others feel as I do, or whether mine is vox clamantis in deserto.
This material was posted on the web by CPL Chair, Tom Sienkewicz, at Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois. If you have any questions, you can contact him at email@example.com.
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