There are two tall – and empty – file cabinets in my office that I hope to move out over the holiday break.  And doing so will make room for a larger conference table, which I know will be put to good use as meeting spaces in our very full building are few and far between (read more about our Campaign to remodel Parrington Hall!).

So, looking for a great bargain, I went in search of a conference table at the UW Surplus “shop.”  It’s the equivalent of Goodwill for the University, filled with furniture and office equipment donated by UW departments and Schools, on sale for purchase by other UW departments and Schools.

The warehouse is filled with rows and rows of used file cabinets – yours, for $5 each!  Tall stacks of keyboards for a dollar.  Lines of small desktop monitors.  Dented drafting tables – a bargain at $10.  Heaps of computer cables.  And…three canoes – only $85 each!

As if I wasn’t already convinced we are in another digital technology “wave,” the relics of a day when pieces of papers were printed and kept in binders or files, when work was done at stationary computers, and when we required wires to connect us to information that I found at the UW Surplus Shop were a great reminder.

I read an article a while back, What ‘Digital’ Really Means by McKinsey & Company, in which the authors suggest that digital should be seen “less as a thing and more a way of doing things.”

Last spring, thanks to the Evans School’s launch of IPPHL (our International Program for Public Health Leadership), we were able to jumpstart a broader integration of digital strategies into aspects of our curriculum and methods of instruction.  That is, we were able to start doing things differently. 

We’re thinking a lot about how we do things at the Evans School, and how we can be responsive not only to the emerging needs and expectations of our students, but also to the realities of the digital workplaces they will go on to lead throughout their careers.  IPPHL gave us a great start – but we’re still just on the cusp of “going digital.”

I’m excited about the opportunity for us to scale our impact through technology – so stay tuned in 2018 for more on what this will look like within and beyond the walls of Parrington. 

Oh, and if you’re in the market for a canoe, UW Surplus is open to the public every Tuesday, noon – 6pm.