SWE Conferences Bring a Flair for Fun

Not so long ago, SWE held in-person conferences that included events designed for socializing and lighthearted fun — in contrast to the serious fare of professional development sessions, job searches, and celebrating achievements. In the WE18 conference issue, the Scrapbook article reflected on fun conference events from over the years. Here’s a look back, with an eye toward the future when we can again partake in “festooned frivolity.”

By Troy Eller English, SWE Archivist

Typical conference attire is both professional and predictable. Attendees at WE18 will notice business suits on job recruiters and job seekers, corporate leaders and conference speakers. Polo shirts and khakis also abound, as do evening dresses for those able to secure tickets to Friday night’s awards banquet and “Celebrate SWE!.” Despite the professional nature of the conference, though, SWE members have also found ways to introduce a bit of humor and whimsy into their conference wardrobe throughout the years. Members have oft worn themed accessories symbolizing their colleges, states, or SWE regions. Occasionally, members have gone above and beyond in the name of costume parties and contests, making room in their luggage and in their careers for a bit of festooned frivolity. Just remember to pack sensible shoes.

group of swe members

Members from SWE’s former Region H (Heartland)

Members from SWE’s former Region H (Heartland) wear headbands with bobbing, glittering hearts at WE10’s “Celebrate SWE!” event. Seated by region at the banquet, region members often wore matching accessories to identify one another and display region affinity.

swe member

Rosie the Riveter

A SWE member dresses as Rosie the Riveter at the iScream Social and Halloween costume contest at WE13 in Baltimore. Some members embodied historic figures: Bernice Brody, F.SWE, and Jeff Brody channeled Pierre and Marie Curie, and Jan Williams, F.SWE, included a raven with her Edgar Allen Poe costume. Others members chose fictional characters; one built a functional Transformers Bumblebee costume, and a large group dressed as nearly every character in The Wizard of Oz, including the yellow brick road.

detroit cutout

1965 National Convention Fun

Members pose behind SWE cartoon character cutouts celebrating the 1965 national convention in Detroit.