The tail end of 2005 brought several changes began the end of most student organizations on campus. The first was the creation of the Game and Simulation Programming major, which attracted droves of gamers who were great at gaming and spent all their free time gaming and not socializing with humans or using OSes that most games didn’t run on. DeVry basically got invaded by Westwood College.
The second change was the shift of core curriculums in most programs from day classes to night classes, which took place when DeLUG meetings took place. Because they allowed people to take on glamorous full-time day jobs taking phone calls or abusing UPS packages, people did exactly that. While people were somewhat ok with sticking around for a DeLUG meeting after class because they were already there and we had donuts (this was before the krispykremepocalypse), few people would take the effort to arrive on campus earlier than they absolutely had to. Classrooms were full during the day and became close to full every night and nearly impossible to reserve, leading to meetings starting in the Wired Cafe and ending up in whatever classroom we could find until we were kicked out for a class.
The third change was the exit of most of our core members. Our VP left for a job in Wisconsin, promoting our PROMO officer to VP and leaving PROMO vacant. Both the Treasurer and I were on the same senior project team and on our way into the working world. Our new interim-VP was also knee-deep in his own senior project and would graduate with the rest of us, and suddenly became interim-President when I shocked everyone by stepping down. There were a few reasons for this:
“…Yesterday, Club Day was marked by an empty DeLUG table, something that isn’t exactly uncommon for most clubs, although that seemed less of an issue as less people visited or even glanced at any booth in the courtyard. I never really noticed how much overall participation fell until I began to think about how different the situation has changed since large crowds of people congregated around various booths with HAM radio equipment, photo albums, free food, and photo ID registration 3 years ago. Years have since passed, and most of the old clubs have completely disappeared, or are on their last breath…”
“…The problem is not intrinsic to DeLUG, which, despite being unable to get its own students involved, somehow gets half the Linux community in the West Valley involved without even trying. DeVry, by nature, is meant to attract people looking to get in, out, and done. Unlike a traditional academic setting or even its pre-Ghetto marketing, motivations tend to lay purely in dollar amounts, with ‘students’ generally passing off extracurricular activities in order to get an extra few dollars working at Best Buy or getting ‘their money’s worth’ obsessing over a GPA that real-world employers or anyone that matters really don’t care nearly as much about. DeVry’s Phoenix campus is rich in learning outside the curriculum because of student and community organizations that bring knowledge and experience from the real world into the academic world. The richness in activity and sense of community is what led me to choose the Phoenix campus over Long Beach, which felt more like going to a dentist’s office, with the most exciting thing on that campus being a vending machine. None of the drive for intellectual development or fraternal association with the student community inherent in a traditional university exists here…”
“…The question was never what DeLUG was doing wrong—although there is plenty of room for improvement—but rather whether DeVry wants to—deserves to—have DeLUG on its campus. As much more than we have done than any LUG east of Caltech and west of MIT just to exist, we can offer our organization to others that would actually make use of it. DeVry faculty will be just happy being spoon-fed combination advertising/education from Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. This is a school where a 20th century history book gets updated faster than the (only) Linux textbook, which is also riddled with errors and incredibly outdated information and where professors think freshmeat.net is a porn site. DeVry students will be peachy-keen living out the rest of their graduated lives babysitting exchange servers or writing crap VB apps that a high school kid from Apache Junction could do better drunk. As long as people merely tolerate learning and don’t care to go beyond the bare minimum of anything, Linux use at DeVry will be rare and isolated, crippling the communal collaboration that is the cornerstone of open-source software…”
Following my resignation, Ryan.M continued running meetings, and in that time new members from ASU West came into the fold, and eventually that led to our relocation there. Throughout 2006, meetings took place under DISC autonomy (no election) in the Fletcher library, which had a Starbucks on the first floor and study rooms with projectors and wifi in the upper floors.
We were never able to officially reserve any type of room there, posting fliers was restricted to existing clubs, and ASULUG had no presence there. At. All. The west campus’s culture was one where people hadn’t quite discovered that computers can be used to do more than just homework and gaming. Meanwhile, back at DeVry, the lower floor was being gutted and renovated to be used for corporate training for fast-food chains. This ended the Wired Cafe and left no classroom upstairs unoccupied at any point in the day or night schedules. Extracurricular activity ended outside of a few groups the school was forced to run by their overlords in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.
DeLUG’s unofficial yearly pilgrimage to Defcon continued well into 2009, however. In those years, the 5-hour ride to and from Las Vegas and Phoenix was preoccupied with discussions on what was next for DeLUG. The idea of somehow buying out a first-floor space at the DeVry campus for a hackerspace was thrown around once in 2008, but the general consensus of the group in exile was mostly the same as PHX2600’s in 2007: Hackerspace == Money and Drama.
In 2009 I came back from Defcon and decided to introduce Will.B, fellow DeVry survivor, to the local PHX2600 meeting, and there we were visited by some kids mostly from the also-fallen-from-glory DC480 group at UAT who wanted to form a hackerspace in the Phoenix valley area. At that time I was working on marketing for ABLEconf, and thus wanted to have a presence in every local open-source-leaning gathering I could find. After noticing that this group kept refusing to give up, Will and I eventually became some of their first board members and most of DeLUG’s charter was transplanted into the foundation of the new group’s bylaws, with the most notable change being in the first section:
1. The name of this organization shall be known as HeatSync Labs.