Recruiting Students (Campus Ambassadors)

William Cattey wdc at MIT.EDU
Wed Jul 2 00:24:08 UTC 2008

My role at MIT is to try and make things easier for all Linux users  
whatever their skill level and whatever their preferred distribution.

In the past MIT had Project Athena which acted as a focal point and  
framework to get students involved in writing software and getting it  
out into the world.  It seems to me that MIT has, if you will, "gone  
meta" on institutionally nurturing open source development.  It's  
kind of assumed that MIT students will write software if necessary as  
part of some bigger world-changing activity.

Living in the trenches as I do, however, I am concerned that not  
enough attention is going into identifying talented and interested  
students, and giving them an entree into the process of getting their  
ideas cooked up tested out and put into the world.  Yes there are  
exciting research projects where a community is formed and creative  
stuff is done, but when the project is over, everybody goes home and  
the lessons learned are published, not passed on.

Recognizing that I cannot get funding for a curriculum activity, and  
I need to assure important bureaucrats that I am not endorsing a  
product, or even putting MIT institutionally behind only one of many  
possible worthy Linux endeavors, I think the Fedora Community is a  
worthy framework.

What would I like to see from your program:

My goal is to help students interested in contributing to open source  
to find out if Fedora is right for them, and if so to make it easy  
for them to get involved, and to enlarge the MIT Linux talent pool.

Similarly to the position articulated by Jeff Spaleta, I need some  
advice in doing the outreach.  What kinds of outreach have been done  
at other schools?  What are the pieces to get this sort of thing  
started?  Most importantly, how can I show that it would be a  
valuable thing to try with low risk to the bureaucrats?

Would I really get emails from students interested in participating  
in Linux support and development if I did nothing more than poster  
the campus?



William Cattey
Linux Platform Coordinator
MIT Information Services & Technology

N42-040M, 617-253-0140, wdc at

On Jun 29, 2008, at 12:06 AM, Larry Cafiero wrote:

> Hey All,
>  I appreciate all the enthusiasm, I know you guys are eager to  
> join, but I
> was more curious in what you guys felt about the actual idea and  
> what you
> would expect out of such a program?  I want it to be different than  
> the
> current ambassadors setup.
>  I know you guys have some bright ideas--let me hear them.
>  Thanks,
>  Jack

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