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Technology policy

Hello again RGS B Students!

We hope everyone is doing well, staying warm, and getting excited to launch out of routine and into the desert this spring! One of the things we want to offer you is a fully present and meaningful experience. For seventy days, we’re going to unplug to plug in; the world will be our entertainment, our group and community, the people we meet along the way our source of energy. While on course, we want to minimize the distractions created by electronics.

We encourage you to read this article on the effect of phones on human interaction. This is probably not anything you haven’t heard before, but we spend so much time explaining our electronics policy because as straightforward as it is in theory, we understand how difficult it can be for students (and families!) in practice. We want you to be on board with the reasons why we ask you to leave these things behind.

Instead of phone calls and personal social media, the yak board will be our main source of communication with those back home. It will be an important goal for all of us to keep friends and families close to our travels and reflections.Take a look at some Yak Boards from previous courses to see what a beautiful record it can be long into the future.

Now, for the do’s and don’ts!

What CAN I bring?

  • If you want to take photos, please bring a small camera and a memory card large enough to hold all of your course memories!
  • We welcome and encourage you to bring a Kindle or other E-Reader! Please download all reads pre-course so that there’s no need to connect to the internet along the way. If you’re looking for inspiration, make sure to check out the Suggested Readings & Resources on page 22 of your Course Preparation Manual for some books that speak to the region and course themes!
  • If you want to listen to music, dig under couch cushions or scour Craigslist for a retro deal to find an old-school MP3 player that doesn’t connect to the internet. There will be some limited opportunities to tune in on long car rides and during personal time.
  • Please also bring your phone along! The I-team will hold onto it most of the time but we’ll have opportunities once a week on average for everyone to have a brief check-in with family.

What CAN’T I bring?

  • Please don’t bring laptops, tablets (including E-Reader tablet devices like Kindle Fire), iPod touches and the like, watches that are also phones, or anything that will be burdensome to carry or catastrophic to lose.

Q: If I deactivate my phone can I still use it as my camera and music player?

A: We acknowledge that smartphones can wear many hats but we’ve found that even a deactivated phone has incredible potential to alter your experience. So to be clear, phones in any form will be carried by instructors. The same goes for iPod Touches, since they are basically the same as a deactivated phone. We’re taking it back to 2005 with iPods and digital cameras!

Thank you for taking the plunge and trusting us on this! If you have more questions beyond what’s covered here please don’t hesitate to post a quick Yak. Keep your eyes peeled over the next few days for pending Yaks from us about packing tips, and student intros from your peers.

Hasta pronto,

Your instructors