Pi monthly meetings have been held in Reston Virginia at the Microsoft Innovation and Technology Center since November 2005. We’re booked to continue until the end of 2006, when we will need to relocate. Because we’re going to be moving and don’t have a definite site, I thought I’d share how a group of Macheads came to be assembling in such an unlike place as one owned by Microsoft Corporation. If you haven’t made one of these meetings, let me tell you the digs are superb, new, state of the art, bright and sunny.
I claim responsibility for finding this wonderful area, which offers expressway access, adequate garage parking, expandable room size (one room can open into as many as four classrooms), Internet access, projection screens and built in projectors, and amplification. I overheard many members mutter some slam about Microsoft when coming to the first meeting. Since then, it seems that members are grateful for the use of the space.
The cost is another plus: we are guests of Microsoft Corporation. (There’s no rental fee). We are guests because of a family connection. My son is a Microsoft employee, and he volunteers each Saturday to open the building and then secure it when we leave. He still thinks I should be using a Windows PC, but he appreciates the passion we Mac users demonstrate by coming out for meetings. He has reminded me many times that Microsoft is a software company whose main threat now is Google, not Apple.
One drawback is that Reston is not amenable to public transportation. Members who use Metro just are not accommodated. I found this meeting place in response to pleas months ago that we find alternate meeting rooms, and ready access to Metro proved to be a difficult task.
Meanwhile we members need to search for future meeting rooms. Attendance averages between forty and ninety individuals, and many libraries around the beltway can offer us that size a space on a Saturday morning. I’ve been to many meetings in different places, always feeling uplifted and encouraged by the camaraderie of learning something about the Mac platform. Presenters have made free trial demonstrations of their nifty software as well to those present-definitely a bonus!
Each meeting is the crafting of many members to prepare the elements, such as the opening Question and Answer, the Guest Presenters, handouts, raffles, door prizes, coffee and tea, etc. Our organization depends on many people taking the time to contribute. It’s a wonderful achievement. It is wonderful to be a part of Washington Apple Pi. I thank all those who have contributed in the past, and urge you to survey places you know-schools, churches, libraries, and hospitals for future meeting sites. We’re going to need a place to meet in January 2007 and beyond.