In 2009, Jeff Jackson created BreakDrink "with the goal of providing news and online professional development for student affairs professionals." The site was the touchstone for many high-level conversations about student affairs. Technology, professional associations, athletics, leadership, and almost anything related to higher education was discussed on BreakDrink. The podcasts that Jeff created (and often hosted or co-hosted) were instrumental in creating a space for alternative forms of professional development for practitioners. I would go so far as to say that BreakDrink was a primary hub for community-building and engagement. Many of my closest professional relationships and connections are because of BreakDrink.
This week, Jeff announced that he is going to retire the site. It's completely understandable and often how these things go, but a part of me is in denial that the student affairs blogosphere will be sans BreakDrink. Knowing that Jeff and his merry band of BreakDrinkers were creating quality content has always been a comforting thought. Jeff, Laura, Greg, the other Jeff, Gary, Sarah, Shawn, Sue, and the rest of the crew gave us all an immeasurable gift.
In 2009, I was so excited that BreakDrink existed. There were few places on the web for student affairs professionals. I frequently commented on posts and was even the first-ever caller to one of the live podcasts. Tom Jackson, then president of ACPA, was on the show to talk about the annual convention as well as the issue of consolidation between NASPA and ACPA. I remember how nervous I was to call in to a live show. It was the first time that I ever had the chance to speak with either Tom or Jeff. That encounter, as Sue "BreakDrink Daily Dose" Caulfield has recreated below, was the start of a great friendship with both Tom and Jeff.
Our field is in a better place in 2013 because of the vision of Jeff Jackson. BreakDrink gave us a wealth of information and resources. Additionally, the site was a major gathering place for those of us who were plugged in at a time when student affairs was still fairly anti-technology. BreakDrink, if/when it disappears, will fade away, but the cultural impact to the profession will be long-lasting.
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["Suedle" illustration by Sue Caulfield]
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