April 8 started out like any other Saturday in Spring in Corvallis: rainy, then
sunny, then windy, windy-rainy sleet, hail, and then of course, sunny again.
Despite the crazy weather, people from all walks of life still convened at the
Kelley Engineering Center on the Oregon State Campus for the Open Source Lab’s
annual Beaver BarCamp.
For several years now, the OSL has hosted one of Oregon State’s only
unconferences to great success. Just as a refresher, or for any newbies out
there, an unconference is an event in which the attendees decide the topics of
presentation and discussion the day of, rather than determining these topics
ahead of time. This year, we tried a few new things.
Beaver BarCamp is usually more computer science oriented. This year, we wanted
to expand our horizons. Coordinating with major colleges across the OSU campus
along with The CO and SPARK, we promoted the event to a wider audience and
our pool of attendees this year included ecological science, food science, human
communications, and other branches of engineering. Registrations were up nearly
30% this year and we’ve been excited about the general reception of this year’s
“I liked that the diversity of topics didn’t compromise on the
highly technical stuff,” said one attendee studying DevOps. Even the first time
attendees meshed with the natural flow of the event and sessions included
diverse subjects such as chemistry and radio history. One first-time BarCamp
attendee who works in human communications said, “Though I had no experience
with the content of the session I attended, the speaker and participants made it
easy for me to understand.” Given the success of this year and Beaver BarCamp’s
naturally inclusive environment for all topics, experience levels, and
backgrounds, we hope to spread the word that the event is no longer just for
computer people: we want to reflect Oregon State’s commitment to diversity and
create an inclusive environment for our attendees, both intellectually and
Another addition this year included four taped sessions that we posted to the
OSL YouTube page. We are excited to present these videos as a new way to
experience the event, a way that shows exactly what to expect from an
unconference and from Beaver BarCamp. Attendees were excited about this new
offer because it they could reach a broader audience and circulate their ideas
beyond this one-day event.
Interested in joining us next year? There are lots of ways to stay informed,
Also, we send out reminder emails to past attendees so you can always stay
connected to Beaver BarCamp.
We’re very excited about this year’s success and what it means for future
BarCamps. We hope next year will be even more diverse and include an even
broader range of sessions. If you have suggestions or would like to let us know
what you thought of BarCamp or if you weren’t able to make it this year and
would like to let us know how to make it easier for you to attend, fill out our
feedback survey so the improvements we make next year will help everyone get
the most out of BarCamp.