Elena Sorrentino Managing Editor
Those in attendance were mostly the presenters themselves or close friends; if additional people had wanted to come there wouldn’t have been room due to a lack of seating. The topics discussed were unquestionably interesting, and students unrelated to the presenters could have enjoyed and benefited from these talks. The small audience was definitely appreciated, but it was upsetting that the seating capacity seemed to imply that this quantity was expected.
Both of these incidents seem to have stemmed from two factors. Most college students are unlikely to wake up to attend a session at 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. on a Friday, even if they look at the schedule and notice something that is of interest to them. Secondly, many students have class during the day, and while some professors cancel classes, most do not. Personally, I have class from 10am until 3 p.m., a time frame that encompassed a large portion of the conference. Going to most of the sessions would have required skipping classes, something which many of the students who are most likely to attend the conference are unlikely to do. Within my classes, I heard several students express interest in attending, indicating their disappointment at being unable to due to class.
If Eastern truly wants to highlight students and the research they perform, they should take a serious look into their support of CREATE. For example, starting the conference two hours later at 10 a.m. would encourage more students to attend the first oral sessions. In conjunction with this, cancelling classes would better allow students to go and appreciate the work of their peers. If the conference was moved to a later time, then even cancelling classes after 12 p.m. would be helpful. In place of the missing class time, professors could give assignments that require students to attend the conference. Since so many disciplines are recognized, most classes should be able to find some aspect of the conference that is applicable to their syllabi.
The research projects that people spend months and months on deserve to be recognized and CREATE is an amazing way to do so. However, the current conference setup leaves many things to be desired. If the administration truly wants to recognize these amazing students, they should do so completely. Finding a way so that students who want to go have the ability to do so, without having to choose between their grades and the support of their community, is necessary. No one should have to present to an empty room.
“Finding a way so that students who want to go have the ability to do so, without having to choose between their grades and the support of their community, is necessary.”