Largest Quest to date will fill Campus Center

students workingSUNY Oswego is gearing up for the biggest and most diverse Quest yet, with around 180 contributions marking the college’s annual daylong symposium of scholarly and creative activities by faculty, staff and students on Wednesday, April 23.

Of the 180 sessions, all free and open to the public, around 160 are talks, highlighted by keynote speaker Shashi Kanbur of Oswego’s physics and earth sciences departments discussing “Bi-Partisan Big Bang Theory of the Universe” at 1 p.m. in the Campus Center auditorium. Kanbur, the recipient of this year’s Provost’s Award for Scholarly and Creative Activities and Research, is a substitution for the previous keynote speaker, who is ill.

This year’s Quest also will be more centralized in location, with sessions expected to unfold throughout the Campus Center, said Jack Gelfand, SUNY Oswego’s director of research and development.

“We really value the experience of students working with faculty members in various intellectual and creative activities that go beyond the classroom,” Gelfand said. “For an individual student to be able to give a talk about a research project is very exciting and could be a highlight of their time in college.”

Gelfand has also encouraged strong faculty representation at Quest and has been pleased with the results. “I clearly see it serves as a venue for the faculty to make presentations and have discussions on topics that are of interest to them,” he noted. “They get very excited to be able to do the kinds of things they can at Quest.”

The overall diversity of sessions should be a strength this year, Gelfand noted. Discussions from the world of science, a School of Business symposium and presentations on education are complemented by performances and interactive events.

“We made a very specific effort to encourage people to present activities that go beyond talks and beyond topics we usually have,” Gelfand said. “We have a lot more presenters from the humanities and the arts than we’ve usually had for Quest.”

An example is a morning of film presentations in the Campus Center auditorium. Participants will include students working with faculty members Julia Offen of anthropology, Cynthia Clabough in the art department and Amy Shore of cinema and screen studies. The auditorium will host musical presentations in the afternoon.

“We’ve encouraged interesting visual and musical activities as part of Quest,” Gelfand said. “Those are important intellectual activities we have on campus and they also increase the festive nature of the event.”

Another topical feature will involve around 25 students performing and displaying posters drawing parallels between protests during the Vietnam and Iraq wars, organized by student Casey Accordino.

Gelfand envisions people walking through the Campus Center on Quest day to see presenters in classrooms, poster presentations lining the halls and artwork on display. As he spoke, a small group of students in the next room worked on the complex task of finalizing the schedule, forsaking part of their spring break to pull together the day’s activities. “They have been doing a great job,” Gelfand said.

Daytime classes make way for Quest, with students urged to attend a variety of events to learn more about subjects of interest as well as what their colleagues are doing.

The full schedule is expected to be available soon on the Quest Web site, www.oswego.edu/quest.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Setting schedules—From left, SUNY Oswego freshman geology major Josh Valentino, senior information systems major Priyanka Desai and sophomore physics major Wes Laurion spent part of their spring break coordinating the schedule of Quest. The college’s daylong celebration of the scholarly and creative activities of students, faculty and staff will unfold on Wednesday, April 23.

(Posted: Apr 17, 2008)

Tags: research news: student opportunities