The Student Symposium is a research event put on by the Center For Undergraduate Research (CUGR) that allows undergraduate and graduate students to showcase their research and gain eligibility for prizes. This event is often required for many students completing their senior year capstone and is encouraged for students to participate in their honors thesis.
This event usually takes place in mid-April. The Student Symposium is also a great networking opportunity for undergraduates to connect with graduate students and businesses for sponsors and job opportunities.
Since 2019, students have been expected to front the large bill accumulated from the event. This causes students to be heavily reliant on the University of Maine Student Government (UMSG). Because of this, UMSG has to take student activity funds. Student Symposium is not a student activity. It is a great opportunity for students to conduct and share research.
Not only are the students fronting the bill for the event itself, but they are also giving money to the different departments on campus at UMO for things such as presentation aisles and renting out rooms.
In 2022, UMaine’s research report stated that the school generated $150 million in externally sponsored research. This money is being urged to be returned to the students for more research. UMSG isn’t trying to pull support, rather, they are trying to gain support for the students from the school.
This funding issue has put UMSG up against a wall. They either have to choose to continue to pull funds out of the student activity money or withhold the money and not be able to have the Student Symposium put on the event as it once was. This would limit their ability to feed guests and decorate adequately.
Because of this issue, UMSG has written a two-page letter to Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, President of UMaine, which has been passed by the senate in UMSG already. This letter was written to alleviate these issues and funding concerns before springtime. UMSG hopes to send the article to the administration early next week.
“The Graduate Student Government is urging the University of Maine to invest more in the student symposium. The University of Maine expects graduate students to participate in the Student Symposium and volunteer their time and effort. To continue to support the Student Symposium, we hope to see the university provide more resources to make this a successful event. Graduate student activity fees should be going back to graduate students through programs like grants and clubs, rather than to fund a student symposium, when GSG provides many other in-kind services, such as poster boards and student volunteers,” said the Graduate Student Government in a statement.
If there are any questions or inquiries about the letter or this issue as a whole, you can contact UMSG Vice President Keegan Tripp or UMSG Vice President of Financial Affairs Paige Allen.
Keegan Tripp: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paige Allen: email@example.com