Photo by Emma Grossbauer
On Monday, Sept. 16, and Tuesday, Sept. 17, evening, sophomores and upper classmen who missed the presentation previously, attended the Sophomore Symposium. The symposium is mandatory for all students to learn about the different grants they can receive and to maintain their eligibility to receive the venture grant.
In addition to attending the symposium to remain eligible to receive the grant, students must have sophomore standing, have a declared major, be in good financial and academic standing and plan on returning to Alma College in the semester after the venture experience unless the student is graduating or receives a waiver stating otherwise.
Many students on campus feel that there are too many hoops to jump through in order to maintain an eligible status and to get their venture grants. “I feel some of the information was important to know, but I feel like the school could have avoided doing something of this size. We already have so many hoops to go through in order to gain anything,” said CarrieLynn Lafranchi (’22).
Some students even feel like they should not be required to attend unless they feel they need more information. “I feel like I already paid the money in through tuition to receive my Venture grant, and now I have to apply to possibly be denied and attend a two hour long presentation. I have known since I signed to Alma College what I wanted to use my grant for, and I just feel like it is too difficult to receive,” said Hannah Gibbs (’21).
One of the most common requests heard among students was reducing the size of the presentation to make it take less time. “I think it could be better done if there were more dates and times available with a smaller size of sophomores attending. Or the information could be distributed by advisors in meetings,” said Lafranchi.
In addition to the symposium having limited times and taking quite a while, some students were unable to attend due to other commitments. “It makes me upset that a time could not be scheduled for those involved with the arts, or even having a separate make up session for those who could not attend. My only two options were to skip my choir class or my night class, which only meets once a week,” said Brad Skellenger (’22).
Blake Jonassen (’22) said, “although I was not forced to miss any obligations, I was rushing from my job as a T.A. to get there on time even after moving around schedules to make it fit.”
Some students say that the symposium could have been more easily attended had more notice been given. “I was unaware that I was going to have to attend this event until the week before it happened,” said Gibbs. “Had I been informed earlier, I could have moved some things and not cancelled plans I had already made. Additionally, I feel that I could have learned everything I was told by going to the CSO, making an appointment or looking online.”
While many students who had been on campus already knew most of the information given to them at sophomore symposium, some students who transferred in learned quite a bit.
“Since I am a transfer student, I definitely learned a lot by attending,” said Morgan Gust (’21). “I did not know how soon I needed to be applying for the venture grant and any other grants. I also didn’t know how soon I needed to start thinking about spring term and summer internships. It definitely lit a fire under me to get going with all my applications.”
Even though students felt like their time could have been used better elsewhere, many also had solutions on how to more efficiently handle the Symposium. “I think there could have been a more efficient way to organize the first portion of the symposium where we walked around and looked at everyone’s posters. There was a lot of really great information there, but with so many people in such a small space, it was hard to navigate,” said Gust.