Students are encouraged to explore topics both within their programs and outside of their comfort zone to examine their purpose as human beings in society while sharing their academic wealth with the Ursinus community and beyond. Students are encouraged to dive deep into the humanities and discover the many layers of humanity that bind their curiosities together, ultimately allowing the student body to discover something new that day. Through posters, performances, discussions and presentations, thousands of projects have come to light. Projects in the past have ranged from musical performances to internship presentations to the presentation of cumulative lab research findings and beyond. Projects have been of value within their departments and even throughout their fields.
Janel Forsythe ’15 noted that CoSA was a “great way for students to set aside time to talk with their classmates about their [individual] academic interests and projects,” and that CoSA allows the extended Ursinus community to see and remember how dedicated and passionate Ursinus students are for their fields. As mentioned earlier, many students choose to present on topics based off their cumulative research with their faculty mentors. Students have also presented on internships, externships and study abroad. Many of these presentations have been offered in the form of a poster and give students the opportunity to work on their personal elevator pitches as well as show their dedication to their field. Other students write plays or monologues, craft dance performances, perform historical or personally composed pieces on a musical instrument of their choice or showcase their art at the Berman and around campus.
CoSA has also notably been about taking one’s knowledge of a field(s) and finding ways to connect ideas into something larger for society. Forsythe, for example, explained that for our senior year CoSA, she presented her interdepartmental honors research from the Sociology and Media and Communications Studies majors on how African-Americans engage in self-presentation of their hair on social media. This allowed peers to join in the discussion on how women should be perceived, the politics of black women’s hair and how we choose to perceive ourselves on social media. For another example, Nathan Bennett ’15 and I explored the effects of formal music education on important factors in the abstraction of relationships of relative structural importance in 20th Century Atonal and Early Electronic music. This independent research effort allowed us to explore one of many connections between the fields of psychology and music by testing peers on their reactionary differences to pieces of music uncommon to the human ear. A personal favorite, peers utilized their interdisciplinary knowledge through art, music, theater and dance in a moving piece called “Ricochet,” a project created by Colleen Walsh ’14 and mentored by dance faculty member Jeanine McCain. The project incorporated the CIE questions and explored how they could be applied to daily life. Ricochet was not originally a CoSA-dedicated project, but a CIE program, and it evolved into a multi-day event over each school year from around 2013-2016. These projects are only a small slice of the impactful work that Ursinus students have created and executed over the years.
CoSA has grown expansively in the past five years. This is clearly evident just by looking at the 2018 schedule. The two-day format gives more space for longer presentations and performances to be included such as student Angela Bey’s “Medusa”, other Blackbox performances, the Ursinus College Dance Company (UCDC) performance, etc. Also, locations for many presentations have changed over the past two years. For example, in the past, poster presentations were scattered throughout the campus; however, all poster presentations have been moved to the Field House to allow for easy access, space and interdisciplinary participation. Furthermore, various groups and teams on campus, including the women’s field hockey team, improv group Bearly Funny, the UC String Ensemble, etc. have been asked to perform or demonstrate their skills for the community while adding interactive activities for the day. Overall, it’s overwhelming to see CoSA’s growth just within the past two years. Disciplines that used to only have one or two students presenting now have five to ten plus students sharing their ideas. Projects are becoming more interdisciplinary as students look deeply into newly evolved CIE questions. As alumni, we can only hope that this momentum continues.
By Emily Cooper ’15
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