March 28, 2016

Research, creative activities to take center stage

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale will put a new twist on its annual showcase of research and creative activities next month when Da Vinci Days takes center stage. 

The nine-day event, which starts Friday, April 1, takes over where the annual Research Town Meeting left off, said Jim Garvey, interim vice chancellor for research. 

“Several years ago, the Graduate School began having annual picnics to celebrate graduate education and research on campus.  This evolved into an annual Research Town Meeting, which highlighted research through a series of posters and invited presentations over the course of an afternoon,” Garvey said. “Given the breadth of research and scholarly creation on campus, it became apparent that one afternoon was not enough to celebrate the vibrancy of our campus.  The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR) sought input from all the disciplines on campus and has now arranged a week of diverse activities.” 

The activities each day will highlight various activities around campus with lectures, keynote addresses, music, demonstrations and more. Although many of the activities were planned separately, Garvey said placing them under this new banner helps underscore the talent of students at SIU. 

“We have worked hard to use this week of events in April to emphasize how exceptional SIU is as a comprehensive university,” Garvey said. 

At the core of Da Vinci Days are two OVCR-sponsored events that highlight the scholarly accomplishments of undergraduate and graduate students. Those events, the Undergraduate Poster Forum and the Graduate Poster Forum, allow students to demonstrate and present their independent research and creative activities. 

“What these students present reflects all of the great works spanning the sciences, arts, and humanities on our campus and should entice us to explore related events going on both during this special week as well as all year,” Garvey said. 

The event takes its name from Renaissance-age inventor, artist, scientist, and architect Leonardo da Vinci, who epitomized this rebirth in education, art, science, philosophy, literature, and helped usher in the Modern Age. Garvey said he hopes the events show the strength of SIU students, even in trying budgetary times. 

“My hope is that Da Vinci Days will remind us about why we are so lucky to be part of this great university,” Garvey said. “SIU continues to be a powerhouse of research and creative activity in the state and the region.  Our faculty are world-renowned for their accomplishments, our grant funding is growing, and our students have access to facilities and training that are often inaccessible at other universities.” 

Garvey said Da Vinci Days is about bringing together SIU’s community of scholars and directly confronting challenges. 

“It’s about combining our disciplinary strengths to generate novel ways to elevate our academic experience, attract students, make our alumni proud and secure independent funding,” Garvey said. “I also hope that the community around SIU takes note and participates in these activities to see how special SIU is to our unique region.”