Local SPS group named Outstanding Chapter; launches new website

The local chapter of the Society of Physics Students has been named an Outstanding Chapter by the national organization. The group has remained active during quarantine with online activities such as a weekly informal meeting, loosely planned around a theme. Online game nights, a zoom pet parade and undergrad research night (where students learn about research opportunities) have been some of the themes that have kept students together, despite social distancing.

The group recently launched a new website that makes it easier for students to keep up with activities and join the group. Membership is free to University of Minnesota students and it only takes a few minutes to apply.

Thomas Richardson, the group’s president  said he’s been impressed with the way the community has handled the last difficult year. “You lean on other people to get through.” Last year, SPS began including mental health and academic resources in their weekly communications. They also started a mentorship program to help those in the freshman and sophomore years handle their first semester online. The program connects juniors and seniors with the younger students.

Past activities have included a liquid nitrogen ice cream social and a road trip to Fermilab.  The Covid-19 crisis has meant that these activities have necessarily been on hold. The group participated in a virtual “Zone Meeting” in February with other SPS chapters in the region.