Today is the kickoff of the annual student-led conference SCOPE, and we had a talk with one of the organizers, Merle Scheiner. Together with Lea Kneissle (co-organizer) and Louis Pauchet (Technical support), they planned and organized the events.
The main purpose, according to Merle, is to create a platform for students, by students. It functions as a conference with a core mission of providing a safe and encouraging space for students to practice various aspects of academic presentation and outreach. The primary goal is to help students become comfortable with presenting their research, whether through talks, posters, or other formats, all without feeling the pressure of being judged by seasoned professionals. Beyond this, organizing the event itself gives students a valuable insight into the behind-the-scenes work required to make such an event successful.
Evolution Over the Years
What started as a single-day affair, it quickly gained traction. Recognizing the demand for such a platform, the team decided to extend it to a two-day conference. One of the developments is the inclusion of local participants, enhancing outreach opportunities and contributing to the event’s growth.
In the beginning, the event primarily attracted students from geology and biology backgrounds due to its environmental focus. However, now, it has become more inclusive, drawing students from a diverse array of departments, including safety science and technology. This year they will also have a talk with a social science perspective, thus broadening the event’s scope and appeal.
Merle mentions that students on Svalbard, regardless of their institutional backgrounds, are encouraged to participate. This not only highlights their unique projects but also fosters a sense of community among students from all walks of life, transcending traditional academic boundaries.
Both Longyearbyen high school and Svalbard Folkehøgskole (Folk high schools) was invited to participate, and on Friday, some of the Folk high school’s students held their own presentation on beach cleaning in the Arctic.
Benefits for Participating Students
Participating in this event offers students a multitude of benefits. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to gain confidence in their work and presentation skills.
The endeavor of organizing such an event is no small feat and requires extensive preparation, often starting a year in advance. Merle emphasizes that they are continually on the lookout for new students to join the team and ensure the event’s continued success.
This student-led initiative stands as a testament to the potential of driven individuals to make a significant impact in the academic world and to provide a platform where students can shine, free from the constraints of judgment and competition.