Compass 2012 Fundraising Campaign and Social Hour

Jul 27, 2012   //   by Jacob   //   Blog, Compass News, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Compass, as you know, is almost entirely a volunteer organization. It was started around 2006 by a group of idealistic graduate students (depending of course on how you define “started”), and it is still run by a dedicated group of grad students and undergrads. Furthermore – and this is critical – the current leaders are not just stewards for a set of programs that were handed down to us. One of our real strengths is that Compass is continually growing and developing as a program – we’re a collection of physicists and friends thereof who are united by a guiding set of principles. One of those principles is personal empowerment and self-determination.

This principle in action has resulted in several new Compass projects during just the past year:

  • Dimitri Dounas-Frazer and undergrad Geoff Iwata (who has just left us for graduate school at Columbia!) taught a spring semester continuation of Physics 98 which focused on measurement, uncertainty, and using these ideas to think about grades.
  • Senior and former transfer student Josh Brown is organizing a fall seminar course for incoming transfer students majoring in physics, to smooth the transition into Berkeley and to work on physics skills that will be expected in their new classes.
  • A group of Compass undergraduates reached out to a local high school, taking part in a Pi Day math festival and inviting high school students to campus for Shadow Day, to experience a day in the life of a Berkeley student.
  • Compass will be inviting a physics education researcher (to be announced) to travel to Berkeley to give the inaugural Jason Choy Memorial Lecture to the Physics department.

We recently received the Award for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education from the American Physical Society, which we think reflects the fact that other people in the field are impressed by the new ideas we are continually generating. And of course we remain dedicated to the central part of our program, the Summer Program.

But Compass generates more ideas than we can afford to implement. Many of these projects can be supported by the volunteer work of inspired students, but (for instance) room and board for Summer Program-ites has to be paid for in the usual legal tender. Compass also believes in the importance of valuing physics educators (and teachers in general), and to that end we strive to pay our teachers a market rate – though sometimes, such as last year’s Summer Program, even that isn’t possible.

As a result, we’re in the middle of our second annual fundraising campaign. If you think our programs are worthwhile, and we’re doing valuable work, please consider supporting us via a <a href="https://givetocal comparatif″>tax-deductible donation! We have raised over $4000 so far this summer, but we’ve set ourselves an optimistic goal of $15,000, and we can’t reach that level without your help. If we get to $15,000, we can start to realistically think about running a two-week Summer Program in 2013! Last year and this year have been one-week affairs. Students get a lot out of a one-week program, but two weeks allows more time for the freshmen to get to know one another (particularly in the critical social environments outside of classroom) AND gives the teachers more time to talk about awesome science inside the classroom.

To mark the “end” of this summer’s fundraising drive, we’re having a Social Hour at BEC’s on August 9th, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM (edit: 6 to 9 PM, oops). Come grab a drink and have a conversation with us – and if you order at the upstairs bar, BEC’s has agreed to donate 10% of the proceeds. We’ll also have raffle tickets with great prizes, like tickets to museums, movie theaters, and a local playhouse, and gift certificates to Berkeley businesses. If you think you might come, RSVP on our Facebook event!

social hour at BEC's

If you think what we’re doing is important, please make a donation, and we’ll keep being able to come up with and implement great new ideas. Thank you very much, and we are eternally grateful to our donors!

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