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CURF is expanding advising opportunities

To the Editor:

I would like to thank Cyndi Chung for her column, which included recommendations for how Penn could better mentor students interested in research (“How to chose a lab: 101,” 3/1/10). Non-credit seminars and the improvement of the research directory are both issues the Consortium for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships has already been discussing.

I would, however, respectfully disagree with most of her commentary and caution underclassmen against feeling similarly woeful. The research environment at Penn is very different than it was three years ago when Chung sought a lab. Just in the past year, CURF has recruited 27 research peer advisers and founded an Undergraduate Advisory Board. Both groups serve to bridge the gap between students and research opportunities. The UAB planned the first annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, the peer advisers have been holding office hours in college houses, and both groups are available for contact at any time.

There are myriad mentorship and advising opportunities already in place and more beginning soon, but CURF is not going to choose a lab for you. The process teaches students a certain level of independence and encourages a proactive approach to education, something on which I think Chung and I both agree.

Arden Rienas

The author is a College and Wharton junior and Vice Chairman of the CURF Undergraduate Advisory Board.

The ‘DP’ ignored parts of the UA Budget

To the Editor:

The Undergraduate Assembly just finished its most important job of the year: allocating over $1.85 million to student interests across campus for 2010-2011. If you read The Daily Pennsylvanian, you probably don’t know much about it.

Unfortunately, when covering the UA Budget process, the DP has chosen to sensationalize semi-contentious issues (such as whether to fund the Ivy Council) that have no impact on the vast majority of students and ignore those that do. That’s why you didn’t see anything about the Social Planning and Events Committee fall and spring speakers we funded in full — $75,000 each — for the first time. You didn’t read anything about us allocating more money for Spring Fling concert talent — $140,000 — than ever before. And completely brushed over was the record increase in funds allocated to all of your student groups by giving the Student Activities Council a 7.8-percent increase. A letter to the editor shouldn’t be the first time those numbers make it into print.

Zac Byer, Sakina Zaidi and Ryan Houston

The authors are College seniors and a Wharton junior, respectively, and members of the UA Budget Committee.

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