Second Summit gathers

If one day can change your life, then the three days of Summit should be more than enough. The second annual Summit was held January 12–14 on campus and offered a program with opportunities to experience new things that can’t be found in any curriculum.

Students, faculty, and staff interacted through a series of courses, seminars, and workshops taught by their classmates and colleagues. This year, participants had the chance to hone their skills in everything from cooking and knitting to gun shooting, sign language, handwriting analysis, and more.

Alumnus Roger Ma founded and planned the first Summit last year. He proposed his idea for the Fifth Year Scholars program, which allows students to remain at Carnegie Mellon for an additional year following graduation. During this extra year, students are given the opportunity to take courses unrelated to their major while giving back to the campus community through a substantial, year-long project.

“So many people come to school with a special talent that they want to teach and other students want to learn, and Summit allows students to do that,” said Ma about his motivation behind the project.

Dave Rice, Summit co-president and a senior mechanical engineering major, praised the program for bringing people together before the start of the semester while giving them a greater appreciation of the diverse skills and talents of the campus community.

“Because of Summit ... I can see that people at CMU really do take an interest in things outside of their major — whether it’s furniture making or glassblowing, or whether they’re a mechanical engineer or a CFA student,” Rice said.

Board members aren’t the only ones enthusiastic about Summit. “[The program] gives students a chance to learn new things that they wouldn’t get the chance to learn otherwise,” said sophomore chemical engineering major Chad Pugh. “I got to see Phantom of the Opera, visit the Pittsburgh Glass Center, and tour the Mattress Factory.”

As Ma noted, Summit also gives students the opportunity to interact with professors and other students of different colleges through exploring common interests. “Summit gives you an opportunity to experience activities in a risk-free environment,” Ma said.

However, Ma’s original venture — to come up with a way for students to explore other interests outside of their majors during the semester — became more than students and faculty having fun and learning new skills.

Participants also came away with a much deeper understanding of the talents of fellow members of the Carnegie Mellon community. “I now have a greater appreciation of a lot of other skills that people can learn and teach,” Rice said.

This year’s Summit was made possible through funding from the Student Senate and the Office of Student Development.