GSS colloquium speaker stresses importance of personal correspondence

Emily Andrews

Graduate students tackled topics ranging from autism, HBO’s Big Love and the No Child Left Behind Act at Saturday’s 22nd Annual Graduate Student Senate Colloquium.

The event was held to recognize the work of graduate students through presentations, posters, papers, panels and a speech by keynote speaker Glenn Sparks.

“It’s important because it brings in multiple disciplines,” said Amber Ferris, Graduate Student Senate Colloquium chair. “The colloquium highlights what graduate students do and gives them recognition.”

Each student had 10 minutes to talk about his or her paper, with a question and answer section at the end. The panels, focusing on tips for writing grants and the importance of networking, were held with faculty from Kent State and Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy.

To wrap up the events of the day, Sparks gave a speech titled “Living Well in the Age of Electronic Communication: Understanding What’s at Stake.”

Sparks is an assistant department head in communication at Purdue University and the author of “Refrigerator Rights.” He talked about how electronics have changed people and their relationships.

People do not meet as often as in the past because they walk around with iPods and cell phones instead of talking with others, he said.

He said people today do not have as many close friends because people do not spend as much time together. Many would rather use e-mail or the phone instead of visiting. Sparks also addressed the health effects of these lost companions. People with serious conditions such as cancer are twice as likely to live if they have friends and meet and hang out.

“We encourage this event to develop,” Ferris said. “We are revamping the colloquium due to low attendance but today shows there is an interest, so maybe in the next couple years there will be more Northeastern schools involved.”

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Emily Andrews at [email protected].