Despite losing two days of classes and anticipating parking woes for students, the 2011 National Conference on Undergraduate Research at Ithaca College was a success.
More than 3,300 students and faculty advisers attended last week’s conference, which ended up being the largest one in history. Because the conference was here, the college was able to enter a large group of presenters because there was no traveling cost involved. This year, 213 Ithaca students presented their research — a significantly greater number than the 18 who attended at the University of Montana last year.
Though the college restricted parking lots closest to academic buildings to NCUR participants, parking lots were mostly free during the conference. Parking turned out to not be a problem for NCUR participants but still posed problems for students.
Locally, the additional people helped businesses. The Downtown Ithaca Alliance and the college organized day trips that included a wine tour, a movie at Cinemapolis and meals at local restaurants. By Saturday, some restaurants stopped taking reservations because of the high numbers they were receiving. The conference gave businesses an economic boost they needed.
The college community may have gone into NCUR anticipating a headache, but by the end of the weekend, the conference was an achievement.