Brick by Brick

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Brick by Brick

Collaborating to preserve the past and advance the physics community at CSM


Libby Booton, Colorado School of Mines, Class of 2016, and Lindsey Hart, Colorado School of Mines, Class of 2017

A contingent of the Mines SPS chapter poses with Eric Cornell, keynote speaker at the spring Zone 14 Meeting hosted by the United States Air Force Academy. Cornell will also be a keynote speaker at the 2016 Sigma Pi Sigma Congress. Photo courtesy of the Mines SPS chapter

In 2014, the Colorado School of Mines announced that our beloved physics building, Meyer Hall, was going to be demolished to make way for a new, centralized teaching and research building.

Meyer Hall was built in 1963 and had been the home of physics at Mines ever since. News of the demolition was devastating for the physics majors who practically lived in the undergraduate lounge, Room 247, of Meyer Hall. A common topic of conversation was how to get pieces of the building out of the construction site. Students and alumni wanted a part of the building where they spent so much time. Room numbers were suspiciously disappearing.
As labs and classrooms were being moved out, the main focus of our Society of Physics Students chapter was to maintain our strong community within the physics department as we lost our home. The loss, though sad, has provided an incredible opportunity for our SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma chapters to come together.

An engraved brick from Meyer Hall. Photo by Lindsey Hart

We collected bricks from the demolished building and offered them, primarily to alumni, in exchange for donations. SPS members used a laser engraver to put the SPS logo and “Meyer Hall, 1963–2016” on each brick. We never imagined how successful this fundraiser would be. So far, we have raised over $7000 from 60+ donors. We’ve used this money to help 25 students attend the 2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress.

We had our fair share of obstacles, including working out taxes, finding a way to collect donations, and reaching out to our alumni. But support from the Mines Physics Department, Alumni Office, and Student Activities Office, as well as the perseverance of the students leading the fundraiser, helped us to be successful. Most of all, we wouldn’t have succeeded without the continued support of our alumni.

SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma collaborated on this fundraiser. Neither club could have done it alone. Our ongoing partnership has helped two small clubs grow into clubs with some of the highest involvement on campus. SPS hosts community outreach events, social activities, and presentations at weekly meetings. Sigma Pi Sigma helps bridge the gap between undergraduate and graduate students, maintain strong relationships with alumni, and provide mentorship to younger students.

We have a unique and diverse collection of students. Nearly every member of Sigma Pi Sigma and SPS is involved in at least one other campus activity. All of the members of Sigma Pi Sigma are also involved heavily in SPS. This creates a strong link between the two clubs, helping them succeed by complementing and challenging each other while building a strong foundation for the physics community at Mines.

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