Intro: Building Community: Creating a culture where physics students thrive

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Intro: Building Community: Creating a culture where physics students thrive


Brad R. Conrad, Director of SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma

I have always said that SPS is whatever it needs to be at each school, but the one element that every chapter shares can be a sense of community. It’s this sense of community that makes SPS special, and we, together, have to not only acknowledge it but actively work to build a strong sense of identity as a department and as this society. We, collectively, as a diverse and inclusive whole, are SPS. And together, we can do amazing things.

Luckily, there are many different ways of helping everyone come together to build this sense of identity and establish a common purpose. Often, this is done through service and purposefully interacting with other members and chapters around the United States. We can do this through regional meetings (zone meetings) or even at national conferences, such as PhysCon, but the key is to realize that by working within SPS to solve problems, share our stories, and interact with those not within our own departments, we become stronger and better suited to meet the challenges that we will face.

The following features dive into different ways of building our community. By developing our SPS chapters as communities within a department, establishing strong communication within our regions (zones), and connecting to others within the broader physics and astronomy network, we can help our local chapters thrive. And since it is also impossible to know where we are going without considering where we have been, we have several features highlighting why physics history is so important.

And, as a community, we came together to celebrate and witness a historic eclipse that spanned the nation. As such, we have highlighted several SPS outreach efforts and groups that helped to make science a living, tangible thing to many. 

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