By: Sean Cartell
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)
ATLANTA – Fellowship was a common theme among all participants on the opening day of the 2013 Southeastern Conference Symposium, which began Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
The inaugural SEC Symposium, entitled "Impact of the Southeast in the World's Renewable Energy Future," provides a unique opportunity for faculty, staff and students from each of the 14 SEC institutions, as well as industry leaders, to discuss a variety of topics related to renewable energy.
"The difference between what's happening here and what's happening at a normal academic conference is that we were asked to pick presenters representing SEC universities," said Dr. Robert Scott, Executive Director of the BSRI and Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Georgia, the lead institution for the 2013 SEC Symposium. "Every institution has a different set of strengths and faculty from those institutions cover those strengths."
A diverse blend of experts and students from across the renewable energy field fosters widespread collaboration with the common goal of finding sustainable energy sources for the future.
"The SEC Symposium allows great opportunities for faculty and staff to come together, leverage their breakthroughs and try to form partnerships," said Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, Vice President of the SEC's Executive Committee and liaison to SECU, the academic initiative of the SEC. "That collaboration, we really think, is the lifeblood of the SEC and SECU."
The SEC Symposium also is an occasion for student participants to network with faculty of each SEC institution and notable figures in their area of study.
"The Symposium offers our students the opportunity to go beyond their own institutions and to learn what other institutions in the SEC are doing, particularly in areas that their institutions may not offer," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. "This allows all of our students to share all of the resources from all of our institutions."
According to Slive, the exchange of information across the SEC's 14 institutions was one of the main directives for the SEC Symposium.
"When we first started thinking about the Symposium, one of the most important things was to give our students a chance to learn about the educational components of other institutions and to give them a chance to broaden the scope of their own education," he said.
The SEC Symposium is expected to be a regular event that continues to address a single scholarly issue each year, while continuing to build the camaraderie and academic collaboration between the institutions of the SEC.
"Everyone should mark on their calendars an SEC Symposium for the future," Zeppos said. "You have an opportunity to interact with the best students, the best faculty and the best staff on cutting-edge issues. Whether you're from government, industry or from higher education, these are the conferences that help us learn how to address our current challenges and build a great future together."
For updates throughout the SEC Symposium, be sure to follow @TheSECU on Twitter.