The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) Emerging Creatives Student Summitt brought together students who have an interest in the arts, crossing disciplinary boundaries, and developing collaborative projects. Each year, 100 undergraduate and graduate students attended the summit from a2ru partner universities across the country, along with 20 administrators, faculty, and staff. These summits have a strong project-based component with activities such as panel discussions with special guests, keynote speakers, site visits or field trips, performances and exhibitions, networking opportunities, and “bootcamp” or skill-building experiences built in throughout.
The 2017 a2ru Student Summit was hosted by the University of Florida, February 8-11, 2017, in Gainesville, FL. This year’s theme was WATER: New Directions Through Arts and Science. No community on this planet is without it’s water-based challenges. Water-centric grand challenges are many, ranging from access and social justice issues in local and global contexts, to environmental degradation, to toxicological challenges, to saltwater incursion into freshwater, to sea level rise. Uniquely situated less than two hours from the Gulf Coast and from the Atlantic Ocean in an area known for its numerous freshwater springs, the University of Florida has great strength in local, regional, national, and international research and creative activity when it comes to these and other water-centric grand challenges. This summit will feature panels and working group leadership from distinguished professor in the life sciences and the arts at the University of Florida, as well as leading artists and water scholars from around the country.