Geography students attend AAG conference

By Gerald E. Buker
Scarlet Staff

It’s that week again, where it seems like the entire Geography department takes off en masse to go to some mysterious place. In most geography courses, classes are canceled for the entire week.

Usually occurring in early April, most geography professors and many students head to the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG).

Running from April 12th to the 16th, this year’s conference was held in one of America’s greatest cities – Seattle (Walshington). Utilizing the Washington State Convention Center and the Seattle Sheraton, there were approximately (check)4,000 participants taking part in close to 1,000 sessions over the five days.

In 2011, Clark University’s representation consisted of 61 presenters, of which 14 were faculty members. In addition to those who presented, retired faculty and other students were in attendance soaking up the vast volume of knowledge offered during the conference.

The sessions varied from poster sessions where students and faculty alike displayed their research in a visual manner alongside others with a similar interest, for example presenters who focused on research in urban geography.

Other participants chose the illustrated paper or paper session, where papers are presented in presentations of varying lengths.

Like the poster sessions, paper sessions were arranged topically throughout the week and were the preferred format for faculty members in attendance. Examples of paper session topics included “Nazi Geographies,” and “Disaster Management.”

To geography Professor Mark Davidson, “after holding posts throughout the world, the conference is one of the few times I can catch up with all my friends and collogues throughout the world.”

Along with the presentation of academic material, the conference has strong social implications, allowing participants to network with others sharing similar interests.

The atmosphere at the 2011 conference was markedly different from the one held in 2010 in Washington. With nearly half the attendance from last year and stereotypical Seattle spring weather overhead, the overall mood was dampened in 2011.

The next conference will take place in New York from February 24th to 28th. Past cities hosting the conference have included Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas and Washington.

The Association of American Geographers is an organization established in 1904 and based in Washington. It is a nonprofit scientific and educational society established to promote geography throughout the world.