This year’s Festival of Scholars and Artists (FoSA) is being held today and will feature 27 different events running from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The festival is fully in-person this year, which is different from recent years as it has been partially virtual since 2019.
Associate Professor of French Isabelle DeMarte, Associate Professor of International Affairs Kyle Lascurettes and Administrative Assistant Margaret Salstrom were all a part of the FoSA Coordinating Committee that put on the event.
Lascurettes and DeMarte collaborated to compile the program for this year’s festival. They tried to put presentations together that have a common theme, but come from different departments, which worked well for this year’s material.
“This year the program was put together really swimmingly,” DeMarte said. “The way presentations had affinities in their descriptions allowed Kyle to group them together in a way that is just amazing.”
This organizational style aligns with the spirit of the liberal arts, by showcasing the variety of academic projects students produce.
“(The Festival of Scholars) really features the interdisciplinary nature of the liberal arts, I think in a really magnificent way,” DeMarte said. “It shows the diversity of research, of work (and) … creative work that’s being done across campus.”
Outside of programming, Salstrom typically carries the bulk of the FoSA load, taking on various administrative and communicative responsibilities. This year, she did even more as she was unable to find a student worker to help her out.
Student Academic Affairs Board (SAAB) also takes part in planning various events for the festival and has a representative in the coordinating committee. This year, SAAB is hosting a raffle along with “FoSA Feud.” Tickets for the raffle can be purchased at the SAAB table in J.R. Howard Hall. FoSA Feud will be held in Stamm from 7-8 p.m. and will feature Family Feud-style game play between departments.
Additionally, SAAB funds grants for student research and one of the qualifications for these grants is to give back to the Lewis & Clark community. As a result, many funded students present at FoSA.
SAAB Chair Kate Stratton ’23 will be at this year’s table. However, in 2022 Stratton was a grant-awarded presenter, who talked about Immigration and Asylum law with several other classmates.
“I am really passionate about that specific subject, so it meant a lot to be able to share it with people,” Stratton said. “I think it’s super vital information that the world should know about, and I think that a lot of students believe that about their research because they put so much work and passion into it.”
Frankie Spurbeck ’23 is also passionate about their topic. He is presenting his senior political science thesis: “Riding to the End of the Line: The Effect of School Transportation Policy on Transit Habit Formation” at this year’s festival. Spurbeck also received a SAAB grant, and used it to incentivize students to respond to surveys.
Spurbeck is from the Twin Cities, where transportation to and from high school is done with city buses and not school buses. Spurbeck said more cities should implement a similar plan. From there he fell in love with public transportation, the independence it provides and the reduction of carbon emissions. Passion is not the only reason they are excited to present, though.
“I also just think it’ll be fun,” Spurbeck said. “I looked at who I’m on the panel with and it’s all people I know, which is wild. And it’s a real interesting mix of stuff.”
The in-person element adds to the festival’s unique feel.
“Iin person is also irreplaceable because the fest in festival really comes to fruition in person,” DeMarte said. “SAAB did just an amazing job last year, also putting the fest back in the festival by bringing in food trucks and having all kinds of activities.”
However, SAAB funding was cut a little bit this year and there will be no food trucks today, but will be tomorrow at the Spring Fever Fest. Every organization received cuts this year and SAAB did not escape that. Stratton and the board prioritized grant funding over food trucks and extra FoSA enrichment, but even so grant applications closed early due to an inability to fund further applicants.
Even without free food, FoSA provides LC with an opportunity to experience the work produced by the community.
“About campus community and extracurricular events and stuff I can be a cynical person that guards my time and tells students to guard their time,” Lascurettes said. “But this is an event that I’m not just on the committee for the sake of doing committee work. I really believe in this event. I think that it’s wonderful and really important that we reserve an entire day, in the Spring semester, especially in the business end of the semester, where we canceled classes and we devoted (ourselves) entirely to celebrating student research and student student projects.”