Thursday, 4 December 2008
Like many maths societies, the University of Birmingham's Mathsoc organises external speakers to come in and give open lectures. For this society, though, it happens to be a very new thing: the society hadn't organised anything like this for 12 years, and back then it had been very shortlived, too.
It was important to us, therefore, that this time our effort be more substantial and sustainable. We received funding from a variety of sources, allowing us to pay for the speakers expenses and the like, but the IMA provided us with the means for a networking opportunity afterwards. Initially, we tried just bringing everyone to the university bar, but takeup was poor. The IMA grant allows us to put on a drinks reception in the Maths building afterwards, in a much more intimate and pleasant setting that encourages undergraduates to mix with postgrads and lecturers. This went down much better, and participants were much more positive about the event. At the same time, we provided information about the opportunities the IMA can offer anyone in a maths-related career, adding a personal development dimension to the event.
The IMA's grant made a huge contribution to the open talks the Maths society organises and the relationship between the different parts of the department. It is this extra success that should mean that the open talks and networking continue for years to come, even after this current committee is gone, and for that we are grateful!