Rock me gently

By Patricia Fuentes

The opportunity to present new and unexplored research in geology has arrived. Geology 2000: An Adapting Profession is the theme for the Western Inter-University Geological Conference being held on campus in January 2000.

"The conference will perhaps spark new interest for the students," said Ryan Mitton, who heads the planning committee. "Different universities have different focuses. UBC focuses on mining, Waterloo on hydrology, U of C has oil and gas… It’s a chance to learn about aspects of geology you don’t get from this university."

Organizers, which include the Rundle Group and the Geophysical Undergrad Student Society, promote the event as an opportunity to increase knowledge and experience in all areas of geoscience. They aim to draw as many students as possible through forums on subjects outside the mainstream, such as paleontology and planetary geology.

The primary goal for the conference is to provide networking opportunities for students for life after school. A job fair will be held at the conference as well.

"Geology is important in Calgary because of oil and gas," said Mitton. "Geophysicists find oil and gas. The conference is important for students from other universities where the industry in that city is not so big, so they can figure out why Calgary is as hot as it is. Lots of grads come to the conference, where they can meet representatives from companies before sending out their resumes."

This is the 36th installment of the conference, and coordinators hope to set a standard for conferences in the next century. The committee had some difficulty securing resources and presenters at the conference.

"It’s surprising having this much trouble getting money in, but the funding drive started late, too," said Mitton. "Right now, we don’t have enough speakers, but students will wait until the last minute, so we’re not worried at all about having enough speakers. The biggest problem is having people come to present at the career fair. It’s discouraging because we really want conference people to come to the career fair."

However, Mitton remains undaunted.

"People who are being phoned for support attended the conference as undergrads," he said. "There are lots of people who recognize the conference… It’s a small period to do it in, not that people aren’t supporting us."

For further information, see the website at or e-mail Mitton at

Leave a comment