May 25, 2012

Triple Helix wins best RSO

The student science publication The Triple Helix received the William J. Michel RSO Award of the Year Award, the most distinguished award given to an RSO each year, last Tuesday. The organization also received a $200 cash prize.

Second-year Katie Burkhart, chair of the Committee on Recognized Student Organizations, said The Triple Helix received 17 nominations for the award, more than any other RSO. She said that the committee is often skeptical when many students nominate one RSO in case they are members of that RSO. However, The Triple Helix nominations came from students, staff, and faculty who are not in the organization.

Ben Dauber, co-president of The Triple Helix, said that he thinks the organization reaches a broad student base.

“Our organization focuses on the intersection between science and society, which is a topic of interest for both science and non-science majors,” said Dauber, a third-year.

The U of C chapter of The Triple Helix, one of 28 around the country, publishes a science journal, Scientia, which features student and faculty collaborative work and examines the connection between science and other disciplines. Student work from The Triple Helix chapters worldwide are published in an internationally-known blog, The Triple Helix Online.

Over the last year, The Triple Helix hosted a number of well-attended events, including a talk on the ethics of kidney transplants and the future of the University’s new Institute for Molecular Engineering.

The RSO currently boasts 300 active members, and received 110 membership applications from students for the upcoming year, Dauber said.

In the judging process, Burkhart said the committee distinguishes between RSOs that are part of a larger organization and original start-ups on a “case-by-case basis.”

“In terms of expansion, [The Triple Helix] did so much on their own. It was not done by the national chapter,” Burkhart said.

Dauber said that the organization will use its cash prize to print more copies of Scientia and fund more lectures and events.

Editor’s note: Katie Burkhart is a Maroon staffer.