CSUSM Library holds the Library Award for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity

Jose Valdovinos, Staff Writer

The CSUSM Library is holding its University Library Award for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity during the month of April. 

Founded by Dean of Library Administration Jen Fabbi, students enrolled at the time of the competition can work on and submit a research project for a chance to win $600 and the admission of their winning project into the Scholarworks @ CSU San Marcos institutional repository. 

Started in the 2015-2016 academic year, the CSUSM Library Award for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity competition seeks to reward students for completing projects for their respective studies. 

Toni Olivas, CSUSM’s Engagement and Inclusion Librarian, said that the competition celebrates undergraduate research and creativity while “highlighting how undergraduate students use [the CSUSM library] resources.” 

Olivas hopes that the CSUSM library award helps students “think of the work that they are doing here at CSUSM as more than just ‘I’m getting a grade for this.’”

Students who feel proud of a research project, be it informative or creative, are encouraged to submit. The competition is welcome to all types of projects, such as music, art, computer code, interpretive analysis or dance. Students are also encouraged to work in groups, with the $600 prize split among group members. 

To enter the competition, a student will need a research project and a 500-750 word essay that explains the project’s narrative and themes, detailing the strategies used to create the project and explaining their role as a creative scholar and student. 

Once submitted by April 9, a panel of judges composed of students, college faculty and librarians will judge each submission based on their grading rubric, with the review period lasting from April 10 to 18. The competition winners will be announced on April 20 by 5 p.m. The winners will receive their $600 rewards on April 29.     

In past years, students were required to submit a faculty letter of support that certifies that a student’s research project was a part of their class work. The faculty letter of support acted as a confirmation that the student’s work is of quality, making the judging process easier. 

However, the 2021 installment will remove the letter of support requirement, allowing students to submit their projects without faculty confirmation. 

“We recognize that the letter acts as a barrier for students participating in the competition,” said Olivas on the removal of the requirement for a faculty letter of support. 

“What we discovered was the [students] work speaks for itself,” added Olivas. 

The faculty letter also acted as a burden for professors, and lifting the faculty letter requirement removes the need for them to sign off on numerous projects. 

Additionally, the 2021 installment of the competition increased its number of potential winners from six to 12. The increase in potential winners stems from the competition’s cancelation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To make up for its cancelation, the CSUSM library will now distribute 12 $600 rewards.

The CSUSM Library hopes that students take the opportunity to reward themselves for their hard work, with Olivas asking students to “Think about all of the assignments you’ve turned in over this last year, would it be nice to receive $600 for at least one of them?”

To learn more about the University Library Award for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, visit https://libguides.csusm.edu/libaward/