Some 1,700 veterinary students from across the United States and Canada gathered for the 36th annual Student AVMA Educational Symposium held at Texas A&M University this past March.
It was one of the largest gatherings of veterinary students in recent years. The SAVMA Symposium originated out of the need to develop a network among fellow veterinary students in addition to providing an educational forum to present material that otherwise may not be addressed in the curriculum.
Emphasis this year was placed on business and practice management skills. Debt management and loan consolidation were also addressed as major concerns for students.
Symposium planning is no small undertaking, as many students quickly found out. Veterinary students at the host school spent two years preparing for the big event. This year, Travis McDermott, a third-year student at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine, spearheaded the event. McDermott and his fellow classmates worked nonstop behind the scenes to provide a positive experience for everyone in attendance.
Students spent two days and three nights attending educational lectures, academic and athletic competitions, and evening functions. Academic competitions included bovine palpation, equine aging, first-year anatomy, and the ever-poplar SAVMA Challenge.
Students hit the athletic complex for the sand volleyball, basketball, and tug-of-war competitions. The Saturday night finale began with the awards ceremony, where many schools celebrated their efforts in the academic and athletic competitions. "Animal Planet's" Jeff Corwin entertained the audience and signed autographs prior to the evening's dinner and dancing celebration. Other special guests in attendance were AVMA President Bonnie V. Beaver, AVMA President-Elect Henry E. Childers, and AVMA Vice President René A. Carlson.
While most students were enjoying the warm weather and festivities the symposium had to offer, the SAVMA House of Delegates was hard at work conducting official SAVMA business. The SAVMA HOD met for two days to discuss the current issues facing the organization.
It was also a historic moment for SAVMA as the new Executive Committee took office for the first time at the annual symposium instead of at the AVMA Annual Convention. Outgoing officers were: President Elysia Schaefer (University of Illinois), Secretary Janine Oliver (North Carolina State University), Treasurer Laura Smith (Purdue University), International Exchange Officer Nicole Scott (Colorado State University), Information Technology Officer Melanie Krause Enger (Texas A&M University), and Intervet Editor Elise Gingrich (Iowa State University).
The new SAVMA Executive Committee comprises: President Travis McDermott (Texas A&M University), Secretary Jodi Woods (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Treasurer Heather Heiderich (Ross University), International Exchange Officer Bindy Comito (Iowa State University), International Exchange Officer-Elect Karen Eiler (Western University of Health Sciences), Information Technology Officer Lori Braun (St. George's University), and Intervet Editor Jacqueline Chow (University of Illinois).
Planning is already under way in Minnesota as veterinary students at the University of Minnesota are gearing up for the next SAVMA Educational Symposium, March 9-12, 2006.