When I stepped out of the elevator, a line of students was packing into the Student Lounge for the first “Meet and Eat” lunch of the week. It was just the start of the HFES 50th Annual Meeting, but the turnout made it very clear: The student community needed a place to connect. Either that, or they were very hungry! Last year’s annual meeting in San Francisco was the first to feature the HFES Student Lounge. Created by the San Jose State University (SJSU) Student Chapter, the lounge was designed to help students network and socialize during the meeting.
It was shaped by feedback from more than 30 students across the globe and made possible by the HFES Executive Council and Host Committee. “The original idea of the Student Lounge was very simple,” said Mayuko Ueda, Student Lounge Coordinator, HFES 2006 Host Committee. “I thought it would be nice to have a small, cozy gathering space at the conference for students to connect.”
The need for the lounge was based on observations and discussions
with students at the HFES 49th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. “Two years ago at the conference in Orlando, we really didn’t have a place to go,” Ueda said. “We made some great connections with students from other universities at the Student Reception, but there was no place to continue that the rest of the week.”
So when the 2006 Host Committee began to plan the annual meeting, addressing this need was seen as a huge opportunity to add value. The committee brainstormed some ideas, surveyed other students for input, and wrote up a proposal that was eventually
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Katherine Wilson is a research assistant at the Institute for Simulation & Training in Orlando, Florida. Eduardo Salas is a professor of psychology and Trustee Chair at the University of Central Florida. Heather Priest is a research assistant at the Institute for Simulation & Training.
Dee Andrews is a senior scientist in the Human Effectiveness Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Mesa, Arizona. This research was funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory. The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of the Air Force or the Department of Defense.