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Synapse gears up for annual Neuroweek

After the success of its first Neuroweek last April, student group Synapse is hoping to expand its audience with this year’s events.

Neuroweek, which was created to promote neuroscience awareness among the Washington University community, is a weeklong series of programs ranging from a surgery screening on Monday to a NeurOlympics trivia event Thursday night.

A highlight of this year’s Neuroweek will be the “Sleep Crash Course” to be held in Ursa’s Cafe on Tuesday, which will feature a presenter from the Washington University School of Medicine’s Sleep Medicine Center, who will be discussing effective sleeping techniques. Junior Elizabeth Chen, Synapse’s internal vice president, hopes that this event will help draw in students who might not be interested in neuroscience to make the week more accessible.

Particularly on a campus often ranked as one of America’s most stressful, she expects it to be a hit.

“Everyone can participate in [the sleep crash course] because it’s something that everyone does—you have to sleep,” Chen said.

Synapse also plans to incorporate a social media component into Neuroweek. According to Chen, the group will be using the hashtag “#WUDream” to encourage students to share their dreams throughout Neuroweek.

Chen says the viral marketing effort will spread word of what they are doing and tie into Tuesday’s sleep workshop.

Another popular event from last year’s Neuroweek is being rebranded: Mind Melt, a stress relief event on Wednesday night, will offer free food and backrubs from Stressbusters, replacing the “Brain Freeze” event that Synapse hosted last year.

Although Treasury funded Synapse last semester to bring an AmeriBrain exhibit to campus, the large inflatable brain will not be present for Neuroweek; Chen noted the brain will be brought to campus in late March, when prospective students will be visiting.

Neuroscience students voiced excitement toward the events.

“I think it will give students the chance to interact with other people who share my interest in the brain and to meet professionals in various neuroscience careers,” freshman Kelsey Bria said. “I think this week will give me insight into what a career in neuroscience is like and increase my interest in the subject.”


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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878