The Colonial Academic Alliance (CAA) is the parallel organization to the Colonial Athletic Association. In 2001, the provosts of the member schools decided that their association focusing on athletic competition should also encompass other kinds of constructive interaction, especially student academic achievement. Each year, the CAA sponsors an Undergraduate Research conference, hosted by a member school. Each university can bring up to 10 students to present research either as a poster or as an oral presentation; students travel together with faculty or administrators to represent their institution.
Hofstra University is the first member school to have hosted the event twice, having requested to do so in the 2010-11 school year to coincide with the University's year-long 75th anniversary celebration - a proud moment we wished to share.
The conferences generally offer meetings on diverse topics of interest and use to students such prestigious scholarships (and how to apply). In 2008 and 2009, representatives from Students for a Greener Hofstra initiated student meetings on environmental activities at member schools, which led to regular meetings by the different campus sustainability officers. Member schools share with and learn from each other. The host school for the conference gets the opportunity to profile its campus, facilities, faculty, and students.
The conferences feature fascinating lectures by notable professors on campus and entertainment by the host school's student groups. The last conference at Hofstra featured the first CAA Sing-Off, which was dubbed an evening of "a-CAA-pella"! With two groups from Hofstra and one from Delaware, the participants were treated to incredible performances, including a spontaneous rendition of a Coldplay song by all three groups together. Hofstra's Erin Willett led one group in singing Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" – she went on to star as a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2012.
Hofstra students have participated almost every year since the CAA conference’s inception. Most recently, conferences have been held at Northeastern (2008); Towson (2009); Virginia Commonwealth (2010); Hofstra (2011), Old Dominion (2012), University of Delaware (2013), Towson (2014), and Drexel (2015).
The conference for the 2015-16 academic year will be held at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA in April 2016.
Neil H. Donahue, Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and Senior Associate Dean of Honors College, organizes the trip to the conference each year and the group travels together. The University pays all student expenses for travel, lodging, meals and registration. For more information, contact Dean Donahue at Neil.H.Donahue[at]hofstra.edu.