Volleyball is a time-honored tradition at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). Unfortunately, the COVID-19/Sars-CoV-2 pandemic prevented a 2020 CSHL Volleyball League season. But with employees coming back to campus in 2021, the league has returned for its 30th season.
Decades ago, informal volleyball games took place on the grass next to the Carnegie Library. CSHL Professor and Cancer Center Deputy Director of Research Adrian Krainer, who has been playing volleyball for over 30 years at the Lab, recalls how the ball would frequently end up in the water. Recognizing the importance of the league to summer campus life, CSHL leadership built pro-quality sand courts in 1997 between the community garden and the tennis courts.
On-court interactions between faculty, staff, and students help them get to know each other. People across buildings and laboratories who otherwise don’t normally meet become friends (and competitors) on the courts. Volleyball also plays a central role in the CSHL Undergraduate Research Program (URP), an on-campus summer research program for college students from around the world. During the last weeks of the program, the students face off against their professors and mentors for the annual “Professors versus URPs” volleyball game.
Whether it is high-stakes competition for the league’s championship trophy or friendly pickup games, volleyball helps foster scientific collaboration and connections between everyone. Krainer says, “this is the biggest social event at CSHL. We missed it last year, and it’s really great to be back.”