These SymSys Society events offer SymSys students and prospective students an opportunity to socialize and make friends with other people within the program. Food is provided free of charge, and the type of food is chosen based on feedback from Society members. Favorite places to order from include: Ike’s Sandwiches, Oren’s Hummus, Sushirrito, and more! Some of our recurring events include Tea & Pastries, lunches, and boba socials. 

If you’re interested in attending a social event, sign up for the SymSys Society mailing list. RSVP lists are sent out on a regular basis, and dietary restrictions (e.g. gluten-free, vegan) are accounted for.


The Symposium began as an informal reading group and now involves 3-4 presentations followed by a panel discussion. These events are used to facilitate intellectual discussions. Past topics include mathematical paradoxes, unsupervised machine learning algorithms, modern theories of consciousness, and psycholinguistics. All are welcome to attend, and presenter suggestions are encouraged! 

Coffee Chats

Each week, the SymSys Society invites professors from a broad range of different SymSys-y fields to meet over coffee with a handful of students. The coffee chats provide opportunities to get to know a professor (and other SymSys Society students) from a more personal standpoint, and to ask them questions (ranging from academic inquiries to general career or life advice).

Sign-up sheets for each professor are e-mailed out to the SymSys Society mailing list on an ongoing basis. We use a random number generator to select five or six students among those who sign up.



The SymSys Society hosts four major “banquets” a year: Thanksgiving, Springsgiving, the alumni-student dinner, and Special D.

Thanksgiving and Springsgiving: These banquets comprise our popular faculty-student dinners. Thanksgiving is held the week before Thanksgiving Break in Fall quarter, while Springsgiving is held near the end of Spring quarter. Both of these dinners allow students to talk with faculty over delicious turkey and stuffing (Thanksgiving) or hummus and falafel (Springsgiving).

Alumni-student dinner: Typically held in Winter quarter (but may vary depending on the year), the alumni-student dinner allows current students to mingle with alumni, both recent and non-recent.

Special D: Short for “Special Dinner”, the SymSys Special D is typically hosted in the Winter quarter. Each dinner has a different theme, and attendees are encouraged to dress up according to the theme. Special D also provides an opportunity for attendees to bring a date (and have them dress up, too!). Past themes have included: “Godel, Escher, Bach” and “The Imitation Game”.

Cal Cog Sci Conference

Organized by Berkeley’s Cognitive Science Student Association, the California Cognitive Science Conference is an annual event held in the spring. It is open to the public, and features famous keynotes speakers and a poster session by undergraduates, graduate students, and professional researchers.

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