In 2008 Provost Barbara Burch created the Student Research Council, a university-wide committee charged with promoting student scholarly activity on campus and organizing the annual student conference. Since that year, the Student Research Council has organized the annual Student Research Conference, with financial support provided by the WKU chapter of Sigma Xi, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research, and other university units.
In 2011-2012 the Student Research Council initiated an exciting new program. With support from the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research, the Student Research Council developed a weeklong celebration of student scholarship. REACH (Research Experiences and Creative Heights) Week spanned March 17-24, 2012 and featured a keynote address by archaeologist and author Dr. Brian Fagan, as well as research showcases hosted by nine colleges and programs. The culminating activity of REACH Week was the annual Student Research Conference.
Prior to the creation of the Student Research Council in 2008, the annual Student Research Conference was organized by the WKU chapter of Sigma Xi, which is an international research society. Between 1970 and 2002, Sigma Xi organized and funded the WKU Student Research Conference, including keynote speakers and a banquet honoring conference session winners. For the next three years, the conference was jointly sponsored and organized by Sigma Xi and the University Honors Program. In 2006, WKU hosted a weekend-long celebration of student scholarship that included the Potter College Undergraduate Conference on Friday and the annual WKU Student Research Conference on Saturday, the latter again sponsored by Sigma Xi and the University Honors Program. The following year, a special committee comprised of representatives of each college, the University Honors Program, and Sigma Xi organized the conference. In 2006-2007 Sigma Xi and the Office of the Provost provided financial support for the conference.