I went to undergraduate school at a regional state university from 1994-1998. I do not remember ever seeing information on REUs until a couple of posters showed up in the summer of 1998. None of my professors suggested (to me or any other majors) that we look for or pursue summer research, and we didn't know such things existed or were actually available to us at the time. Now, of course, there are dozens of posters and printouts for REUs, and plenty of information about them on the internet. For the sake of this discussion, REUs will only refer to summer or other term research opportunities that are available to students from various schools, not just students from a particular school or area. When did they start? When did the inflate (I perceived the inflation to be about 1998-1999)? When did they become "expected" rather than "a good opportunity"?