This news article describes the very "fashionable" trend of undergraduate research. It seems that there is an increasing effort for undergraduates to go beyond just classroom work and involve themselves with research projects.
I've certainly encouraged physics students to do this if they can afford it. And by "afford it", I mean as in being able to afford the time and effort. It certainly does not make any sense if the student is already struggling with school work and tries to add even more burden by doing an undergraduate research project. So it is certainly recommended for those who can handle the extra work.