Themester leaves its mark

Themester 2011September 11, 2011, will be a somber day, marking the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.  It will also mark the beginning of the College’s 3rd annual themed semester, Themester 2011: Making War, Making Peace.

Themester, an extensive, wide-ranging program held every fall semester, was created to bring faculty, students, and the entire campus and local community together, to engage in dialogue and the re-examination of ideas.  Each Themester includes about forty undergraduate classes, numerous lectures, plays, exhibits, and other campus and community activities, all centered around a single theme.  A faculty committee guides each Themester, and, along with students and other participants, provide the enthusiasm and energy.

Julie Singer graduated in 2010 with a BA in Sociology.  As a member of the College’s Student Advisory Board and Union Board, she took part in Themester 2009: Evolution, Diversity and Change.  “Two events stand out in my memory,” she says. “The lecture by Richard Dawkins at the IU Auditorium - I helped facilitate this event and I was so proud to see the dramatic turn-out of students, faculty, staff, and community members. Seeing a line from the doors of the Auditorium to the IU Art Museum for an expert on evolutionary biology, rather than a popular culture icon, was absolutely astounding.”

She adds, “The lecture given by Federal District Judge John Jones III regarding the Kitzmiller vs. Dover School District court case was extraordinary. This court case addressed the teaching of  ‘intelligent design’ in public school science curricula, with Judge Jones  ruling that its inclusion was in fact unconstitutional. This event, which was held on a Friday afternoon, was filled to capacity, with dozens of standees in the back.”

Elisabeth Gawthrop missed the College’s first Themester because she was studying abroad.  But she heard from friends about the Dawkins lecture and wasted no time getting involved with Themester 2010, Sustain•ability: Thriving on a Small Planet. “I helped plan the ‘GreenINg our Economy’ Student Empowerment Summit with Majora Carter. I am also the coordinator of the student group Volunteers in Sustainability.  We had several events associated with  Themester, the most visible of which was a art display in the IMUG made from reused materials that promoted awareness regarding the issue of plastics in our oceans,” she says.  “Themester absolutely engages the campus and community in a way that individual student groups or departments cannot. I would like to see more student groups become involved in helping to plan Themester events.”

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Each Themester comprises a wide range of event, classes and activities.  Themester support from donors has been used to print educational materials for public school classes at theatre productions; it’s also been used to pay for visiting speakers and performers.  Your contribution to Themester can help pay for:

  • Student group activities, such as panels or debates
  • Theatrical performances, both on and off campus
  • Educational outreach to local schools and training for teachers
  • Bringing related films or artists to campus
  • Lecture series