Category: Community

Alumni get chance to reconnect, give back through Bjorklunden seminars

Registration is now open for Bjorklunden summer seminars

Link to video of Bjorklunden
Video: Bjorklunden

The 2019 Björklunden summer seminar lineup will feature a strong showing by Lawrence University alumni eager to return to their roots at the university’s pristine northern campus.

The lineup features 40 speakers, with topics catering to a wide range of interests. Fourteen of the instructors will be Lawrence alumni. That’s no coincidence.

“We try to get alumni as well as current Lawrence faculty (to teach seminars),” Director of Björklunden Mark Breseman said. “We think it is a positive thing for everybody.

“We figure alumni can attract some other classmates, which is a cool thing, and the same goes for the faculty.”

Robert Spoo ’79, who holds an endowed chair in law at the University of Tulsa and is a former English professor and editor of the James Joyce Quarterly, is among those Lawrence alumni excited for that connection. He’s been a frequent instructor at Björklunden, and returns in June to lead “The Ulysses Starter Kit,” a seminar that will explore James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses, as well as Joyce’s life, Dublin of the early 1900s and Irish history, music and culture.

“There are various ways we can give back to LU,” Spoo said. “One of those ways, for me, is to step into a role — teaching — that had such a great impact on me when I was on the learning side of the lectern. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t borrow something in my own classroom work that inspired me as a student at LU.

“Conducting seminars at Bjork is both an opportunity to give back in kind through teaching and to strengthen my connection as a LU alumnus. It’s especially satisfying when I can teach a subject at Bjork — in recent years it’s been the Irish author James Joyce — that I first encountered at LU.”

This year’s Björklunden seminar topics come in the areas of art, geology, film and television, history, literature, music, politics, religion and more. The seminars are open to both commuters and residents, who are housed in the estate’s 37,000-square-foot lodge, located on 425 acres just south of Baileys Harbor along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

One of Lawrence’s most visible alumni, ABC News chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran ’82, will lead a seminar titled “Americans First: We Don’t Actually Hate Each Other as Much as You Think.”

This is Moran’s third visit to Björklunden as a summer seminar instructor, with previous forums also focused on American politics.

Joining him in the political category is Paul Wickham Schmidt ’70, who is co-teaching the seminar, “American Immigration: A Legal, Cultural & Historical Approach to Understanding the Complex and Controversial Issue Dominating Our National Dialogue.”

Lawrence alumni are also instructing literary and artistic seminars. In addition to Spoo’s seminar on Joyce, Daniel Taylor ’63 will dive into Homer’s Odyssey, while Eric Simonson ’82 spearheads the Door Kinetic Arts Festival.

The summer seminars at Björklunden allow the lecture-goers to explore the northern campus and engage with the beautiful scenery in Door County.

Most seminars, which include meals prepared by Björklunden’s resident chef, begin Sunday evening and end Friday afternoon. Classes meet weekday mornings and some evenings, with remaining time available to enjoy Björklunden’s mile-long Lake Michigan shoreline and wooded walking trails or to explore Door County’s cultural and recreational opportunities.

A daily registration has been introduced this year. For $90 per day,  you can jump into a seminar for a single day.

Complete seminar information, including registration, dates, course descriptions and instructors, can be found at http://www.lawrence.edu/dept/bjork/ or by calling 920-839-2216. Questions can also be directed via email to mark.d.breseman@lawrence.edu.

By Nicole Witmer ’19

Bjorklunden’s summer seminar lineup

June 9-14: Listen to the Birds – Don Quintenz; Door Kinetic Arts Festival – Eric Simonson ‘82

June 16-21: Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World – Marcia Bjornerud

June 23-28: A New Leaf for Your Art – Marjorie Atwood; The Ulysses Starter Kit – Robert Spoo ‘79; Wildlife Photography: Turning Passion into Productivity – John Van Den Brandt

July 7-13: Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camp – Bob DeRosa

July 14-19: Villains, Maidens, and Spirits: An Introduction to Russian Folklore – Victoria Kononova; Modern China Through a Lens of History and Art – Shelley Drake Hawks & Brigid E. Vance; Medieval Women: Life, Work, Space and Place – Jane Schulenburg ‘65

July 21-26: Dwight Eisenhower, the CIA, and the Dulles Brothers: American Foreign Policy in the 1950s – Tim Crain; Revolutionary Russia: Politics and Culture from Lenin to Stalin – Peter Thomas; The Great Failure: Why World War I Began, Continued, and Never Ended – Jerald Podair & John Greenwald

July 28-August 2: Americans First: We Don’t Actually Hate Each Other as Much as You Think – Terry Moran ‘82; The American Civil War: News and Views – James Cornelius ‘81

August 4-9: American Immigration: A Legal, Cultural, & Historical Approach to Understanding the Complex and Controversial Issue Dominating Our National Dialogue – Paul Wickham Schmidt ’70 and Jennifer Esperanza; When History Meets Philosophy – Terry Goode; Paraphrases and Reminiscences: Exploring the Art of Piano Transcription – Anthony Padilla

August 11-17: Watercolor: The Expressive Medium – Helen Klebesadel; Three Wives of Abraham – Bill Urbrock; Smartphone Photography: Exploring Creativity with Your Camera – Philip Krejcarek

August 25-30: What Makes a Classic Movie Classic? Learning to Understand the Difference Between a Classic Film and “Just an Old Movie” – Jack Rhodes; The Geopolitics of Energy: Past, Present and Future – Tom Cutler ’73 & J. William Ichord; The Prosecutor’s Art: From the Streets to the Suites of the Oval Office – Steve Licata ’75 & Charlie Schudson

September 8-13: Creating Emotional Landscapes Through Poetry – Marilyn L. Taylor; Wildflowers, Birds, and Mushrooms – Don Quintenz & Charlotte Lukes; Human Microbes: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – David W. Hines ‘76

September 15-20: Watercolor: A Fresh Start – Helen Klebesadel; The Migration Phenomenon: Perspectives from Both Sides of the Atlantic – Christopher Murray ‘75; TV’s Middle Period, Late ‘70s to Century’s End: Time of Tele-Transition – Paul McComas ‘83

September 22-27: Stealing the Show: Memorable Supporting Players of the Classic Film Era – Jack Rhodes; Prosperity to Debacle: The Third Century Crisis in Roman History – Gerry Max ‘67; Experience Björklunden: Explore Door County on Your Own

September 29-October 4: Lincoln’s Spies – Doug Waller; Homer’s Odyssey – Daniel Taylor ‘63; Experience Björklunden: Explore Door County on Your Own

October 6-11: Baseball Double Header: Classic Baseball Films and the 2019 Postseason – Steven Landfried ‘66.

Excellence Ball, Cultural Expressions to highlight 2019 Empowerment Week

Cultural Expressions, a five-year tradition at Lawrence University, returns on Feb. 23, the conclusion of People of Color Empowerment Week on campus.

Performers are on stage during a past Cultural Expressions event.
Cultural Expressions features music, dance, poetry and more.

A week of activities celebrating and empowering people of color on the Lawrence University campus will kick off Saturday with a new event, the Excellence Ball.

It will be held Saturday night in the Esch-Hurvis Studio in the Warch Campus Center to officially launch the annual People of Color Empowerment Week.

The week, featuring a series of speakers and performers, will culminate with the Cultural Expressions talent showcase, set for Feb. 23. Check out a video preview here.

The Excellence Ball is the new entry this year. It will be a stylish affair, with attire billed as black-and-white formal wear. It runs from 8 p.m. to midnight and organizers say it aims to be a gathering to “acknowledge the accomplishments of people of color and to come together as a community to uplift each other and to have a good time.”

Music will be provided by DJ King Szn.

Cultural Expressions, meanwhile, is all about showcasing talented Lawrence students. Following a 4 p.m. dinner in the Diversity and Intercultural Center, an art gallery will be featured in the Mead Witter Room in Warch, showing students’ work in a range of art, film, poetry and sculptures. That’s followed by a series of performances in music, dance, poetry and spoken word beginning at 7 p.m. next door in Esch-Hurvis.

Admission for all of the student-organized events is free. All of the events are open to the public.

Awa Badiane ’21, president of Lawrence’s Black Student Union (BSU), said the Excellence Ball was added this year to provide a more significant launch to Empowerment Week.

“We’ll have posters and framed pictures up of people who represent black excellence,” she said. “The Obamas will be up, Maya Angelou, and others with captions underneath to describe who they are. It’ll be decorated like a ball. It’ll be a formal event with everyone dressed up.”

Like Cultural Expressions, the new ball is being organized by BSU.

“There was never really a celebratory event to say, hey, this is going to be a week about empowering and uplifting,” Badiane said. “So we’re going to start it off with this.”

Empowerment Week activities are being organized by All Is One: Empowering Young Women of Color (AIO), led by President Krystin Williams ’19.

Empowerment Week participants will include Vision, a spoken-word artist, at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Diversity and Intercultural Center; Sin Color, a Latin band from Los Angeles, performing at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Warch Campus Center; and Brienne Colston and Jaz Astwood, two Lawrence alumnae with New York City-based Brown Girl Recovery, facilitating a conversation on community accountability at 7 p.m. Friday in the Diversity Center.

Also planned is the showing of the movie “The Hate U Give,” set for 6 p.m. Monday at the cinema in the Warch Campus Center. Organizers also are working to set up an open mic at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Diversity Center.

Brown Girl Recovery is an organization in the Bronx that “aims to create avenues of support and community for black and brown folks through innovative and social justice-based programming, workshops and events,” according to its web site. It was founded by Colston, a 2015 LU graduate. Astwood, also a 2015 graduate, works with the organization.

“I think it’s nice to have alumnae from this campus back who did a lot for people of color while they were here,” Williams said of bringing Colston and Astwood in for Empowerment Week. “To bring them back and show the progress and how they’re still helping women of color in their own hometowns.”

Badiane said seeing alumni return for Empowerment Week sends an important message to current students.

“As a person of color on this campus, I do see the effects that POC Empowerment Week has,” Badiane said. “It’s essentially empowering you while you are on campus. It says I matter. And you see representation throughout campus, and you see accomplished people who get invited back. …. And you say, wow, that’s my goal.

“You see people who were in your shoes taking steps toward their goals or who have reached their goals, and you’re doing what they had been doing. So, you deserve an opportunity to celebrate that.”

Lawrence ranks among ‘Best Value Schools’ in the country, places 4th on Impact Schools list

Lawrence University has been recognized as one of the “Best Value Schools” in the country by The Princeton Review, ranking No. 4 in the category of best schools for making an impact.

Photo of the cover of the book, "The Best Value Colleges"
Lawrence University is included in the newly released book from The Princeton Review, “The Best Value Colleges.”

Lawrence is one of 200 schools selected for inclusion in the 2019 edition of the newly released book, The Best Value Colleges: 200 Schools with Exceptional ROI for Your Tuition Investment.

ROI references Return on Investment.

Within the book, Lawrence is ranked No. 4 in the category of Impact Schools, a category driven by student ratings of their experiences on campus, including student engagement, service, government and sustainability, and by the percentage of alumni who report that their jobs have “high meaning.”

In The Best Value Colleges – an annual release that was previously titled Colleges That Pay You Back – “we recommend the colleges we consider the nation’s best for academics, affordability, and career prospects,” according to the book’s editors at The Princeton Review.

The 200 schools that were selected were not ranked in any particular order. But within the book, Top 25 rankings were done in several categories, including Impact Schools.

The book lauds Lawrence for its academic strategies, including the Freshman Studies program, its “significant financial aid and scholarship opportunities,” its social activities that have “an altruistic bent” and its effective career services outreach to graduating students.

The ranking is one more reminder that the value of a Lawrence education continues to resonate long after graduation day.

“Lawrence has been transforming students’ lives for generations,” said Ken Anselment, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication. “So we are thrilled that the Princeton Review, which started measuring this phenomenon a few years ago, has once again rated the experience of our alumni so highly.”

The book highlights Lawrence’s commitment to financial aid and scholarships.

Lawrence has garnered national attention for its “Full Speed to Full Need” campaign designed to help bridge the financial gap for students who show a demonstrated need. The campaign has raised more than $74 million since 2014 and Lawrence is on its way to becoming one of only about 70 universities nationwide to be designated as full-need institutions.

Bolstered by a $30 million matching gift to kick off the campaign, the school has made a bold commitment to “make Lawrence accessible and affordable by meeting the full demonstrated financial need of every student.”

The Impact School ranking, meanwhile, speaks to the experience on campus and beyond.

“When families are considering the return on their investment in a college,” Anselment said, “we like to talk about this particular ranking because it highlights that Lawrentians feel that their careers and lives have meaning and that they are truly making a difference in the world.

“What better outcome could you ask for from a college experience?”

Freedom Forum VP to speak at Lawrence: ‘It’s a scary time for the First Amendment’

Note: Weather conditions have resulted in Barbara McCormack’s flight being canceled. Her Feb. 12 visit to Lawrence has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19.

Barbara McCormack and her team at the Freedom Forum Institute are on a mission to teach people how to be better consumers of media.

That’s no small task.

“It’s a scary time for the First Amendment,” says McCormack, vice president of education at the nonprofit Freedom Forum.

Photo of Barbara McCormack
Barbara McCormack

She’ll bring her message about media literacy, politics and the challenges of navigating a free press to Lawrence University for a 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 government colloquium in Room 102 of Steitz Hall. It is free and open to the public.

In an age when fake news is a thing, social media is a preferred outlet, news programs blur the lines between news and opinion, the president paints the media as enemies of the people and newsroom staffs are being downsized across the media landscape, the dangers of being lazy in your media consumption are real.

“Now, we’re all gatekeepers of information,” McCormack said. “With that, we all have to decide what to share, what not to share, what’s reliable, what’s not, and we’re doing this with no formal training. And not doing a very good job of it, quite honestly.”

Thus, McCormack and her team are on the road a lot. They have 35 workshops, classes or lectures scheduled during the first quarter of 2019. They meet with community groups, religious groups, students, journalists and more.

“Everyone is worried about this topic,” McCormack said. “We all understand the impact.”

She’s not here to tell you which news outlets you should trust. She’s here to push you to do the work so you can make informed decisions on your own. She hopes her lectures and workshops provide participants with the tools to do that. And when you find those outlets you trust, be confident enough to pony up for a subscription, digital or otherwise, to support the quality journalism they are doing.

The prevalence of fake news and the ease in which it’s created has added to the confrontational nature of today’s politics, said Arnold Shober, associate professor of government at Lawrence. He invited McCormack to Lawrence to further that conversation about blurred lines and how to navigate the daily onslaught of information so you become a better informed consumer, citizen and voter.

“We don’t know our politicians personally, at least most of us don’t,” Shober said. “The news is a filter we have.”

Besides its outreach work, the Freedom Forum operates the Newseum in Washington, D.C. It recently announced that it plans to sell the building that houses the decade-old museum dedicated to news and the First Amendment amid budget concerns.

It’s one more hit that speaks to the fractured financial state of media today. But it doesn’t diminish the message or slow the work the Freedom Forum is doing.

“We’re really hoping that by teaching media literacy, teaching responsibility to consumers, that along the way we will also instill an appreciation for the role a free press plays in our democracy,” McCormack said. “And hopefully send consumers out seeking quality news. We want them to have the skills to do that, to find those reliable sources.”

Navigating media

What: A Matter of Trust: Countering the Corrosive Effects of Polarization and Propaganda
Who: Barbara McCormack, Vice President of Newseum Education at the Freedom Forum Institute. She dives into the dark arts of media manipulation. Learn what propaganda is, how to spot it, and the roles news producers and consumers play in sustaining a healthy democracy.
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19
Where: Room 102, Steitz Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Top finishers named in annual Great Midwest Trivia Contest

The 54th edition of the Great Midwest Trivia Contest at Lawrence University has come and gone, surviving a deep freeze that had everyone, thankfully, staying indoors.

The student-run webcast at WLFM Radio drew nine on-campus teams and 75 off-campus teams. The 50-hour blitz ran from Friday night through Sunday night.

Trivia masters taking a group nap.
It was an exhausting weekend for your trivia masters.

Here are your top three on-campus finishers (some team names amended as needed):

  1. Do You Really Trust an Aquarius Baking & Cooking and Sauteing, Save Big Money at Menards and Broiling and Flambeing and Freeze Drying Whole Milk Family™, Stir Frying Please Mr Morrison, I Only Have But 50 Shillings, and Roasting & Grilling Club, The Name You’ve Just Read Has Been Redacted; The Amended Name Now Reads … (sorry, this is redacted, too) (1,645 points)
  2. Coming Out of the Cave and … (1,635)
  3. Cole Foster’s One Long Noodle and a Fistful of Spinach (950)

Here are your top three off-campus finishers:

  1. Get A Load Of That Sandwich (Get A Load Of It!) Look At That Boulder! (That’s A Nice Boulder!) Look At That Sandwich (Look At It!) Get A Load Of That Boulder (That’s A Nice Boulder!) Look At That Sandwich (Look At It!) Woo! (Woohoo!) Woo! (Yeah!) Woo! (Woohoohoo!) (1,765 points)
  2. Cardboard Dave Presents: Red Dog, The National Beer of the Holy Broman Empire (1,730)
  3. Caillouigi 3 & Knuckles (1,595)

The winning off-campus team was based in New York City.

No teams got the Super Garuda question correct. Super Garuda, of course, is the final question of the contest and is worth 100 points. It also serves as the lead-off question for the following year’s contest.

Here is the Super Garuda: This Chicago restaurant serves both Italian beef and shrimp egg foo young, and may also be mistaken for a file extraction software. The street on which it is located is the first name of a man whose last name is the first name of a different man who began his own DIY cake decorating business. The man who shares his name with this street has written a book which purports that those born between November 22 and December 21 are “fond of horses.” On page 21 of that book, there is a car. What does the car say?

The answer is “OINK!”

Allegra C. Taylor has been selected as the grand master for the 2020 Great Midwest Trivia  Contest.

If you missed it, click here for our  guide — 37 reasons why — to the awesomeness of the Great Midwest Trivia Contest.

Collaboration on ‘Mass’ brings public conversations on faith, communication

Linda Morgan-Clement and Copeland Woodruff see an opportunity for conversation.

About faith. About no faith. About shared experiences and differing ideologies. About inclusion. About the barriers that keep us from talking freely about our own cluttered spiritual journeys.

Students practice using American Sign Language
Lawrence University students learn American Sign Language in preparation for the production of “Mass”.

With Lawrence University Opera Theatre presenting in mid-February a much-anticipated retelling of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, featuring a Deaf character and the use of sign language, there is a window in which to engage people in conversation about how we communicate — or better yet, don’t communicate — on those often uncomfortable topics.

“The Mass is this touchpoint for us,” said Morgan-Clement, the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life at Lawrence.

Morgan-Clement’s office is collaborating with Woodruff, the award-winning Director of Opera Studies and Associate Professor of Music at Lawrence, to bring together public conversations about Mass, a production that was both acclaimed and controversial when it debuted in 1971 and is being presented now as part of the world-wide celebration of Bernstein’s 100th birthday.

Mass will be staged Feb. 14-17 at Lawrence University’s Stansbury Theater.

Congregants from Memorial Presbyterian Church, First English Lutheran Church, First Congregational United Church of Christ and the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will take part in the public conversations.

The first session is a talk led by Morgan-Clement from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, February 6 at First Congregational UCC, 724 E. South River St., Appleton. Participants will then be able to sign up to attend a dress rehearsal of Mass at Stansbury Theater and will have the opportunity to purchase reduced-price tickets to one of the performances. They also will be able to participate in a post-performance talk back with cast members.

Portrait of Linda Morgan-Clement
Linda Morgan-Clement

The opera, with its use of a Deaf character and the incorporating of American Sign Language (ASL) and Pidgen Signed English (PSE), provides an interesting opportunity to talk about how we communicate and the barriers we often put up, Morgan-Clement said.

“Part of what (Woodruff) is doing is trying to bring it into the contemporary world, so he will be using a Deaf actor for kind of a metaphor for thinking about how we communicate,” she said.

The arts — and in this case, Bernstein’s Mass — can be used to engage people in conversations they might not otherwise have.

“It gives people a touchpoint around which to come together,” Morgan-Clement said. “It’s not just let’s get together and talk about the ways we don’t talk.”

There is so much to unpack with this production that the conversations come naturally.

“It’s the Mass, which was so controversial in its own time,” Morgan-Clement said.

The modern music, the discord, the journey of doubt playing out on stage, all crashing into the deep traditions of a Catholic mass. It provides an avenue for discussion of our differences and our similarities.

“So it opens up this moment in today’s time for people to talk about the ways in which we … are still being human together, sharing this earth, a lot of commonality in our emotional framework and the ways we operate,” Morgan-Clement said. “And in what ways do the symbols and the language get in our way of actually hearing each other?”

Important dialogue

Woodruff often looks for community partnerships as he uses opera to explore a range of socially relevant issues. With Mass, the incorporation of a Deaf character provides an opportunity for engagement with the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, discussion of language and culture issues in those communities and a wider dialogue surrounding communication barriers that often hamper conversations on spiritual topics.

In addition to the collaboration with the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, Lawrence students are taking part in community engagement activities, including a performance of selections from the opera at Appleton’s Edison Elementary School, which serves both Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students.

Members of the production team say the opera could reach as many as 2,000 people in the Fox Valley.

“It is rare — even at the national level — for a signed opera to be produced and performed,” Woodruff said. “The majority of our area’s theater-going public would not ordinarily experience this type of performance. Mass will open dialogues about faith and inclusion to our community.”

Woodruff and the Lawrence University Opera Theatre Ensemble are partnering with members of two local children’s choirs to reimagine Mass, which is structured like a Roman Catholic Tridentine Mass but mixes sacred and secular texts and music. The Celebrant leads the ceremony, and the Deaf character is the voice of the congregation challenging the Celebrant. They argue and search for answers to universal questions together — their diversity highlighted by an eclectic blend of blues, rock, gospel, folk, Broadway, jazz, hymnal, Middle Eastern dance and orchestral music.

Through the production, the characters seek a new path to shared communication, exploring how we can hear each other despite our differences.

Ultimately, they affirm the value of faith and a desire for peace.

That’s the path Morgan-Clement is looking to explore in the session that kicks off the conversation on Feb. 6.

“It just makes sense for us to see whether there are things we can or would like to do together,” she said of the collaboration with the Opera Theatre team.

Incorporating sign language

The production of Mass features a professional Deaf actor, Robert Schleifer, as well as a local interpreter for the Deaf, Kristine Orkin. Schleifer, along with Lawrence student performers, will sign most of the opera’s lyrics in real time during the performance. Lawrence students have been getting training in using ASL. Deaf audience members also will be able to read supertitles.

For Schleifer, the blending of opera with ASL is powerful and moving.

“My love of opera is longstanding, its visual language fascinating — depicted through conductor wand gyrations, the energetic dance of bodies fused with instruments in orchestral rhythms, singers’ storytelling through facial expression and movement and breathing strength — the power I see touches my soul,” he said.

“Bernstein’s Mass project has been both a challenging and awesome experience, from the sound of the music itself and the abstract concepts portrayed through tone and inflection, which I cannot hear, relying on facial and body cues, figuring how to match American Sign Language with operatic language, to the awesome collaboration with Copeland and Kris, who helped me understand the complexities of poetic language, appreciate the culture of opera, and together watch the beautiful magic unfold.”

Bernstein’s Mass debuted in 1971 after the famed composer was asked by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to compose a piece for the 1971 inauguration of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Opera has been an integral part of the Lawrence voice program for almost 60 years, a centerpiece of the performance opportunities for voice students. Under Woodruff’s direction, Lawrence’s mainstage operas have received national awards, including Hydrogen Jukebox (2017) and The Beggar’s Opera (2016), which shared first prize for the American Prize in Opera Performance in the college/university division. Le comte Ory (2018) and The Beggar’s Opera also received first place from the National Opera Association; Hydrogen Jukebox received third place in the same competition. Woodruff was also named the 2018 recipient of the American Prize’s Charles Nelson Reilly Prize for stage direction.

Lawrence’s production of Mass is supported by grants from 91.1 The Avenue and the Jewelers Mutual Charitable Giving Fund and the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. The Office of Spiritual and Religious Life is able to co-sponsor the production and public conversation through the Hurvis endowment.

Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers will be performed February 14-17, 2019, in Stansbury Theatre on the Lawrence University campus. More information, including ticket information, can be found at go.lawrence.edu/massopera.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect the date change for the public conversation on faith and communication. Due to the extreme cold weather, it was moved from 5:30 p.m. Jan. 30 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 6. All other details remain the same.

37 reasons Great Midwest Trivia most fun you can have on a cold January weekend

As campus traditions go, the 50-hour sleep-deprived, mind-bending adrenaline rush that is the Great Midwest Trivia Contest is tough to beat.

Those who don’t play may never understand.

Those who do play, well, pick your descriptor. Addictive. Obsessive. Weirdly soothing.

Lawrence University’s annual deep dive into obscure, insignificant, irresistible trivia is upon us. The 54th edition of the Great Midwest Trivia Contest kicks off at the very specific time of 10:00.37 p.m. Jan. 25 and closes at midnight Jan. 27.

Group photo of 2019 trivia masters
The 2019 trivia masters, led by Miranda Salazar ’19 (front row center) are ready to work.

This we know. The annual contest, organized and executed each year by a team of student trivia masters, is weaved into the rich history of Lawrence, a quirky Friday-to-Sunday blitz that is part of the student experience, a connection to alumni and an odd but fun connector to the greater Fox Valley community.

Started in the spring of 1966, it’s drawn attention in recent years from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among others.

In honor of those bonus 37 seconds of anticipation on Friday night, we’ve pulled together 37 reasons why you should embrace the 2019 trivia spectacle for what it is: Fun.

1: Indoor diversions can be good. It’s a late January weekend in Wisconsin. Have you seen the forecast?

2: The world is ours. The contest draws nearly 100 teams, more than three-fourths coming from off campus. While most teams set up shop in or around Appleton, the webcast at WLFM Radio brings in off-campus teams from across the country and sometimes around the world.

3: Campus royalty. Being named head trivia master is, well, huge. Miranda Salazar ’19 has picked up the challenge this year. And it’s no small challenge. “It’s a 50-hour continuous event, and I’ve spent five times that on this contest getting it where it should be,” she said.

4 through 15: High honor. Salazar isn’t alone in her dedication, of course. She has a team of 12 carefully selected trivia masters helping her craft questions, doing the leg work and working throughout the marathon weekend at WLFM headquarters.

16: The president is all in. As part of the five-decade-plus tradition, President Mark Burstein will launch the contest by asking the first question on Friday night. Veterans of the annual contest know there is a head start – the final question from a year ago, known as the Super Garuda, is the first question of this year’s contest. More on that later.

17: It moves fast. Questions come every five minutes. Teams have three minutes to find the answer and call it in. “This year’s theme is fast, efficient, streamlined,” Salazar said. “We’re taking everything people like about trivia, everything we like about trivia and distilling it down. We’re trying to ask as many questions as possible, take as many song requests as possible and be as responsive as possible.”

18: Connections. Those who work the contest forge connections with those who came before. Way before. “I was emailing with the guy who founded it (in 1966), J.B. deRosset … and even he doesn’t really know why it’s still around,” Salazar said of the contest’s enduring appeal. “He remarks that it’s still living. That’s what he calls it, like a living thing.”

19: Seriously, not everything has to be, you know, serious. “I think it’s really that once you start playing, it’s infectiously fun,” Salazar said. “Once you have the bug it’s really so much fun. It’s a way to hang out with friends, to rally around silly things, to not take yourself too seriously while also dedicating your time to something.”

20: Cameras on campus: Spectrum TV was on campus last week to capture some of the fun in advance of the big weekend. Watch for it to air this week.

21: A podcast is born. Brothers Bryan and Matt Peters, Great Midwest Trivia veterans of more than a decade, love the contest so much they’ve launched a podcast in its honor. “We love trivia and the history around it and we want to see the contest grow,” Bryan said. “That is our goal with the podcast. Bring new people to the contest and bring back the people who have left.” The first two episodes of the Trivia Brothers podcast are up. Find a related Facebook page by searching The Trivia Brothers.

Head trivia master Miranda Salazar poses for a publicity photo.
Miranda Salazar ’19 is this year’s head trivia master.

22: Traditions rule. Part of the ongoing appeal is tied to the traditions passed down each year. Some are public, some a little more inside. The worthless prizes, the armadillo, the song “Africa” by Toto. “We have a pretty big community of alumni,” Salazar said. “We really kind of operate like a fraternity or sorority in as much as we have a group of alumni who we rely on and ask questions of and talk to.”

23: A recruiting tool? You bet. Salazar knows first-hand how the trivia contest can be a calling card for prospective Lawrentians. As a high school senior in Delaware four years ago, the trivia contest was that quirky thing that separated Lawrence from other schools, she said. “I knew I wanted to play trivia when I was touring Lawrence. It was one of the things that made me want to come here, that made it special or unique to me.”

24: Google is your friend. The contest has evolved through the years. Not only is Google now encouraged, it’s sort of required. The thrill is in the hunt.

25: A team is a team is a team. You can go solo. You can start a new team with friends. You can join an existing team. “My freshman year … I got seven of us together and we piled into a room and got snacks and made it our home base for the weekend,” Salazar said. “That’s how I got hooked on it.”

26: Victors are crowned: Come midnight on Sunday, a gathering will be held to announce the new champions and hand out those useless prizes, mostly found items from around the WLFM studio. A broken bagel, anyone? “The prizes are less than valuable,” Salazar said. “Also, there is a tradition to break the first prize.”

27: It’s not everybody’s thing, but it’s not boring. “When I started researching colleges, I always looked for something quirky or different and some of them are kind of boring,” Salazar said. “Schools will say we have a tradition that we all have a picnic at the end of the year, which isn’t really all that fun. But when I read about this (trivia contest), I said I want to do that.”

28: You can still get in. Registration takes place at 8 p.m. Friday. A team rep needs to call in to give needed team info. It’s as simple as that. Find details at https://blogs.lawrence.edu/trivia.

29: Creativity is in play. The action questions may require some dress up or perhaps some video production or in-the-moment songwriting. So that’s fun.

30: There is wiggle room. When calling in an answer, teams get three guesses.

31: Winning is cool, names are fun. Last year’s off-campus champ was The Holy Broman Lonestar Republic Presents: Cardboard Davy Crocket Remembers the Alamo. The on-campus title went to The Cult of the Pink Shoe.

32: Friends stay friends. Trivia remains a great connector once you leave Lawrence. “I’ll keep playing,” Salazar said. “There’s a big alumni team out there with a lot of my friends on it. But if everyone keeps playing on the same team, it’ll just be too powerful. So, I’ll start my own alumni team. I’ll give them some competition.”

33 to 35: Know your Garudas. Come late Sunday, things get tough. The three Garudas are billed as super difficult questions and come with elevated scoring (25 to 50 points instead of the usual five) and extra time (10 minutes to answer instead of the usual three).

36: The big one. The Super Garuda question always closes the show and then opens the following year’s contest. The 2018 Super Garuda, written by Salazar, drew no correct answers to close last year’s contest (it’s worth 100 points). The question: In the Tanzanian city whose name is an anagram for “A Salad Smear,” there is an intersection of two roads near the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco. One road shares the first name with the former Supreme Chief of the Gogo and the other road is named for a Tanzanian Sultan whose skull’s return is discussed in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. On the wall in front of the intersection there are three large legibly scrawled words in English, what are they? The answer: “The Jungle, Bob.”

37: There is pressure. Salazar is feeling it. “It’s a big job,” she said of this grand master thing. “This is a 54-year tradition, don’t mess it up.”

If you play

What: Lawrence University’s Great Midwest Trivia Contest

When: Begins at 10:00.37 p.m. Friday and runs through midnight on Sunday.

Where: Streams live on WLFM, the school’s radio station, https://wlfmradio.lawrence.edu

 

 

 

‘Do your work’: Lawrence students, faculty, staff reach out on MLK Day

Lawrence University students, faculty and staff were out and about in big numbers Monday as they responded to the call to service in honor of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

They took part in multiple volunteer efforts at area Boys and Girls Clubs, Feeding America, Brewster Village and Riverview Gardens, participated in an OxFam Hunger Banquet to get a deeper understanding of issues that keep families trapped in poverty and took part in faculty teach-in sessions on topics ranging from systematic racism to youth mental health.

That was a lead-up to Monday evening’s celebration at Memorial Chapel, a chance to embrace Dr. King’s legacy and reaffirm a commitment to carry his message forward.

Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. speaks at podium.
Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. speaks during Monday’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Memorial Chapel.

Keynote speaker Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. implored the nearly full house at the chapel to be active and vocal in pushing King’s messages of inclusion and equality.

“The people who really have me concerned are good people with good hearts who say nothing,” Moore said. “The best friend that hate has is silence.”

A Lawrence tradition

The day of service on MLK Day has been a tradition at Lawrence since 2003.

“It’s a day on, not a day off, for service,” said Kristi Hill, director of Lawrence’s Center for Community Engagement and Social Change.

Nearly 300 students, faculty and staff took part in the various service projects.

“Lawrence has made a commitment to build students who are change makers,” Hill said, calling Monday’s activities an opportunity for students and faculty to “learn, serve and celebrate” in Dr. King’s name.

The OxFam Hunger Banquet, held at the Warch Campus Center, featured a simulation to highlight issues and laws that keep people cut off from needed resources, stifling opportunities to escape the brutal cycle of poverty. The session looked to raise awareness of poverty and hunger issues here and around the world and inspire those participating to become active in fighting inequalities in access to resources.

Organized by the LU Food Recovery Network, it was a first-time event and drew upwards of 90 participants.

“It’s an opportunity to learn about equity in our communities,” Hill said.

Getting into the community

The service excursions around the Fox Cities gave participants a chance to engage with youth, interact with community elders and do work that assists area food pantries.

The Brewster Village program, created by Vicky Liang ’19 as part of the Building Intergenerational Relationships partnership between Lawrence and the Outagamie County rehabilitation and long-term nursing facility, had Lawrence students working with elders to create six-word memoirs to reflect their lives.

“We’re trying to raise awareness of the loneliness,” Liang said as Brewster Village residents paired up with Lawrence students around tables in the community room, engaging in conversations that tapped into memories and brought reflections of lives lived.

“With the MLK message, we usually think of the ‘I Have a Dream,'” Liang said. “But he fought for justice and equal resources for everyone.”

Lawrence volunteer talks with students at Boys and Girls Club.
Lawrence University student Beatrice Gee interacts Monday with kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Menasha.

At the Boys and Girls Clubs in Appleton and Menasha, a program organized by Sam Taylor ’19 had about 50 Lawrence volunteers talking with about 300 K-6 students about the work and legacy of MLK.

At the Menasha club, students in one room gathered in circles to talk through “Wings,” a book by Christopher Myers that tells the story of a boy born with wings who is shunned and mocked by his peers because he’s different and a young girl who finally gathers the confidence to speak up on his behalf.

Sophie Dion-Kirschner ’20, one of the Lawrence volunteers, said she believes the messages being delivered and the connections being made are a benefit to both the youngsters at the Boys and Girls Club and the Lawrentians who stepped up to volunteer.

“They all get something out of it that they weren’t expecting,” she said.

Teach-ins close to home

Five professors, meanwhile, hosted teach-ins in various residence halls, informal gatherings to talk about issues of education, diversity and inclusion. Students were able to come and go, joining in the conversation as they saw fit.

Professor Lori Hilt talks with students at Hiett Hall.
Professor Lori Hilt conducts a teach-in Monday at Hiett Hall.

Professor Stephanie Burdick-Shepherd talked about systematic inequalities in education; Professor Mark Jenike talked on hunger in a wealthy nation; Professor Lori Hilt on improving youth mental health; Professor Jason Brozek on the global climate justice movement; and Professor Jesus Gregorio Smith on systematic racism.

The teach-ins, a first-time offering on MLK Day, resonated with the students, Dion-Kirschner said. “The professors are showing people, I teach you this material, but here is what I can do with it. Here are the things that you can do to make this world a better place.”

A Dr. King celebration

That all led to Monday night’s community celebration at the chapel, a partnership between Lawrence, African Heritage Inc. and various community organizations, to honor Dr. King’s legacy. Moore, a noted activist who has forged a career as a speaker and consultant on issues of race and equality, was the keynote speaker for the 28th annual event, addressing the theme, “Why Keep Dreaming? A Time for Action.”

Turning that dream into action takes work, Moore said.

“When you’re committed, everybody has work to do,” he said. “It’s not just black friends or listening to Tina Turner or doing one thing with one person. It’s work.”

That’s true, he said, no matter how committed you are or how deeply you believe in all that King preached.

“I can’t just get there because I say I’m a good person,” Moore said. “Do your work.”

Speaking of doing the work, the annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty MLK Community Leader Award was presented to Norys Pina, who has been a leading advocate in the Fox Cities on immigration issues and a vocal resource in the areas of access and equality. She’s a lead organizer of Unidos por un Futuro Mejor – Fox Cities and works as a volunteer coordinator for the Fox Valley Literacy Council. She is the 25th recipient of the honor, first awarded in 1995.

Winners of the annual youth essay contest read their essays during the MLK celebration. They included Feyikemi Delano-Oriaran, a second-grader at Classical School in Appleton, Lilyanna Pieper, a sixth-grader at Huntley Elementary School in Appleton, and Catlin Yang, a senior at Kimberly High School.

More photos: See photos from Monday’s MLK Day events here.

Video: Lawrence students volunteer in the community on MLK Day

 

“Why Keep Dreaming? A Time for Action” Focus of Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration

Logo of Dr. Martin Luther King Community CelebrationThe 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration will feature a day of service and learning for Lawrence University students, culminating in a powerful message of action through unity from Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. A leading expert on diversity and privilege, Moore is a dynamic speaker and educator who leads his audience in interactive, fun, challenging and informative presentations. The celebration will also include musical performances, readings from student essay contest winners, and the presentation of community awards.

The celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy will be held Monday, Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public and will include a sign language interpreter.

In addition to Dr. Moore’s presentation, Fox Cities community members will be presented with the 25th annual Jane LaChapelle McCarty Community Leader Award and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educator Award. This year’s recipients will be honored at a reception immediately following the program in Shattuck Hall 163 on the Lawrence campus.

The three local winners of the annual MLK student essay contest will also read their award-winning essays. This year’s winning student essayists are:

  • Feyikami Delano-Oriaran, 2nd grade, Classical School Appleton
  • Lilyanna Pieper, 6th grade, Huntley Elementary
  • Catlin Yang, 12th grade, Kimberly High School

In addition to the evening celebration, the Lawrence community will continue its tradition of engaging in a day of service through a variety of events:

  • The OxFam Hunger Banquet, sponsored by the LU Food Recovery Network, will kick off the day at 10:30 a.m. in the Warch Campus Center.  The LU Food Recovery Network will lead an interactive hands-on activity highlighting the issues and laws that keep people trapped in poverty.
  • At 1 p.m., students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to volunteer at community organizations throughout the Fox Cities including Feeding America, the Menasha and Fox Valley Boys and Girls Clubs, and Riverview Gardens. These student-led initiatives benefit the community and help Lawrentians solidify the value of service learning.
  • Informal teach-in sessions, where faculty provide expert insights into community issues that impact equality for will take place across campus between 1 and 4 p.m. Topics include “Hunger and Health in a Wealthy Nation” and “The Global Climate Justice Movement,” among others.

More information regarding the MLK, Jr. Day of Service can be found at http://www.lawrence.edu/students/volunteer/mlk.

Pulitzer Prize Winner James Forman Jr. to Explore Causes of Mass Incarceration at Lawrence Talk

James Forman Jr., author of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, will deliver a talk that explores the rise of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color. The talk will be followed by a signing of his book, which is hailed as “superb and shattering” by The New York Times.

James Forman Jr. headshot
Pulitzer Prize Winner James Forman, Jr. to speak at Lawrence University.

Forman explores how the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers and seeks to understand why. His exploration began when Forman served as a public defender in Washington, D.C. After he failed to keep a 15-year-old out of a juvenile detention center, he wondered how the mayor, the judge, the prosecuting attorney, the arresting officer, even the bailiff—all of whom were black—could send so many of their own to a grim, incarcerated future.  

Forman, now a professor at Yale Law School, will explore the answers during a talk and signing at Lawrence University on Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Wriston Hall Auditorium.  He will show how good intentions and pressing dangers of the last 40 years have shaped the get-tough approach in the culture at large and in black neighborhoods.

Forman’s visit is sponsored by the Erickson Fund for Public Policy, Center for Institutions and Innovation at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and Lawrence University’s Government Department and Office for Diversity and Inclusion. He is hosted by Lawrence University Associate Professor of Government Arnold Shober. “Wisconsin has some of the highest incarceration rates of African-Americans in the country, yet race, crime, and prison are one of the most complex—and heart-rending—policy issues in modern America,” Shober says.  “Forman’s talk will help us think carefully and compassionately about our way forward.”

This event is free and open to the public and no registration is required.

Lecture and Signing with Pulitzer-Winner James Forman, Jr.
Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Lawrence University’s Wriston Art Center Auditorium
Appleton, WI
Free and Open to the Public