Past University Themes
2011-12 Theme: Home and Place
Students, faculty and staff, and community members explored the many definitions and meanings of home – a physical place, the university, a neighborhood, town, state, country, geographic area, and planet – and their roles in each. The theme also allowed students to develop a sense of place and gain knowledge of a particular area: Winona, Minnesota, situated in the driftless area of bluff country. Students were encouraged to explore the history, politics, health, culture, geology and geography of this area as well as their particular relationship to their residence hall or neighborhood. They discovered different ways of experiencing “home” and develop ways to appreciate a particular place as members of a distinct community.
Special events included the Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s photographic exhibit during the fall of 2011, Portrait and Place, by Drake Hokanson and James Bowey, both WSU faculty members. The Integrated Wellness Complex sponsored the Duniya Drum and Dance Troupe. The CLASP (Consortium of Liberal Arts and Science Promotion) lecture series, fall Swan Watch tour, Lyceum events, including Shakti Butler, David Kung, and Charles Trimble as well as the Common Book, Packinghouse Daughter, by Cherie Register, focused on different ways to interpret home and a sense of place, and how those interpretations relate to our direct experiences. One student project involved “Absent Narratives,” interviews with immigrants and refugees who work in the area, but who are in many ways invisible in the community. This will be part of The Way We Work exhibit at the Winona County History Center in December, 2012. In addition, the Student Life and Development division completed the development of a restorative justice program aimed at assisting students to develop an appreciation of and respect for their neighbors and neighborhoods in their daily interactions.
2010-11 Theme: The Big Sky
"What sculpture in these hard clouds; what expression of immense amplitude of this dotted and rippled rack, here firm and continental, there vanishing into plumes and auroral gleams. No crowding; boundless, cheerful, and strong."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, journal, May 25, 1843The sky, like water and food, is both a universal experience and also very particular: we all share the sky, but we all have our own particular piece of it. For the 2010-11 Theme, WSU looked at the sky from a variety of perspectives, to raise our awareness of its significance.
We started the year with an AIRPLANE on CAMPUS as part of our Fall Sky Fair. Highlights of the year included an "Adopt-A-Cloud" program and a campus visit by Brother Guy J. Consolmagno, S.J., a planetary astronomer from the Vatican Observatory. The Big Sky blog on Winona360 tracked our progress through the year.
2009-10 Theme: Sustainable Foods Partnership
WSU faculty and staff members, working with community members involved in local foods and sustainable farming, offered a variety of opportunities throughout the academic year to engage students and faculty in the study of sustainable food systems. These included on- and off-campus events incorporating farms, film, food, literature, science, wildlife, and policy as examples of the multi-disciplinary approach that is at the heart of this effort.
This year was the first year that the Winona Farmers Market was held on campus. It was also the first year of offering Curriculum Grants for faculty to design course components for their classes directly related to the theme. Details of the year's events can be found on the full Sustainable Foods Partnership website.
2008-09 Theme: Our Drinking Fountains, Our Water
Our first theme was known as "The Water Project." Together with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre of Minneapolis, we developed a year-long project to inspire stewardship of our public local water and to promote a broader understanding of regional, national and international water issues. We also refurbished a local drinking fountain in Winona as a public art initiative—one that was enacted and celebrated along with the public educational component of the year. The resulting bronze otters public drinking fountain at the lake serves as an emblematic manifestation of a community committed to the honor, protection, and celebration of clean water as central to the health and wealth of our city.
Please visit the Water Project website for full details of the year.