On Campus: News and Notes
Southwestern University Family Days 2005
Parents get to know their Students Home Away from Home
On February 1820, Southwestern held its annual Family Days weekend. The weekend is an opportunity for friends and family of enrolled students to visit Southwestern and see students at their home away from home. This years Family Days included a variety of discussions, presentations, receptions and artistic events.
Friday evening also featured a performance of Hair, this semesters theatrical production from the Sarofim School of Fine Arts. One parent in attendance commented, Our son was reluctant to go with us, but we prevailed and all very much enjoyed the performance. There was not an average soloist in the groupsuch talent! Our compliments to the director.
On Saturday, several members of the Southwestern faculty addressed the family and friends in attendance. Sunday included a parents forum. I do think the parents forum is helpful especially for parents of newer students. By this time of year, with a semester behind them, parents have identified new questions and/or concerns about their students life at Southwestern, noted one audience member.
Overall the consensus from parent feedback indicates that Family Days 2005 was informative and meaningful. When asked why this opportunity is so valuable, one parent responded, Having the opportunity to spend time with and get to know our students friends, meeting faculty and meeting the administration is priceless and remains crucial to knowing our students home away from home.
SU Tsunami Relief
This semester, Southwestern students, faculty and staff joined people from all over the world by coming together to aid victims of the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami disaster. Senior Aaron Mutnik, who designed t-shirts for the efforts, said, I was driving across Texas during winter break as the story of the tsunami spread through the news. As the trip progressed, the newspaper headlines at the gas stations kept showing more and more counts of victims. I guess it was at that point that the magnitude of the crisis hit me.
Southwesterns efforts began simply, with some students setting up a donation collection jar in the McCombs Concourse. They followed by selling custom designed t-shirts from Mutnikrepresenting Kappa Chi. All proceeds from the t-shirt salesnow on back order because of high demandgo to the relief effort. Additionally, Sophomore Katelyn Jones, with the help of several Southwestern fraternities, organized a campus blood drive.
Southwestern students raised a total of $3,779.42 for the victims of the tsunami. The funds will be divided between the Red Cross and UNICEF. Students remain busy setting up future events to continue supporting the relief effort and will hold a craft auction hosted by Operation Achievement.
Pakistani Artist Saira Wasim Teaches Mughal Painting at SU
A nearly lost art form is revived
Internationally renowned Mughal painter Saira Wasim recently visited Southwestern to instruct students in the art and practice of Mughal painting. Wasim taught the tedious process for creating the miniature paintings in the Mughal tradition, which entails mixing small amounts of gouache paint in tiny white sea shells and using very fine brushes. They sat on cushions on the floor, as one would work in Pakistan. Each student completed a self-portrait in the Mughal tradition by the end of the multi-session workshop.
Wasim describes this rich history of Mughal artistry, saying, Miniature Painting is the traditional art form of the Asian Sub-Continent. The origin dates back to the 16th century, but unfortunately, after the Indo-Pak independence, the rich tradition of Miniature Painting completely stopped for many years, and only reproduction of the master painters was practiced without understanding the essence of its school of thought. Wasim and other young artists have achieved great success reviving the tradition, and her pieces have been purchased by a number of art institutions around the world. A collection of Wasims work was on display in the SSFA Gallery from February through March.
SU Players Explore the Generation Gap in Hair
Southwestern production lifts up musical element and stays on message
The original production of Hair was groundbreaking because it was one of the first musicals to incorporate rock music into the score and because it did not have a plot, per se. The production also represented a clashing of generations, as the world was changing in style, taste, ethics and morals, remembers Desi Roybal, assistant professor of theatre and resident scenic advisor.
Hair has always been a controversial production, and over the years the audience began to expect certain things, most notably the infamous nude scene. In Southwesterns production, the cast decided against doing the scene because it had almost become the plays identity, and we wanted to focus more on the musical aspect and not reduce the show to only one scene, says Trey Deason, a junior theatre arts major. For other student actors, such as first-year Casey McAuliffe, shows like Hair are fun because they are controversial and more edgy.
The tribethe cast of characterswas able to create a world within a world for the production. The stage changed with the iconography the tribe used and evolved with the show. In the end, the audience was left with what the tribe had created. For Roybal, creating the stage for the Universitys production proved to be a rather large undertaking, but fully worth the effort. He says, We had to be conscious of the audience members all around the stage, but, more importantly, We wanted the audience to see that the world on stage is in conflict with the world around it. By all accounts, they succeeded.
Students Receive ASIANetwork Freeman Grant
An undergraduate research team from Southwestern was recently awarded a Freeman Student Faculty Fellows grant from the ASIANetwork. The grant supports three weeks of research in Tokyo, Japan, during the summer of 2005. The recipients include Alisa Gaunder, assistant professor of political science, and five students: Chris Bailey, Tyson Berger, Sarah Morris, Lissa Terrel and Grace Webster. According to Gaunder, The project will deepen the students initial study of Japanese politics, allowing students to use firsthand experience to test theories of policy-making and leadership that they have learned about in class.
Students will examine the roles of prime ministers, party leaders, prominent female politicians and political activists, as well as Japans leadership role in the international arena. They will also interview academics, activists and politicians to help formulate conclusions regarding the types of leaders that influence Japans policy-making process.
This research opportunity will increase the students understanding of how Japans political system functions. Additionally, Southwesterns new Asian Studies program will benefit significantly from the opportunity to examine Japanese political leadership firsthand. Some participating students will submit research to scholarly journals and the Universitys Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Further information on this grant is available at: www.asianetwork.org/freeman/2005sff.html
First Annual Latina/o Heritage Symposium
Students organize exploration and celebration of Latina/o culture and identity
Southwesterns first annual Latina/o Heritage Symposium was held on March 4 and 5. The symposium featured keynote speakers Cordelia Candelaria and Maria Lugones. Southwestern faculty Alejandro de Acosta and Daniel Castro also delivered addresses during the course of the weekend. Issues tackled during the symposium ranged from drug prevention for youth to Tejanos vs. the Texas education system.
Each night culminated with a Latin American cultural event. Friday concluded with a lively performance from popular Latino performers Grupo Fantasma. Ballet Folklórico closed out the Heritage Symposium with a performance of Cuicoyan.
The goal of the Latina/o Heritage Symposium is to create a space at Southwestern University to foster meaningful dialogue through thought-provoking workshops on the construction of Latina/o identity. Students seemed to get what the organizers were trying to accomplish. Jackie Diaz, a student at Southwestern, said, It was really exciting to be learning about and discuss ideas, beliefs and attitudes that are uniquely Latina/o.
Southwestern students Isabel Casas, Benjamin Maldonado and Iliana Sosa were largely responsible for coordinating the symposium. Notes Sosa, I feel that by addressing issues such as Latina/o identity, immigration issues, the education system and other important topics, we can bridge the acute alienation that continues to stratify not only Latinos, but other cultures as well, from the rest of the dominant society.
President Schrum Joins Students and Faculty in International On-Line Conference
President Jake Schrum and Bill Powers, dean of the University of Texas School of Law, were featured speakers at the Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB) Second Annual Global Online Conference on Feb. 24-25, 2005. President Schrums address, entitled Developing Bright, Moral and Courageous People, discussed the need for and the role of liberal arts education in shaping business towards long-term, sustainable, globally responsible success.
The conference used the Internet as a medium to bring teachers, administrators, business leaders and social change agents from around the world together in a single virtual space. Prerecorded and continuously available audio and visual presentations allowed conference participants to engage talks at their leisure.
During the live chat sessions, participants were able to discuss content with presenters, as one would during a round-table discussion at a traditional conference. The conference brought in participants from over 30 countries.
Mary Grace Neville, assistant professor of economics and business, says, Our objective was to significantly broaden our reach beyond the U.S. networks in which the BAWB project is already linked. One direct benefit to Southwestern is increasing the number of potential Global Pen Pals, business leaders and academics of non-American culture and ethnicity who are willing to be available for SU students learning about business cultures beyond our own. Neville coordinated the Universitys involvement with the BAWB.