Wellesley Wednesdays reinstated to encourage “community building”
Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Updated: Thursday, September 30, 2010 19:09
A lecture series called Wellesley Wednesdays has been initiated, uniting the student body and faculty in the quest for sharing and learning knowledge. These lectures are held weekly during community time, and can highlight anything from a musical or theatrical performance, to a political lecture or even an art exhibit. Special guests will be invited from both within and beyond the campus to share and showcase their expertise with the Wellesley College community.
College President H. Kim Bottomly spoke of the importance of continuing education beyond the classroom. Thus, when she was approached with a suggestion from the academic planning committee, to create Wellesley Wednesdays, she believed it to be "an excellent recommendation," allowing community time to be used to its full potential and simultaneously enhance the college intellectual life.
In previous years, there has been a wide variety of smaller lecture events with varied successes in audience membership, resulting in limited awareness.
But this year, the purpose of Wellesley Wednesdays is to establish a set number of officially endorsed events that will draw widespread viewer appeal and create opportunities for the entire college to convene regularly as an academic community.
Wellesley Wednesdays are more than just an opportunity to expand learning and thought. It also is a time to assemble together beyond busy lives in order to maintain a strong sense of school-wide unity.
"Wellesley community time is usually taken over by meetings for on-campus organizations and time for students to catch up on homework," Melda Salhab '13 said. "But if Wellesley Wednesdays are implemented over an extended period of time and advocated well, they should help foster the original purpose of community time to a certain degree and provide opportunities for students with similar interests to come together."
Salhab also believes Wellesley Wednesdays will allow students to explore different fields of interest beyond their majors.
The theme of this year's lecture series is "Walls," established by the Committee on Lectures and Cultural Events (CLCE), which invites the student body to explore different forms of walls in the world. CLCE summarizes the theme of Walls to take the form of not only bricks and mortar, but also more figurative motifs such as ethical laws, trade barriers, cultures, and national boundaries. In a summary of the theme, CLCE explains that after the collapse of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago, the world has witnessed intense globalization and the resurrection of other walls that have defined and divided the world.
The lecture series will kick off on Sept. 29 with "Breaking Walls," presented by Carlo Ratti, an Associate Professor of the Urban Studies and Planning Department at MIT, Director of the SENSEable City Laboratory, and practicing architect. Professor Ratti is known for his design of a pavilion with walls featuring "digital water," which was chosen by Time as one of the Best Inventions of 2007.
Professor Ratti will be speaking on the uses of transparent materials in architectural design, thus exploring the idea of "breaking walls" by making them transparent. The event will take place in Collins Cinema at the Davis Museum, with a light lunch served at 12:00 p.m., before Professor Ratti's presentation at 12:30 p.m.
The next Wellesley Wednesday lecture, Oct. 13, will be "Calculated Risks: Walls in and out of the Museum," a painting and photograph installation portraying the walls of European museums.
Future Wellesley Wednesday events include a lecture on Nov. 10 by Micki Mcelya regarding the Arlington National Cemetery's War on Terror and another lecture on Dec. 1 by Deborah Klimburg-Salter revealing an eyewitness report on the situation in Afghanistan.
"In my convocation speech of 2008, I talked about ways to enrich and maintain our intellectual community. This year I talked about maintaining our special liberal arts community characterized by the love of learning. Wellesley Wednesdays are an example of exactly that type of community building," President Bottomly said.