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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

April 5, 2012
Danny Frank | First Year Experience Program | 218 726-6278 | 
Lisa Rigoni Reeves | Knowledge Management Center | 218 726-7701 | 
Cheryl Reitan | Assoc. Director of External Affairs |  218 726-8996 |


UMD offers an eight-day series of lectures and discussions, as well as a day of displays and music, followed by an impressive line-up of Indie, rap and experimental music in Romano Gym. The events stretch from April 14-21 and address the question, "What is America?" As a continuation of UMD's year-long initiative which asks all of UMD's community to answer "How Did You Come to be Here?", these events explore a collective story through the many social, cultural, and intellectual lenses in the community.

The events include:

April 14
Proud Prom (Related Event)
8:00-11:00 pm, Rafters
Drag Ball theme (any attire is welcome)

April 16
Mickey Mouse Monopoly (Related Event)
Unfair Campaign event
12:00-1:00 pm, Griggs

Changing Awareness of Diversity One Card Game at a Time
Dr. Joan Kwako, Education Department
2:00-3:30 pm, Solon Campus Center 21
In this interactive workshop, participants will play a card game that simulates what it feels like to live in a different culture. Through playing the game and debriefing afterwards, participants will consider how not understanding another culture can make one feel as though they are an "other." One of the goals is to leave with an understanding of what others might tolerate when they are not part of the majority culture.

The American Cosmopolitan
John Schwetman, Associate Professor English Department
4:00-5:30 pm, Griggs Center, adjoins Kirby Student Center
What is your hometown and how does it define you? This session begins with a consideration of American literature and its engagement with questions about our attachment to particular places. In small groups, participants will examine each individual's degree of attachment to place and, from that, generate an extensive discussion about how attachment to and detachment from particular places influence our opinions about present-day political questions.

America: The story of immigration
Dr. Nan Li, Foreign Language Department and guests
4:00-5:30 pm, Griggs Board Room, adjoins Kirby Student Center
This will be a round-table discussion forum, beginning with a presentation accounting the history of the United States as a country of immigration. After the presentation, there will be time for Q&A and discussion about issues surrounding this topic.

John & Erika Speak: Life, Love, and Autism
Erika Hammerschmidt and John Ricker
7:00 - 8:30 pm. Kirby Ballroom
John and Erika are a married couple living in Minneapolis, MN. Erika was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and Tourette's Syndrome at age 11. John was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at age 24. John and Erika speak on many topics including their childhood and education; what it feels like to be on the autism spectrum; the science of autism; their relationship.

April 17
How Did You Come to be Here? Project Showcase
Multicultural Center
A showcase of projects inspired by the How Did You Come to be Here? theme at UMD will be on display from Tuesday, April 17 - Friday April 20 as part of the What is America? lecture series. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit this exhibit to see the multiple expressions of this place as "home."

Imagining America
Dr. Steve Matthews, History Department
2:00-3:30 pm, Montague 70
What is "America?" The answer to this question was not as straightforward in the period of European "discovery" as standard history textbooks might suggest. Current definitions are built upon a conflicted past which must be understood in context if we are to properly understand "America" as it developed historically. America is an invention of the mind, a process which continues to this day.

America That We Know: Underrepresented Perspectives
Ahmed Heikal, Associate Professor Chemistry & Biochemistry Department
4:00-5:30 pm Griggs Center, adjoins Kirby Student Center
This workshop will highlight diverse perspectives and experiences of members from under-represented groups at UMD. The workshop will include presentations, panel discussion, and open questions from the audience. Selected members (students, staff and faculty) from under-represented groups will discuss their views of experiences in America and how their perspective have evolved with time. This workshop will highlight shared experiences as they relate to UMD's Strategic Plan.

Living in Two Americas
6:00-7:30 pm Griggs Center, adjoins Kirby Student Center
Dr. Anton Treuer, (pronounced troy-er) is a noted Ojibwe scholar and Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University. Using insightful frankness and a touch of humor, Dr. Treuer tackles today's controversial topics, covering them with openness and sensitivity. Issues of sovereignty and the running of casinos, land management, poverty, unemployment, drug abuse and more are all addressed in his writings.

Treuer has a B.A. from Princeton University, M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language and author of nine books: Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, Ojibwe in Minnesota ("Minnesota's Best Read for 2010" by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress), The Assassination of Hole in the Day, Ezhichigeyang: Ojibwe Word List, Indian Nations of North America, Awesiinyensag: Dibaajimowinan Ji-gikinoo'amaageng ("Minnesota's Best Read for 2011" by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress), Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales & Oral Histories, Aaniin Ekidong: Ojibwe Vocabulary Project, and Omaa Akiing. He has received more than 40 prestigious awards and fellowships from many organizations, including the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Sponsored by the Vice Chancellor for Student Life. Dr. Lisa Erwin, Vice Chancellor for Student Life, will present the introduction.

Film: Weapons of Spirit (Related Event)
7:30-9:30 pm, Bohannon Hall 90
Sponsored by Baeumler Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration Committee and the Alworth Institute.

April 18
How Did You Come to be Here? Project Showcase
Multicultural Center.
See April 17 description.

White Privilege 101 (Related Event)
10:00-11:00 am, Griggs Center, adjoins Kirby Student Center
Doug Bailey Bowen, Ricky DeFoe, Xavier Bell. Sponsored by Diversity Commission.

Where do we go from here? (Related Event)
11:00-12:00 am, Griggs Center, adjoins Kirby Student Center
Doug Bailey Bowen, Ricky DeFoe. Sponsored by Diversity Commission.

Faces of Earth: Cultural Portraits
Alison Aune, Fatih Benzer & Joellyn Rock, Art Department
2:00-3:30 pm, Griggs Center, adjoins Kirby Student Center
Inspired by the Fall 2011 How We Came to be Here and Land of Plenty performances, art students and faculty have created cultural portraits and art curriculum for area children and youth. This workshop will include a slide lecture of portraits created, followed by a guided workshop to create individual mixed media cultural portraits.

What is America? What does that mean to me? Freedom of Thinking
Jiyoon Yoon, Associate Professor, Education Department
2:00-3:30 pm, 42 Solon Campus Center
Jiyoon Yoon shares her challenging journey before she decided to get married to her husband. The freedom of thinking she learned from America enabled her to overcome all the prejudice and stubborn ideas. The audience will go through song-writing, dancing, movie-watching, and problem-solving with my story of challenging journey.

Homeless in America
Steve O'Neil and Cherize Payton
4:00-5:30 pm, Garden Room, Kirby Student Center
Steve O'Neil and Cherize Payton present an interactive discussion of homelessness, affordable housing and poverty, causes and solutions. Payton is a mother who was formerly homeless and is now an advocate for those in poverty and homelessness. O'Neil is a St. Louis County Commissioner and long time community organizer on housing and homeless issues.

Film: Innocent Voices (Related Event)
5:30-7:00 pm, Kirby Lounge
Sponsored by Latino Chicano Student Program & Latino Chicano Student Association.

April 19
How Did You Come to be Here? Project Showcase
Multicultural Center
See April 17 description.

La Frontera: Walls, Rights and the State in a Post 9/11 Era
Susana Pelayo Woodward
2:00-3:30 pm, 42 Solon Campus Center
This session will look at the US/Mexican border through the lens of Chicano/Mexican writers and artists on both sides of the border. The growing militarization and politicization of the border in recent years has brought racial tension and violence affecting families, communities, and indigenous tribes.

Discussion: Religious Institutes Responses to the Holocaust
(Related Event)
4:30-6:30 pm, Weber Music Hall
Co-sponsored by the Baeumler-Kaplan Holocaust Commemoration Committee and the Royal D. Alworth Jr. Institute for International Studies.

April 20
How Did You Come to be Here? Project Showcase
Multicultural Center
See April 17 description.

Eclectic Performances
11:00 am - 3:00 pm, Kirby Plaza BusHub.
A musical, theatrical, and engaging experience. This event features an Acoustic Pop artist "Preston Gunderson", Rap Artist "Cashmere Bourne", "UMD BSA Dance Group", Spoken word artists "Suicide minds", a short play by Edwin Nganji "Bitter tears", Local and international band "2one8", UMD's own "FSP" (Funk Soul Patrol), and other diverse artists.

April 21
UMD Big Spring Concert 2012- "NXMW"
Romano Gymnasium, Sports and Health Center
presented by Kirby Program Board and The Basement
Doors open at 6:00 pm and the show starts at 6:30 pm. No bags/purses, water bottles, or weapons.
Student tickets: $5, General admission tickets: $10
Tickets are available at the Kirby Information Desk, The Electric Fetus, and online ( American rapper, singer and multi-instrumentalist P.O.S., psychedelic R&B band Polica, singer-songwriter Haley Bonar, and the live rap/hip hop band Heiruspecs. This concert is a collaboration of some of the best music that Minnesota has to offer.

For more information about the events, contact Danny Frank, 218-726-6278 or Lisa Rigoni Reeves, 218-726-7701.

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