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Water Works to be cross-college theme for academic year

Numerous speakers, panels, activities, exhibitions and films are scheduled throughout the academic year as part of Water Works, a campus-wide focus on water coordinated by the Office of the Dean of the Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts and Humanities. All of the events are free and open to the public. This is the first year anything like this has taken place.

Michael Vaughan, university provost, said the intent is to get the entire campus focused on a common theme. The idea is that this will help to facilitate discussions that cut across disciplinary boundaries.

“We’ve got people coming that are political scientists, people that are visual artists, people that are geoscientists,” said Vaughan, demonstrating how varied the areas of intellectual discourse will be. “We’re touching on numerous disciplines over the course of the year.”

Madonne Miner, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, elaborated.

“Education takes place in a lot of different areas,” she said. “It can take place in classrooms, but it also takes place in these kinds of outside-the-classroom discussions and exhibitions. I really hope that students, faculty, staff and community members will take advantage of these great opportunities to hear very well-informed people speak and lead discussions.”

As part of Water Works, photographs by Rosalie Winard are currently being featured and can be viewed in the walkway between the Shepherd Union Building and the Student Services Building.

Diane Stern, director of Cultural Affairs for Weber State University, explained some of the background of the cross-college theme. According to Stern, Water Works got its start as the result of a discussion about bringing in an author to speak on water use and degradation. At this point, Vaughan said he believes it’s more beneficial to have multiple events on a common theme, and so he suggested doing a series of events instead of just having the one author.

Water Works continues to grow. Stern said it continues to add events as more people come forward and express interest in participating.

“I know that interesting things are going to be added as we go forward, because as it gains a little visibility, people say, ‘Wait, I want to play too. I have something to say.’”

Water was chosen as the theme because of its importance and the versatile aspects under which it’s studied and depicted.

“It can be viewed from so many different aspects, from chemistry and health issues, from artistic angles, from the politics of water,” Stern said.

Citing Utah’s climate, Miner added, “Especially for our area, it’s a perfect topic.”

Though this is its first year, those involved expect that having a campus-wide focus will become an annual event.

“I think that, so far, the level of interest has been so high and the number of participating units has been so large that I hope we can continue next year again to select a theme, get people involved, set up a series that will continue to spark people’s mental bulbs,” Miner said.

Anyone interested is encouraged to visit the Water Works website for the full schedule, more information and updates as new events are scheduled. The website can be found at

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