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Campus Conversation on a Campus-Wide Theme (Archived Page)

The Theme for 2008-2009: The Economy, Consumerism, and Debt

This theme is intentionally broad. Campus individuals and groups are free to adopt the theme in 2008-2009, or to go on as they always have, making no reference to the theme. The idea is to provide an invitation and an opportunity for interested groups and individuals to work around a common intellectual focal point. The 2008-2009 Freshman Common Reading--Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America--is one obvious target for the theme; so too is that book's author, Barbara Ehrenreich, who will be the keynote speaker at this year's Freshman Convocation (Thursday 4 September 2008 at 6 p.m. on the Oviatt Lawn). But this topic (like its short-lived predecessor, "Your Voice Counts") also links readily to the presidential election and to everything we do on this increasingly cash-strapped campus. If the theme works as intended, there should be a further very long list of related events, groups, lectures, presentations, and performances.

There are some clear advantages to sharing a campus-wide theme.  For example, participating students can build on knowledge gained at early fall events as they attend later ones; publicity for any single element will be magnified through its attachment to the other elements; and separate budgets could even be combined to enable the campus to sponsor events and speakers that might otherwise be beyond our financial reach.


Theme Home Pages at Selected Campuses (as of 2008)


Some Sample Themes

  1. Sustainable Communities (Indiana University South Bend)
  2. Diversity and Dialogue (Indiana University South Bend)
  3. Dissent in a Free Society (Utica College)
  4. Ethical Leadership (Meredith College)
  5. The Water Planet (Texas State)
  6. Protest & Dissent (Texas State 2006-2007)
  7. Courage (Texas State 2005-2006)
  8. Religion, Culture, and Identity (The College of New Jersey)
  9. Water (Susquehanna University)
  10. Memory (Susquehanna University theme for 2008-2009)
  11. Religion in the Public Square (Susquehanna University theme for 2004-2005)
  12. Latin American Mosaic: Nations and Cultures / Mosaico Latinoamericano: Naciones y Culturas(Susquehanna University theme for 2005-2006)
  13. Why Are We Here? (North Dakota)
  14. The Theory and Practice of Citizenship: from the Local to the Global (University of Michigan)
  15. And in addition, these: HIV/AIDS; Diversity; String Theory; Liberal Arts in Times of War; Explore Evolution.
  16. Your Voice Counts
  17. Decades
  18. Time
  19. China
  20. Technology
  21. Walls
  22. The Responsibility of Freedom


Other Approaches

  1. The theme at San Jose State rotates year by year through its list of campus values: Learning; Student Success; Excellence; Integrity; Diversity; & Community.
  2. Green Campus Program : we could ally our campus with a larger initiative like this one, which currently serves twelve University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) campuses.
  3. Overview: “Thematic Developments” by Rob Capriccioso. Inside Higher Education. 8 Sep 2006. Online.