Belmont University hosts its 12th annual Humanities Symposium next week, featuring authors, poets, researchers, philosophers and professors from across the country.
Centered on the theme “Encountering Otherness,” the Belmont 2013 Humanities Symposium will occur Sept. 22 through 30 and parallels the 2013-14 University theme of “Through the Eyes of Others.” The Humanities Symposium seeks to stimulate intellectual conversation through its 31 events, which together will engage in a week-long conversation designed to increase interactions with different cultures, religions, political views and historical understandings to dislodge the default view and open students to broader understanding.
“We have scheduled what might be the most diverse group of speakers we’ve ever had for the 2013 Humanities Symposium, so we are very excited to share the work of our presenters with the Belmont community. We are proud of the fact that we have developed such a wide variety of events as well,” said Associate Professor of English Cynthia Cox, who is chairing the symposium. “In addition to many panels and lectures, this year’s symposium offers two writing workshops, an art exhibit showcasing the paintings of Belmont staff member Tam Mai, a Teaching Center luncheon, an open discussion of relevant philosophical questions, and a day of community service projects coordinated by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Service Learning.”
Among the notable events are a 90-minute poetry reading by CantoMundo Fellow Eduardo C. Corral, a session on using networking opportunities to learn with Peabody College’s Dr. Kevin Leander, a lecture on race by Duquesne University’s Dr. George Yancy, a lecture on using empathy to understand others with Ohio State University’s Dr. Amy Shuman, a talk about Native American history and spirituality with University of Denver Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health Research Office Director CeCe Big Crow and a discussion on illegal immigration with Vanderbilt University’s Dr. Robert Barsky. All events are free and open to the public. For more information and to view the full program of events, visit www.belmont.edu/cas/humanities_symposium.
This year the Humanities Symposium also includes six community service projects across Nashville for approximately 120 Belmont students, faculty and staff to practice the theme of encountering otherness from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 28. Opportunities include working at building fences for outdoor dogs through Music City Hounds Unbound, creating crafts and playing board games with senior citizens at Morningside of Belmont Assisted Living and gardening with homeless women at the Women’s Center of Nashville Rescue Mission.
Following an inspirational message from State Rep. Brenda Gilmore and charge to serve their new hometown from Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, Belmont’s Class of 2017 along with new graduate and transfer students volunteered throughout Nashville through the University’s annual SERVE Project on Monday afternoon.
“There’s a lot of work to be done in our community,” Fisher said. “I am grateful for a city like Nashville that gives us so many opportunities to serve,” Fisher told the 1,800 students before they departed campus for several Metro Beautification sites, five Metro Nashville Public Schools and 16 non-profit organizations, including the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm and Bridges for Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
An annual “Welcome Week” tradition for more than a decade, SERVE provides a perfect tie-in to Belmont’s ongoing commitment to engage students in their community and encourage the values of service on both a local and global level.
At a West Nashville home, 50 Belmont students helped nonprofit organization Music City Hounds Unbound install a fence for Baby, a 2-year-old pit bull, who has lived most of his life chained to a tree.
“The big thing about service is it is all about love. You don’t really know who needs to be shown love, but when you think about it, everyone needs love,” said Fia Binford, a freshman from Hudson, Ohio, while petting the dog.
Music City Hounds Unbound Director Amy Brown said, “It’s difficult to find a large group of volunteers especially that are capable of putting a fence up. (SERVE) enhances the volunteer experience because they get to see Baby get off the chain. It usually takes our group several weekends to complete a fence project.”
The new classmates also covered the mostly dirt back yard with hay, assembled an insulated dog house and shared toys and treats with Baby, providing a project and services worth $3,000 to the dog’s owner, Brown said.
Sophomore Neal Buckley, a Towering Traditions orientation leader, added, “This is all about team work and making new friends. This project is all about working together and requires communicating and connecting. It’s great for freshmen to let the community know that Belmont is here for them. We are here to learn and grow but also here to serve others.”
At other sites across the city, the new students packed food, toiletries and cleaning supplies for needy families, cleaned facilities, removed graffiti, painted walls and gardened vegetables, among other community service projects.
“SERVE Day is a very important day for Belmont and our students. It sets the tone for our new students because it helps them know that being a part of Belmont means to serve,” said Director of Service-Learning Tim Stewart. “In addition to learning about places in the community where they can volunteer, many of the students will see these agencies again as they engage in service-learning courses during their time at Belmont.”
Belmont held its annual Family Literacy Day at Rose Park on April 6. Nearly 200 volunteers came together for a total of 596 service hours in order to make the day a success.
Book’em, one of the event’s 19 sponsors, donated 500 books and packets of parent resource literature. Children had the opportunity to select a certain number of books based on their participation in day’s events.
Inside of the Easley Community Center, snacks and crafts were available for the children. There, participants were also able to register and receive a gift bag which included a free book. Resources were parents were also available.
Outdoors, on the softball field, the children were able to participate in games and reading circles. In the reading circles, students read to children and also encouraged the children to read to them. Each child was awarded one sticker for every circle they participated in and was able to redeem his stickers for up to two more books. Each of the 25 reading circles was unique with its own theme, which included dragons, princesses, and Dr. Seuss.
The event also included a raffle and an award ceremony. Prior to the event, elementary school students from local area schools were encouraged to participate in Family Literacy Day’s 4th Annual poetry contest. The submitted poems were judged by the English Club and faculty, which select the top five. Each of the finalists worked with local songwriters to write and record a song based on their poem. The songs are then played on Family Literacy Day, and a final winner was selected through participant voting.
Over 150 children and parents, participated in the event. They were encouraged to continue reading outside of school, in order to foster stronger learning and relationships.
The Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education today announced Belmont University is among the nation’s leading colleges, universities, students, faculty and staff for its commitment to bettering Nashville through service.
Belmont University was admitted to the Honor Roll with Distinction for its students’ and employees’ support of volunteering, service learning and civic engagement.
“Being recognized now on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for a third consecutive time now is very affirming of the great work that so many folks at Belmont are doing with the community. The honor recognizes not only the breadth of our work, but the depth of it, and the fact that we’ve sustained our efforts over a number of years,” said Belmont University Director of Service-Learning Tim Stewart.
A total of 690 higher education institutions were named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Belmont is among the 113 institutions that earned the recognition of Honor Roll with Distinction.
Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, CNCS has administered the award since 2006.
“Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a news release. “Civic engagement should be a key component of every student’s education experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens.”
More information on eligibility and the full list of Honor Roll awardees, can be found at nationalservice.gov.
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll honors the nation’s leading higher education institutions and their students, faculty and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through service. These are institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. Through the agency’s Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Matching Program, CNCS gives education institutions access to tens of thousands of AmeriCorps alumni with millions of dollars in Segal Education Awards for tuitions and fees. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.
Ranked No. 7 in the Regional Universities South category and named for the fifth consecutive year as one of the top “Up-and-Comer” universities by U.S. News & World Report, Belmont University consists of approximately 6,650 students who come from every state and 25 countries. Committed to being a leader among teaching universities, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. The university’s purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs, a fact made evident in the University’s hometown, Nashville, where students served more than 60,000 hours of community service (valued at $450,000) during the last academic year. Belmont is also home to the World Cup champion Enactus team, a group of 42 student leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world. With more than 80 areas of study, 23 master’s programs and five doctoral degrees, there is no limit to the ways Belmont University can expand an individual’s horizon. For more information, visit www.belmont.edu.
Belmont, Lipscomb, TSU students join together for MLK Day of Service on Jan. 19
In celebration of the Jan. 15 anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth date, Belmont University will hold a week of special events. The University’s theme for 2013 is A Stone of Hope as a reflection on King’s lyric “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope,” from his “I Have A Dream” speech. The University’s commitment to Martin Luther King Jr. Week through classroom and special events began in 1997 and continues to grow today.
“A dynamic interplay between head and heart has always been central to the black homiletic tradition that Dr. King brought with him into the public square, so we hope that this year’s events at Belmont will reflect the best of this tradition, with an aim toward realizing the beloved community at least in our own small way. We know how hard this work can be and how ephemeral our gains can sometimes appear, so in the spirit of Dr. King’s brand of prophetic Christianity we chose a theme we thought appropriate for a Christian community of learning and service, namely ‘A Stone of Hope,’” said Peter Kuryla, assistant professor of history and chairman of Belmont’s 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee.