Provost’s Colloquium Returns to Campus: Spotlight on Students’ and Faculty’s Trips Abroad

Dr. Nancy VanArsdale and Dr. Annie Mendoza in Cuba this past summer. Photo Courtesy/ Nancy VanArsdale

Levi Jiorle

Contributing Writer

ESU students are learning far beyond the classroom. In fact, they’re learning in different countries, thousands of miles away.

The upcoming Provost’s Colloquium will be showcasing the trips that students and professors took to China and Cuba. The colloquium will take place on Sept. 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., in the Beers Lecture Hall.

Professor Tim Connolly, Professor Nancy VanArsdale and Professor Annie Mendoza will be presenting the social and academic experiences they gained from these trips.

Their experiences range from the political to the philosophical, and everything else in between.

VanArsdale said that while the trip to China has been a regular event for the university, the trip to Cuba was something new and interesting.

“I proposed the idea that we should really do something focused on campus without boundaries, how our students, even at the end of the semester, are eager to learn, go to other countries, and I think this is particularly an appropriate panel for right now, because we’re talking about two communist countries in real transition,” said VanArsdale.

The trips were still carefree and fun, but they highlighted the political contrast between the United States and Cuba.

Connolly took the trip to China to have a dialogue with the native scholars, being that Chinese philosophy is his major interest of study.  He has written a book called ‘Doing Philosophy Comparatively’ that analyzes different philosophies throughout the world.

He elaborated about the concept of a campus without boundaries, how the concept of a “university” isn’t confined to just classrooms.

It is a metaphor for the free space we all share to discuss ideas without constraint: “America is a nation; China is a nation,” Connolly said. “The university is also kind of its own little entity that is bigger than any nation. It’s bigger than America, it’s bigger than China. It’s a shared space that we all have to talk about ideas. It’s a very ancient institution that we participate in.”

Tom Leeds, an ESU student who went on the China trip, said, “The best part of the trip was how generous and friendly the Chinese were to us. I made some good friends over delicious food and at beautiful sites.”

He along with the rest of the travelers visited the Forbidden City and the White Horse Temple.

They also visited the first Buddhist temple in China, located in Beijing. It was established in 68 A.D.

Both VanArsdale and Connolly commented on the camaraderie felt between the students and professors on these trips.

VanArsdale, in particular, mentioned that the students felt more comfortable traveling in groups rather than going to a foreign country all alone. Connolly and VanArsdale elaborated on the overall goal of the Provost’s Colloquium Series as a whole.

“This gives me a chance to go over there with students, show them directly what I’m talking about,” Connolly said. “When I was there, I gave a research talk at one of the universities we visited.”

“It’s always great at a university when we bring people together,” said VanArsdale.

Lectures, colloquiums and other experiences beyond the classroom can enrich the bond that faculty, staff and students feel with being part of the ESU community.

“The colloquiums are a great learning experience. I’m really happy that they were brought back for this school year. It’s neat to have an open discussion that students and professors can partake in,” said junior Adam Lambert.

Provost Jo Bruno created the colloquium series. In addition to the Campus Without Boundaries, there will be five other colloquiums that students will be able to attend.

Understanding and Preventing Suicide is the series that follows Campus Without Boundaries. It will be presented by Anthony Drago on Sept. 27th.

After that will be a colloquium on International Trade Conventions and Deglobalization in the U.S., presented by Christopher Warburton on October 11th.

Then it will be The Future of Genome Editing, presented by Timothy Connolly and Maria Kitchen-Kintz on October 25th.

James Hunt will present Exploring the Effects of Climate Change on our Oceans on Nov. 8th.

Lastly, Jonathon Weber will finish off the series with Living and Working in Antarctica on Nov. 29th.

They will all be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., located in the Beers Lecture Hall.

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