Friday, October 27, 2006

Ethikos Bloggers Wanted / Introduction

When I came back to college in my late 40's my second semester was interrupted by the world-view shattering events of 9.11. The very next semester I enrolled in a class that I hoped would shed some light into the dynamics of the world I had come to find myself in suddenly. It was called "Islam and the West" taught by Dr's Brad Cook and David R. Keller. I had only vauge notions of the history of Islam, and was interested in grasping the world stage before events erupted in Manhattan as it related to the players.

The class happened to be an introduction to the Integrated Studies major, and that's how I came to choose it as my major. Not only did that class whet my appetite for knowledge of the world of Islam, but it also introduced me to the myriad of events that were sponsored and coordinated by the Center for the Study of Ethics. David Keller, as its Director, passed around flyers for the various events and offered extra-credit for "response papers" if one attended. That year I attended a facinating seminar on Postmodernism, presentations that gave insight into religious supersessionism and many others. One thing that surprised me was how few students and community members even knew about these events let alone attended them. I mean, they brought the Dalai Lama right here to Utah Valley State College and and I never knew!

One of the greatest times for discussion on campus occurred when the culture war clash of Michael Moore and Sean Hannity came to campus and the Ethics Center hosted a community/faculty/student/administration panel discussion. Despite some of the buffoonery that ensued, it provoked an amazing amount of discussion and lots of mind/soul searching.

The thing is, with less attention, the Ethics Center sponsors events all the time that have the potential to open all sorts of portals into what is going on in the world -- and it's all free and open to the public! Over the past years the Ethics Center has provided a forum for both well-known people like George McGovern, Ralph Nader, Orrin Hatch, Tensin Gyatso, and Sister Helen Prejean as well as the long list of academic and intellectual luminaries like Omar Kader (speaking just yesterday on Iran, how it became a player in the New Middle East and how the U.S. is likely going to engage it), Sandra Steingraber, David Rothenberg, and Baird Calicott to name a few. And then there are all the informed presentations that mine UVSC's own faculty taking advantage of their particular specialty and insight.

So those are a few of the reasons I jumped on the possibility of working for the Ethics Center. I get paid to coordinate and attend these events now. It's like being paid to play. Which brings me to the help wanted section of this introduction. We're interested in paying a stipend of ten dollars to any UVSC student that attends one of these events and writes a "blog response" that we publish. We're also interested in publishing (without the stipend) responses from faculty and adjunct instructors, staff members, administrators and members of the community that attend and respond to these events.

If you're interested in participating, contact me at:

Don LaVange
Executive Program Coordinator
UVSC's Center for the Study of Ethics

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