Water is the basis of life on planet Earth, but from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Circle and beyond, many major waterways and water supplies are threatened by drought, pollution and population growth. Thursday, April 10, PLU and the greater community are invited to view MediaLab’s newest documentary Tapped Out: Unearthing the Global Water Crisis, in the Karen Hille Phillips Center for Performing Arts Studio Theater at 7 p.m.
Focusing on water-related issues across North America, the film investigates how pressures on water, including drought, floods, population growth, and pollution, are resulting in new and innovative thinking. From Canada to Texas, and from Washington, D.C. to the Gulf of Mexico, the team discovered stories of drought, water mismanagement, and water scarcity in unexpected places.
Kortney Scroger ‘14, a PLU senior communication major who served as the film’s chief videographer and editor, said while the news media almost exclusively report about water scarcity in developing parts of the world, Tapped Out uncovers serious water challenges in North America.
“It’s an attempt to communicate the current status of water and how the developed nations aren’t as prepared as we think that they are,” Scroger said. “We don’t have as much water as we think we do.”
During research and production of the film, the students conducted dozens of interviews, meeting with citizens, farmers, activists, officials from the United Nations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and representatives of many other public and private organizations.
Scroger, along with documentary teammates: senior communication major Katherine Baumann ‘14, senior business major Haley Huntington ‘14, and junior Valery Jorgensen ‘15, a communication major, studied water-related topics for more than a year. After the April 10 showing, a panel consisting of documentary team members will discuss challenges and what new and innovated thinking that has come from this crisis.
The documentary has won several awards since its public debut in October. Most recently, the film won a 2014 Grand Prize Award from the National Broadcasting Society-Alpha Epsilon. In addition, it has won in the Video Documentary category at the 51st Annual National Broadcasting Society Electronic Media Competition, received a 2014 Rising Star Award from the Canada International Film Festival and two Accolade Awards of Merit.
“My fellow filmmakers and I worked hard to make the documentary thought-provoking and influential. So it’s a great feeling to be acknowledged with such a prestigious national award,” said Huntington after receiving the National Broadcasting Award.
The April 10 showing is part of the 2014 SOAC Focus Series, which brings together SOAC’s talented students and faculty to examine the theme of “entrepreneurship" through a multi-disciplinary approach. The showing is free and open to the public.
At a liberal-arts college such as Pacific Lutheran University—where open dialogue is not just encouraged but expected—a healthy argument between students is a common occurrence. But no one crafts strategic arguments like the Lutes of PLU’s historic Speech and Debate team.
You could argue that PLU’s rich history of success in the arena of competitive debate is one of the university’s best-kept secrets: Debater Andrew Tinker ’16 describes debate, also referred to as forensics, as “the most competitive activity that no one has ever heard of.”
Fall 2013 proved an exciting time of successful transition for Speech and Debate, with the forensics squad facing some big changes: The team welcomed a new coach, Justin Eckstein, and raised membership to 22 debaters, many of whom are new to the activity.
“PLU has a really long tradition of being successful at debate. That has happened under many different coaches,” said senior debater Pam Barker ’14.
Barker and David Mooney ’14 are the only seniors on the team who have debated previously. A two-person team themselves, Barker and Mooney have moved into leadership positions in the PLU squad for their senior year.
“It’s been rewarding teaching our craft to a bunch of other people who are interested in it,” Mooney said.
For Barker, Mooney and Tinker, debate has played a major role in their lives through high school and college.
“I think it’s a great supplement to my academic work at PLU,” said Tinker.
Speech and Debate has given Tinker the opportunity to see new perspectives and debate styles, leading to an experience he can describe only as “mind-blowing.”
Barker also is happy she didn’t skip the Speech and Debate experience.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to do debate in college, but I’m really, really glad I did,” Barker said. “I’ve met some of my best friends doing debate.”
What has become particularly special to Barker, aside from her own personal experience with the program, is carrying on PLU’s legacy. Competitive debate has been an integral part of the university since it was founded in 1890. One of the oldest nationally competitive forensics programs in the country, PLU’s award-winning Speech and Debate program has a long history of championship speakers as well as a strong commitment to excellence in forensics competition.
In addition, Professor Michael D. Bartanen, chair of PLU’s Department of Communication & Theatre, has co-authored an authoritative new book that offers the first comprehensive history of American forensics, Forensics in America: A History.
Building upon this tradition, PLU Speech & Debate has had a very successful season. With a largely new team and a new coach, the team’s success is not so surprising considering the amount of work members put into honing their craft.
Tinker, for example, is not only working on old skills; he is working on something new. He and his teammates developed a never-before-seen strategy of debate, which debuted in January 2014 at the Mile High Swing Forensics Tournament in Salt Lake City.
“PLU did exceptionally in Salt Lake City, beating nationally competitive teams such as Whitman and local rivals such as Lewis & Clark,” Tinker said.
For students, forensics at PLU is not only intellectually stimulating; it’s fun. One particular highlight about Speech & Debate is the travel that comes with this academic sport.
“We get to go all over the country and all over the world,” Mooney said.
Because of the university’s debate history, travel expenses are covered for competing students from an endowed fund in the Communication program.
“It’s really nice to feel supported by my university,” Barker said. “When you’re competing for PLU all day, it’s great that the institution recognizes that.”
The team has competed at 11 tournaments so far this year. Barker and Mooney have made the elimination rounds of every tournament they attended with Barker receiving three speaker wards and Mooney recieving two.
PLU consistently does well at national tournaments and made it to the final rounds of the competition in the early 2000s.
“We’re hoping to be really competitive at Nationals this year,” Barker said.
See Dance 2014 this Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12. The annual show is a repertory concert comprised of dances created by eight PLU student choreographers, PLU’s Dance Team, and two works choreographed by Dance 2014 Director Paula J. Peters, and Guest Choreographer Mary Reardon. The show opens in Eastvold Auditorium in the new Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m.
The variety of choreographic works feature upbeat rhythms, strong and succinct movements, and elegant sophistication revealed through serious and comical pieces.
Students have been preparing since mid-February. Usually choreographers have two-hour rehearsals, once a week. The rehearsal process varies from choreographer to choreographer. Some works are inspired by the music, which then inspires a concept that the choreographer wants to communicate through movement. Some works are inspired by books, an experience in the choreographer’s life, or social issues.
“Creating choreography takes great courage on the part of the choreographer, because it is a publication of their ideas for all to critique,” Peters said. “Dancing in front of an audience requires personal fortitude, because dance is an ephemeral art form. You only get the moment. There is no ‘delete’ or ‘revise’ during live performance.”
Peters says her rehearsal process is eclectic and collaborative.
“I like to have a plan, but I like to also completely let that plan go once I enter the studio if something interesting emerges out of the rehearsal process,” Peters said. “This, at times, can seem random to the dancers, so they have to have an immense amount of trust that something more concrete will evolve.”
Peters has been choreographing professionally for 10 years and is on faculty at Dance Fremont, Cornish College of the Arts, Cornish Preparatory Dance and the University of Washington. Her choreography gravitates towards the portrayal of the human experience, which was the inspiration for her Dance 2014 work Confine(less).
“I am fascinated by people and the contexts of their lives,” Peters said. “This way, the audience can connect to the dances since all people have the universal experience of being human.”
PLU student Mamie Howard is the choreographer of a piece titled The Submission, which examines Islamaphobia. The piece was inspired by her passion for social justice and a book of the same name by Amy Waldman. Howard had to continuously review the novel and sketch out the story in order to create choreography.
“Dance Ensemble always has something to offer especially when you have a range of pieces from culture to social justice, etc.,” Howard said. “When thinking in the context of The Submission, I think people should come to get a taste of art that is thought provoking. It's kind of like going to a really good documentary and walking away thinking ‘what can I do to help?’.”
Tickets are $8 General Admission, $5 Senior Citizens and Alumni, $3 PLU Community, Students and 18 and under.
Tickets are available at the Concierge Desk in the Anderson University Center, 253-535-7411 [credit/debit/cash), and can be purchased at the door before the show [cash only].
ART IS THIS, the 2014 Senior Exhibition at Pacific Lutheran University, will begin with an opening reception on Wednesday, April 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in PLU’s University Gallery. It is featured as the last event in the 2014 SOAC Focus Series on Entrepreneurship.
Visitors will see a wide variety of media from graduating artists in the Department of Art and Design. Works will range from ceramics and sculpture to print work and photography. Due to the wide variety of work, finding a theme or title to rally around was difficult for students. The title ART IS THIS was their common ground.
“It made sense to come up with something that would allow us to encapsulate everyone's belief, therefore leaving it a little more open-ended allowing each senior to fill in their ART IS ____ word,” Hannah Kreutz ‘14, submitting artist, said. “It is also a great way to communicate to the viewers that art can be what you make it, one senior's piece may speak more to an individual than another and that's okay.”
This exhibition is unique in that it is completely student driven from the advertising and catering, to the exhibit installation; the unique entrepreneurial nature lends itself well to this year’s SOAC Focus Series theme.
“I’ve been told that, ‘if the art is good, people will come’ and I choose to take that with a grain of salt, because so much of being an artist today is not just about creating compelling work but marketing it and yourself in compelling ways too,” Sam Hosman ’14, a submitting artist said. “As artists we want to be recognized for our work, and we can’t do that if we’re not promoting ourselves.”
Peterson also believes entrepreneurship is an integral part of being an artist.
“To truly make it in the art world, you have to know how to represent yourself, defend your work as well as create opportunities for success,” Lauren Peterson ’14 said, who is submitting work to the show.
Peterson will be submitting prints, from the past year’s body of work. Hosman is working on a project that illustrates the history and towns in the Black Hills of South Dakota through various print materials and Kreutz is working on a family tree of sorts with wood silhouettes.
Awards are given to artists and announced at the opening reception on April 23. Awards are determined by Art and Design faculty and include first, second and third place along with a number of honorable mentions, if faculty see fit. The dean also gives an award, which is titled Dean’s Choice.
The exhibit will be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or by appointment) through May 26, 2014 at the University Gallery in Ingram Hall at Pacific Lutheran University. Admission is free and open to the public.
In the recently published Prophets, Gurus, and Pundits: Rhetorical Styles and Public Engagement, associate professor of communication Amy Young addresses the shortcomings in university academia, mainly that intellectuals are not encouraged, and in some ways, don’t know how, to become engaged in public dialogue.
“I’m trying to look at how people who are obviously very credentialed in some area of expertise manage to engage audiences that don’t necessarily know that much about their topic in a way that is accessible and exciting,” Young says.
Young explains that there are a lot of barriers to intellectuals contributing to the leadership of public and social movements.
“The idea of actually caring about writing for public audiences is seen as not serious and a bad use of your time. Because what you should be doing is writing for journals and writing books,” Young says. “Those things are important, because you should be in that conversation, but they should not be the only conversations you have.”
Young describes part of the problem lies in the tenure and promotion system at most universities, but PLU is an exception to the rule. PLU’s focus on service encourages faculty to engage in the public sphere as experts in their field.
“What they’re trying to do is...elevate service as a legitimate third pillar of tenure and promotion,” Young says. “So that teaching is important, research is important, service is important. That is true here. It is not true in a lot of places.”
Young believes the solution lies in the way we approach teaching future scholars.
“Our mechanisms for deliberations are really broken,” Young says. “We’re given a platform and we’re given cultural authority because of our expertise and we’re only using it with each other and not really to better our world or our local community.”
Young explains that it is difficult for scholars to get exposure for ideas in a larger sense, because they aren’t taught how to get their work in the public sphere. Young hopes her book will start a conversation about the way we approach higher education and tenure.
You can find Prophets, Gurus, and Pundits: Rhetorical Styles and Public Engagement on Amazon and in the PLU Library.
Making the Transition from College to Career
At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, please join MediaLab in the AUC Regency Room for the inaugural session of "MediaLab Presents," which will be a panel discussion focused on making the transition from college to career.
The event will feature six distinguished PLU alums, all media professionals, who will share experiences, tips and advice about how to compete and succeed in a constantly changing communication marketplace. Guests include:
Chelsea Gorrow Rob Ripley
Reporter at the Daily Astorian Junior Designer at Peekay Inc.
Astoria, OR Seattle, WA
Chris Bowen Bre' Greenman
Creative Manager at Radar Works Marketing Operations Manager at Nike
Seattle, WA Beaverton, OR
Graham Johnson Kristi Bruner
Reporter at KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Marketing Project Manager at Inviso Corp.
Seattle, WA Bellevue, WA