Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Many groups fund activism workshop

Today artist and activist Dana Lyons will be offering both a workshop and concert for students. Campus Climate Challenge (CCC) has been working on bringing Lyons to campus since last semester, but many groups on campus have helped to put on today’s events.

Senior Collin Smith was instrumental in gaining support within CCC to get Lyons on campus. Smith was the 2013-14 president of CCC and is heavily active with divestment on campus. Smith first learned about Lyons and his activism in the Northwest from a Whitman alumnus and divestment supporter.

“I got in touch, and I was excited about the concert and the workshops,” said Smith.

Lyons offers a variety of workshops, but Smith picked one entitled “How to make a living as an artist and an activist.” For Smith, this workshop was appealing for the applicability to a variety of students on campus, especially students involved in different types of activism.

“I believe in the power of art in activism,” said Smith. “The workshop will be broadly accessible to activists on campus.”

Campus Climate Challenge contributed 100 dollars to pay for Lyons to come to campus, so between late last spring and early this fall, Smith has been reaching out to other groups on campus to contribute.

“I’ve been impressed by the variety of organizations on campus that thought this would be a cool event,” he said.

Smith reached out to Associate Dean for Student Engagement Noah Leavitt in the Student Engagement Center, who eagerly contributed funding. Smith also sought funding from the Environmental Studies Department, but Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies Amy Molitor instead directed him to Associate Professor of Art Michelle Acuff, who previously co-instructed a class on art and activism.

“After about five minutes [of talking] she said, ‘How about we give 250 dollars?'” said Smith.

The Whitman Events Board (WEB) co-sponsored the event in contributing 600 dollars and helping to arrange contracts.

“Everyone on the WEB board was excited about the event,” said Nate Higby, WEB co-sponsorship director.

Both Higby and Smith look forward to this event as providing a new form of activism for student activists to engage in.

“A lot of our students are very vocal and engage in spreading awareness, but rarely [do] we see it come through a musical medium,” said Higby.

From an event planning perspective, Higby is excited about the interest and skills Lyons will bring, but he is also hoping that this event will encourage students to think about bringing other activists to campus for workshops in the future.

“Hopefully this year we can get a diverse range of activists on campus,” said Higby. “Dana will serve as a gauge.”

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