Topeka, Kan. – As a new semester begins at Washburn, so does an important conversation on Community & Belonging. WUmester, a program intended to foster conversation on a social justice topic each spring semester, will tackle the topic in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

    “This historic case provides a perfect opportunity to explore community and belonging. These are critical aspects of the college experience, influencing students’ overall well-being, academic success and personal growth,” said Dr. Kelly Erby, interim dean, Washburn College of Arts and Sciences. “I am so excited to spend this WUmester exploring different facets of community, as well as ways Washburn can continue to enhance the sense of belonging for all our students.”

    WUmester 2024 will examine the topic from the perspectives of academic disciplines across campus. Faculty, staff and students will consider how community and belonging contribute to safety, well-being and, ultimately, happiness and empowerment. Organizers will incorporate the   Brown v. Board case, which originated in Topeka, and the importance it played in creating a more inclusive society where all individuals could access the same opportunities and experiences.

    Special events are planned throughout the semester, including guest speakers and campus activities. Among the highlights:

  • A banquet, hosted by Washburn Student Life, to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 16, 2024)
  • Activist Davis Hammet shares his journey of making change, finding community and purpose while falling in love with everything Kansas (Jan. 29, 2024)
  • Black Student Union Black History Banquet (Feb. 8, 2024)
  • Keynote speaker Nikki Giovanni, a world-renowned poet and one of the foremost authors on the Black Arts Movement (March 7, 2024)
  • WIFI Film Festival featuring multi-cultural works (April 19-22, 2024)
  • 2024 Academy of African Business and Development Conference, hosted by Washburn School of Business (May 14-18, 2024)
  • The play “Now Let Me Fly” which tells the story of the unsung heroes and heroines in the battle for civil rights (May 17-18, 2024)

    For a full list of events and activities as well as locations and times, go to WUmester 2024 | Washburn University.


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