Programs


2016-2017 Programs

As the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, we recognize the continued need to stand together, and to move beyond only tolerance of each other’s differences.

Standing Together

The United States is a country divided by religion, race, ethnicity, and political affiliation. We are a nation too often defined by violence, bigotry, and fear. The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution are important reminders of our need to be committed to principles beyond our own narrow self-interests.

This year the Center – along with many campus and community partners – is focusing on “standing together” as we address significant challenges in our society.

Center initiatives bring local and national speakers to campus to examine racial, political, and religious challenges. Town hall discussions offer safe space for open and honest conversation about the divisiveness that grips our nation. Interfaith dialogue explores how faith informs and influences how we make decisions.

Throughout all Center programming, the hope is to promote the importance of freedom, respect, and community. Please stand with us as we recognize the importance of unity and of our heritage.

As President Dwight Eisenhower said at the opening of the Islamic Center of Washington on June 28, 1957:

I should like to assure you, my Islamic friends, that under the American Constitution, under American tradition, and in American hearts, this Center, this place of worship, is just as welcome as could be a similar edifice of any other religion. Indeed, America would fight with her whole strength for your right to have here your own church and worship according to your own conscience. This concept is indeed a part of America, and without that concept we would be something else than what we are…As I stand beneath these graceful arches, surrounded on every side by friends from far and near, I am convinced that our common goals are both right and promising. Faithful to the demands of justice and of brotherhood, each working according to the lights of his own conscience, our world must advance along the paths of peace.

All CSRF events are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Kelly Jackson at 757.455.3129 or kjackson@vwc.edu.


Spring 2017

January

Is There a Promised Land? Exhaustion in a Post-MLK World 
Monday, January 16, 2017, 7-8:30 PM 
Boyd Dining Center 
Support provided by the Virginia Wesleyan Winter Session

Barbara Hamm Lee, Host of Another View Radio Program on WHRV 89.5 FM, moderates discussion about how racial justice and equality in the United States have changed since 1968, or not. Reflecting on excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last speech before his assassination on April 4, 1968, the discussion examines lessons from the Civil Rights Movement and considers how they apply to challenges today. On April 3, King told striking sanitation workers,  "...I've been to the mountaintop. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know that we as a people will get to the promised land."  What do those words mean for us today? Have we reached the "promised land"? If Dr. King were alive today, what would he call for us to do?

February

Ethics & U.S. Presidential Politics
Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 7:00-8:30 PM
Monumental Chapel

As the Virginia Wesleyan Ethics Bowl teams prepare to compete in the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges’ (VFIC) annual Ethics Bowl competition, they debate a case study on this year’s topic of “Ethics & U.S. Presidential Politics,” with members of the audience having the opportunity to interact, critique, and discuss. The VFIC Ethics Bowl competition brings together student teams from each of the 15 VFIC member institutions for lively debate and consideration of applied ethics - real world dilemmas that affect people’s lives in increasingly complex ways. On February 12-13, 2017, Virginia Wesleyan College is hosting the VFIC 18th Annual Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl.

Theological Perspectives on Faith & the Environment
Monday, February 20, 2017, 7:00-8:15 p.m.
Blocker Hall Auditorium
NEXUS Interfaith Dialogue: Faith and the Environment
Sponsored in partnership with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and Lynnhaven River NOW

Moderated by Cathy Lewis, Host of HearSay with Cathy Lewis, WHRV 89.5 FM, a panel of diverse clergy discusses theological perspectives on faith and the environment. In anticipation of the opening of the Greer Environmental Sciences Center in fall 2017, the spring 2017 Nexus Interfaith Dialogue series focuses on faith and the environment. The Center for the Study of Religious Freedom is working with the Lynnhaven River NOW Pearl Faith Community both to draw attention to faith perspectives on our relationship with the environment and to consider our responsibility as stewards of the earth.

“The Talk” Town Hall Discussion
Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 6:30-8:00 PM
Fort Monroe, Hampton VA
Race: Let’s Talk About It Initiative
Register at whro.org/talkaboutrace
Sponsored in partnership with WHRO Public Media and the Fort Monroe Authority

Moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee, Host of Another View, WHRV 89.5 FM, the town hall discussions are part of a local public media initiative, “Race: Let’s Talk About It.” To coincide with the release of the new PBS documentary, “The Talk,” this town hall discussion focuses on the increasingly necessary conversation between parents of color and their children, especially sons, about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police. Moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee, a panel helps to guide the conversation, but the discussion belongs to the audience.

What is Tantric Sex?
Thursday, February 23, 2017, 7:00-8:15 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Mediating Religious Conflicts Series
Support provided by The Lighthouse: Center for Exploration and Learning at Virginia Wesleyan College

"Tantra" in the West usually means one thing - long, ritualized, and exotic sex. The reality is much more complex than lovemaking. Sam Grimes, a scholar of Sanskrit and classical Indian religion, explores how these  tantric practices have everything to do with eliminating all desire through clearly defined stages of sexual “bliss,” leading to ultimate liberation from suffering. Grimes has studied South Asian religions at the University of Hawaii, classical India religions and Sanskrit at Oxford University, and most recently studied ritual and ritual theory with the Vajrācāryas, the tantric Buddhist priests of Kathmandu.

March

Talking about Abortion and Faith: Anti-Abortion Reasoning and Effective Communication
Thursday, March 2, 2017, 7:00-8:15 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Mediating Religious Conflicts Series

How to begin to have constructive dialogue or conversation about an issue as contentious as abortion? Jacqueline Hawkins, Director of Minority Outreach at the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform,
discusses the reasoning behind the anti-abortion stance and how—in her work—she seeks to communicate facts and issues from a philosophical and scientific standpoint. Hawkins highlights communication techniques that her organization has found effective both in heated, hostile environments as well as in more familiar situations with family and friends.

Defending Life: When Might Faith Justify Violence or the Use of Force?
Thursday, March 9, 2017, 7:00-8:15 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Mediating Religious Conflicts Series

An interview and conversation with Rev. Donald Spitz, the spokesperson for the anti-abortion organization Army of God, and spiritual advisor to Paul Hill, Eric Rudolph, Michael Bray, Shelley Shannon, and Scott Roeder, each of whom has used force against abortion providers and clinics. This conversation between CSRF Director, Dr. Craig Wansink and Rev. Spitz focuses on Spitz’s life, calling, and perspectives. Since not all Christians are pacifists, a broader conversation will focus on the question: In what circumstances or situation might faith justify violence or the use of force?

The Challenges of Religious Freedom around the Globe: 2017
Monday, March 13, 7:30-8:30 PM
Boyd Dining Center
Justine L. Nusbaum Lecture

David N. Saperstein, the Immediate Past United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, speaks on the work to promote religious freedom around the world and to fight persecution, discrimination, and genocide by groups like ISIS. During the Obama administration, Saperstein was a principal advisor to the president and secretary of state and served as the United States chief diplomat on issues of religious freedom worldwide. Rabbi Saperstein was nominated by then President Barack Obama and became the first non-Christian to head the Office of International Religious Freedom (2014 – January 2017). David Saperstein is this year’s Justine L. Nusbaum lecturer.  CSRF Founding Fellow, Robert C. Nusbaum, and his brother, V.H. Nusbaum, established the Justine L. Nusbaum Endowed Lectureship in honor of their mother, who was well-known for her life-long volunteer service and dedication to humanitarian causes.

Life Matters: Dr. Kathy Stolley
Professor of Sociology, Virginia Wesleyan College
Thursday, March 16, 2017, Noon-12:50 PM
Boyd Dining Center, Shafer Room
Sponsored in partnership with Virginia Wesleyan’s Chaplain’s Office and Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning (INTEL)

In “Life Matters,” members of the Virginia Wesleyan community offer autobiographical reflections on their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual experiences. Launched in fall 2015 in partnership with the Chaplain’s Office and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning (INTEL), the “Life Matters” series has become a much anticipated event among Virginia Wesleyan faculty, staff, and students. These deeply personal reflections by members of the Wesleyan community are meaningful opportunities for understanding and connection. They also offer space for each of us to take a moment to think about what has shaped us and given our own life meaning.

The Challenges of Mediating and Discussing LGBTQ+ Experiences in the Church
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 7:00-8:15 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Mediating Religious Conflicts Series

The risk of misunderstanding frequently prevents individuals from participating in important conversations – particularly with those with whom they disagree – on topics of sexual identity and LGBTQ+ experiences. This discussion with Dr. Mark A. Yarhouse, Rosemarie S. Hughes Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology at Regent University, discusses how to engage and interact around LGBTQ+ experiences in the church and broader culture today.

"The Messiah Will Come Again": Black Elk and the Life of an American Visionary
Thursday, March 30, 2017, 11:00 AM-Noon
Clarke Hall, The Lighthouse Commons
Support provided by The Lighthouse: Center for Exploration and Learning at Virginia Wesleyan College

Coastal Virginia’s own Joe Jackson discusses his new book, Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary (2016). Black Elk, the Native American holy man who inspired millions around the world, had a dramatic life that converged with some of the most momentous events in the history of the American West. Jackson’s talk focuses on Black Elk’s changing religious identity as a healer and holy man, motivated by a powerful prophetic vision that he struggled to understand. Joe Jackson is the Mina Hohenberg Darden Endowed Professor of Creative Writing in the M.F.A. creative writing program at Old Dominion University.

April

Race: Why Won’t It Go Away?
Thursday, April 6, 2017, 11:00 AM-Noon
Clarke Hall, The Lighthouse Commons
Support provided by The Lighthouse: Center for Exploration and Learning at Virginia Wesleyan College

Dr. Ted Vial, Professor of Theology and Modern Western Religious Thought at Iliff School of Theology, authored the recent monograph, Modern Religion, Modern Race (2016).In his talk, “Race: Why Won’t It Go Away?” Vial explores why, even though biologists tell us that race does not exist, we don’t seem to be able to escape thinking in racial terms. Looking at the assumptions we have used to make sense of the world since the early 1800’s, Vial shows that thinking racially is not a departure from modernity’s highest ideals, but part of the foundation of modernity itself.

Hard Things to Discuss: Jews, Christians, and Dialogue that Matters Today
Thursday, April 6, 2017, 7:00-8:15 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Mediating Religious Conflicts Series

Dr. Michael Panitz and Dr. Craig Wansink lead participants through case studies that highlight ways in which well-intentioned people of different faiths may miscommunicate or speak past each other. One case study will focus on the challenges of religion in the public square (e.g. eruvs, and religious rules in public swimming pools). Other case studies focus on Christians' appropriation of Jewish scripture and the challenges in discussing issues related to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Dr. Panitz serves as Rabbi at Temple Israel in Norfolk and is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Religion at Virginia Wesleyan. Dr. Wansink directs the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom and is an ordained Presbyterian minister.

Life Matters: Dr. Timothy O’Rourke
Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, Virginia Wesleyan College
Thursday, April 13, 2017, Noon-12:50 PM
Boyd Dining Center, Shafer Room
Sponsored in partnership with Virginia Wesleyan’s Chaplain’s Office and Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning (INTEL)

In “Life Matters,” members of the Virginia Wesleyan community offer autobiographical reflections on their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual experiences. Launched in fall 2015, the “Life Matters” series has become a much anticipated event among Virginia Wesleyan faculty, staff, and students. These deeply personal reflections by members of the Wesleyan community are meaningful opportunities for understanding and connection. They also offer space for each of us to take a moment to think about what has shaped us and given our own life meaning.

Muslim Women and Stories of Life in America
Thursday, April 20, 2017, 7:00-8:15 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Mediating Religious Conflicts Series

What unusual circumstances face Muslim women in America? What do they most wish others might know about them? Where do they find challenges, hope, meaning, and joy through their faith? Dr. Tahani Amer, Senior Technologist at NASA and congregant at the Mosque and Islamic Center of Hampton Roads, moderates a panel of diverse Muslim women who discuss and reflect on these questions and more.

Lynnhaven River Now Pearl Faith Community
Monday, April 24, 2017, 7:00-8:15 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
NEXUS Interfaith Dialogue: Faith and the Environment
Sponsored in partnership with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and Lynnhaven River NOW

Moderated by Karen Forget, Executive Director, and Pam Northam, Pearl Home and Pearl Faith Coordinator, Lynnhaven River NOW, participants in the Pearl Faith Community discuss their actions and initiatives as responsible stewards of the earth. In anticipation of the opening of the Greer Environmental Sciences Center in fall 2017, the spring 2017 Nexus Interfaith Dialogue series focuses on faith and the environment. The Center for the Study of Religious Freedom is working with the Lynnhaven River NOW Pearl Faith Community both to draw attention to faith perspectives on our relationship with the environment and to consider our responsibility as stewards of the earth.

Origins of Modern Yoga
Thursday, April 27, 2017, 7:00-8:15 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Mediating Religious Conflicts Series
Support provided by The Lighthouse: Center for Exploration and Learning at Virginia Wesleyan College

The modern yoga movement is chock full of misinformation, charlatanism, and orientalist exploitation. Sam Grimes (scholar of Sanskrit and classical Indian religion, see above) discusses why the origins the movement, and the traditions from which they drew their inspiration, are actually far more fascinating than the fiction most frequently sold in the West concerning the Sanskrit word "yoga.".

U.S. Presidency and Religious Freedom
Friday, April 28, 2017, 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Clarke Hall, CSRF Office Suite
Food for Thought: Soup on Friday Celebration
Sponsored in partnership with VWC Professor Sharon Swift’s digital art courses

Soup on Friday celebrations are opportunities for VWC faculty, staff, students, and members of the larger community to come together for food and fellowship. Stop by the CSRF anytime between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to enjoy a cup of soup and view the “U.S. Presidency and Religious Freedom” display produced by Virginia Wesleyan students in Professor Sharon Swift’s spring 2017 digital art classes.

Fall 2016

September

Beyond the Wall: US Immigration Policy
Tuesday, September 6, 2016, 11:00-11:50 AM & 7:00-8:30 PM
Jane P. Batten Student Center, Pearce Hospitality Suite
What’s at Stake? Election 2016
Sponsored in partnership with the Department of Political Science and The Lighthouse, Virginia Wesleyan College

Dr. Hector Perla, Professor of Politics and Latin American Studies, University of California, Berkeley, Latin American Studies, Visiting Scholar American Political Science Association, Congressional Fellowship Program, speaks about problems with the US immigration system, the implications of these problems for the country, and how immigrations emerged during the 2016 election campaign.

Happy 225th! Virginia (and Norfolk) Give Birth to the Bill of Rights
Thursday, September 15, 2016, 12:00-12:50 PM
Jane P. Batten Student Center, Pearce Hospitality Suite
Constitution Day Program

This year, as we commemorate the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, we also celebrate Virginia’s important role in giving birth to those first ten amendments to the US Constitution. Dr. Timothy G. O’Rourke, Vice President for Academic Affairs & Professor of Political Science, Virginia Wesleyan College, shares important, sometimes obscure, details about why we have Virginia (and Norfolk) to thank for the freedoms written into the Bill of Rights. September 17 is recognized in the United States as Constitution & Citizenship Day to commemorate the formation and signing of the US Constitution on September 17, 1787.

What’s at Stake?: US Foreign Policy
Thursday, September 22, 2016, 11:00-11:50 AM
Boyd Dining Center, Shafer Room
What’s at Stake? Election 2016

Dr. Dan Margolies, Professor of History, and Dr. Antje Schwennicke, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Virginia Wesleyan College, explore foreign policy issues (terrorism, US Middle East policy, etc.) that have emerged as important in the 2016 election. They pay special attention to the historical context needed to understand these issues and the candidates’/parties’ positions on foreign policy.

Jewish and Muslim Perspectives on Election 2016
Monday, September 26, 2016, 7:00-8:30 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Nexus Interfaith Dialogue: Faith and Election 2016
Sponsored in partnership with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities

Moderated by Cathy Lewis, Host of HearSay with Cathy Lewis, WHRV 89.5 FM,  
panelists include; Dr. Mohamed Abdous (Muslim), Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz (Conservative Jew), Rabbi Alexander Haber (Orthodox Jew), and Dr. Ahmed Noor (Muslim).  Complementing the “What’s at Stake? Election 2016” series - the “Nexus Interfaith Dialogues,” also focus on the election. Since 1998, this hallmark CSRF program has served as a point of connection to foster open and respectful dialogue among people of differing faiths or of no faith.  This fall’s programs focus on how different faith perspectives shape attitudes towards key issues, political parties, and individuals. Participants discuss how their faith informs and influences how they make decisions. 

Standing Together in a Culture of Fear
Friday, September 30, 2016, 7:00-9:00 PM
Batten Convocation Center
Sponsored by the President’s Council on Inclusive Community in partnership with the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom, The Lighthouse, and Student Affairs, Virginia Wesleyan College

Clint Smith, Ph.D. Candidate at Harvard University, Teacher, and Writer - whose two TED Talks, “The Danger of Silence” and “How to Raise a Black Son in America,” collectively have been viewed more than four million times – discusses how to create positive change in a culture of fear.  In his talk, he discusses the culture of fear in our country caused by hatred, violence, and discrimination, and highlights ways to create a more peaceful and inclusive society.

Another View: Clint Smith is the guest on Another View Radio Program, Friday, September 30, 2016, 12:00-1:00 p.m. on WHRV 89.5 FM

October

Why World Peace is Possible: Exploring the Anatomy of Violence & War
Saturday, October 1, 2016, 1:00–2:20 PM
Monumental Chapel
One Love Festival
Sponsored by Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Pax Christi Community of Hampton Roads

Paul K. Chappell, Director, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, is a West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran, and former US Army Captain. Chappell offers a new vision of hope, radical empathy, and a world beyond violence and war. Chappell grew up in Alabama with a Korean immigrant mother and a part African-American/part Caucasian father who suffered extreme war trauma from combat in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. Growing up in a violent household, Chappell now teaches the powerful form of leadership practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., grounded in nonviolence skills and action. He has authored a seven book series, “Road to Peace.”

Standing Together in a Culture of Fear Town Hall Discussion
Saturday, October 1, 2016, 2:30-4:00 PM
Boyd Dining Hall
Register Here  (whro.org/talkaboutrace)
One Love Festival
Sponsored in partnership with WHRO Public Media and the Fort Monroe Authority

Moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee, Host and Executive Producer of Another View Radio Program, WHRV 89.5 FM, panelists include; Paul Chappell, Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Michele Woods Jones, Race Relations Specialist and Certified Diversity and Inclusion Professional, and Jonathan Zur, President and CEO of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.   The Town Hall discussion offers a safe space for members of the community to have open and honest conversation about how to move away from the divisiveness that has gripped our nation. The panelists help to guide the conversation, but the discussion belongs to the audience. Be a part of the conversation to offer ideas for creating a more inclusive and peaceful society.  The Town Hall is part of the “Race: Let’s Talk About It” initiative launched in 2015. Topical discussions begin on WHRV’s Another View Radio Program and continue during town hall events. Register at whro.org/talkaboutrace

Largest Drum Circle in the World
Saturday, October 1, 2016, 4:00-5:30 PM
Jane P. Batten Student Center Grille
One Love Festival

Arthur Lopez from DrumYourDream.com leads a rhythm-based shared experience designed to gather members of a community to drum for peace. The drum circle is ongoing and everyone is invited to join, regardless of musical ability, experience, or age. Hand percussion instruments are available, or you may bring your own.

Standing Together Concert
Saturday, October 1,  6:15-9:00 PM
Jane P. Batten Student Center Grille
One Love Festival

The evening of music and performances includes, Sharon Silverstein & The Peace Project, Teens with A Purpose, Atumpan, Hampton Roads Boy’s Choir, 3 Lives 4 Peace.

What’s at Stake?: Gender, Sexuality, and Politics
Thursday, October 6, 2016, 11:00-11:50 AM
Boyd Dining Center, Shafer Room
What’s at Stake? Election 2016

Dr. Kathleen Casey, Assistant Professor of History, and Dr. Leslie Caughell, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Virginia Wesleyan College, explore issues related to gender and sexuality that have emerged as important in the 2016 election, including transgender rights and candidates’ attempts to appeal to female voters.

Energy and Environmental Issues from Local Perspectives and in the 2016 Presidential Election
Thursday, October 20, 2016, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
What’s at Stake? Election 2016
Sponsored in partnership with the Department of Political Science and The Lighthouse, Virginia Wesleyan College

This event begins with a discussion about energy and environmental issues in Hampton Roads with representatives from local environmental groups and organizations participating. Joel Eisen, Professor of Law, University of Richmond, then talks about the candidates’ positions on energy and environmental policies and explores the consequences of environmental policies. 

Rational Faith and Secular Unreason: Why Religious Freedom is Under Siege
Thursday, October 20, 2016, 7:00-8:30 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Cookson Religious Freedom Lecture

It is commonplace to observe a “spike” in the incidence of conflicts in our law and politics between claims of religious freedom and competing claims of harm to other freedoms or principles of equality.  American history has witnessed many instances of oppression experienced by minority faith communities, yet a kind of intellectual consensus has evolved regarding the basic principles of religious freedom, even while quarrels have persisted over the application of those principles.  Today that consensus appears to be broken.  What shattered it, and what are the prospects for its reconstruction?  For answers, Dr. Matthew J. Franck ‘80, Director, William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution, The Witherspoon Institute, interrogates the narrative that reason and religious faith are somehow at odds with one another.   The Cookson Religious Freedom Lecture is named in honor of the Center’s founding director, Dr. Catharine Cookson, who died in 2004. Matthew Franck is the first Virginia Wesleyan College graduate to speak as the Cookson Visiting Scholar. Franck earned his B.A. in political science (magna cum laude) from Virginia Wesleyan in 1980, and in 1993 he received the Alumni Academic Achievement Award from VWC.

Christian, Hindu, and Sikh Perspectives on Election 2016
Monday, October 24, 2016, 7:00-8:30 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Nexus Interfaith Dialogue: Faith and Election 2016
Sponsored in partnership with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities

Moderated by Cathy Lewis, Host of HearSay with Cathy Lewis, WHRV 89.5 FM,  
panelists include; Father James Curran (Catholic), Dr. Baljit Gill (Sikh),  Dr. Antipas Harris (Protestant), Reverend Gloria R. Newsome (Protestant), andDr. Dilip Sarkar (Hindu). Complementing the “What’s at Stake? Election 2016” series - the “Nexus Interfaith Dialogues,” also focus on the election. Since 1998, this hallmark CSRF program has served as a point of connection to foster open and respectful dialogue among people of differing faiths or of no faith.  This fall’s programs focus on how different faith perspectives shape attitudes towards key issues, political parties, and individuals. Participants discuss how their faith informs and influences how they make decisions. 

What’s at Stake?: Student Perspectives
Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 7:00-8:30 PM
Jane P. Batten Student Center Grille
What’s at Stake? Election 2016
Sponsored in partnership with the Department of Political Science and The Lighthouse, Virginia Wesleyan College

In this year’s election, what issues most concern college students? Virginia Wesleyan College Students lead a discussion highlighting policies that they favor and the reasons underlying their support for these policies.

Just the Facts: Truth and Media Coverage
Thursday, October 27, 2016,11:00 AM-12:30 PM & 7:00-8:30 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium
What’s at Stake? Election 2016
Sponsored in partnership with the Department of Political Science and The Lighthouse, Virginia Wesleyan College

Bill Adair, Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy and Director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, speaks about the role of journalists in US elections, paying special attention to how journalists respond to distortions of facts or misinformation in election campaigns.

November

Running as a Woman
Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 7:00-8:30 PM
Boyd Dining Center, Shafer Room
What’s at Stake? Election 2016
Sponsored in partnership with the Department of Political Science and The Lighthouse, Virginia Wesleyan College

Dr. Regina Lawrence, Executive Director, George S. Turnbull Portland Center and Agora Journalism Center, University of Oregon, speaks on problems women face campaigning for political office in the US, and highlights the implications of these challenges for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

What’s at Stake?: Economy
Thursday, November 3, 2016, 11:00-11:50 AM
Boyd Dining Center, Shafer Room
What’s at Stake? Election 2016

Dr. Paul Ewell, Associate Professor of Management, Business, Economics, and Dave Garraty, Professor of Management, Business, Economics, Virginia Wesleyan College, explore economic issues that have emerged as important in the 2016 election, including discussion of international trade agreements, social security, and business tax reform.

Social Media’s Role in Revolution & Social Movements
Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 11:00-11:50 AM
Boyd Dining Center, Shafer Room
What’s at Stake? Election 2016
Sponsored in partnership with the Department of Political Science and The Lighthouse, Virginia Wesleyan College

Social media has received substantial credit for helping citizens to mobilize in recent political revolutions, including the Arab Spring. Amanda Cronkhite, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discusses the opportunities, and limits, involved in using social media as an organizational tool.

Media Coverage of Religious Conflicts
Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 7:00-8:30 PM
Boyd Dining Center, Shafer Room
Sponsored in partnership with the Department of Political Science and The Lighthouse, Virginia Wesleyan College

Amanda Cronkhite, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, examines institutional and business realities governing news production, highlighting how media coverage of social conflict often is colored with bias due to the institutional and business constraints the media faces.

Life Matters: Robin Takacs
Thursday, November 17, 2016, 12:00-12:50 PM
Boyd Dining Center, Shafer Room
Sponsored in partnership with the Chaplain’s Office, and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning, Virginia Wesleyan College

Robin Takacs, Director of Instructional Technology, Virginia Wesleyan College, shares her “Life Matters” talk. In “Life Matters,” members of the Wesleyan community offer autobiographical reflections on their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual experiences.  If you wish, you may bring a bag lunch or purchase lunch in the dining center.

December

In-Lawfully Yours (Film)
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 7:00-10:00 PM
Blocker Hall Auditorium

Sean Gaffney, Screenwriter and Professor at Regent, has authored twenty-nine produced plays, four television pilots, as well as more than 70 videos, animation projects, and short films. He also served as the Story Administrator for Warner Bros. His feature film, “In-Lawfully Yours” (2016) is a contemporary comedy inspired by the Biblical story of Ruth. Following a screening of the film, Gaffney will share insights and lead discussion.

Life Matters: Dr. Craig Wansink
Thursday, December 8, 2016, 12:00-12:50 PM
Boyd Dining Center, Shafer Room
Sponsored in partnership with the Chaplain’s Office, and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning, Virginia Wesleyan College

Dr. Craig Wansink, Joan P. and Macon F. Brock Jr. Director of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom, Virginia Wesleyan College, shares his “Life Matters” talk. In “Life Matters,” members of the Wesleyan community offer autobiographical reflections on their emotional, intellectual, and spiritual experiences. If you wish, you may bring a bag lunch or purchase lunch in the dining center.

CSRF 20th Anniversary/Religious Freedom Essay Contest Winners
Friday, December 9, 2016, 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
CSRF Office Suite, Clarke Hall
Food for Thought: Soup on Friday Celebration

Soup on Friday celebrations are opportunities for VWC faculty, staff, students, and members of the broader community to come together for food and fellowship. Stop by the CSRF anytime between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to enjoy a cup of soup, learn who is the winner of the CSRF Religious Freedom Essay Contest, and celebrate the Center’s 20th Anniversary.