Open a Window to the World: Participate in Dixie Forum
By Bailee Christiansen, 2017 alumna
March 22, 2017
Perfect for those interested in extending their learning outside the classroom, Dixie State University’s weekly lecture series Dixie Forum hosts incredible people who are pursuing excellence in a variety of disciplines. Dixie Forum introduces the St. George and DSU communities to diverse ideas and covers a variety of topics every Tuesday from noon to 12:50 p.m. in the Dunford Auditorium in the Browning Resource Center. While Dixie Forum is offered as a class it is also open to the community. Below, alumna Bailee Christiansen explains how the forum served as a window to the world for her when she was a DSU student.
I was introduced to the Dixie Forum lecture series in the fall of 2013. I’m honestly not sure how I had never heard of it before then, but I just happened to see the one-credit course while registering for Spring 2014 and figured I could always use some electives to meet the credit requirement for my scholarship. It seemed like a simple enough class; all I had to do was attend 10 of the 12 lectures and participate in two cultural events as a volunteer, participant, or attendee. Outside of this, I didn’t know what to expect from the course. What would I learn about? What events could I use as my cultural events?
Each week I discovered more about different careers and in turn learned more about myself. I had the chance to learn about the process of a watercolor painter, the anatomy of a bird of prey, the importance of understanding terrorism and war, and how to improve a hospital’s trauma unit. I found myself enraptured in the opportunity to immerse myself in these different aspects of educational and job pursuits. After the first few weeks, I invited my family along and we all began to love listening to the eclectic bunch of speakers who came each week on Tuesday at noon. After each lecture, I would sit down and compose my thoughts, trying to determine what I had learned from the speaker because, without a doubt, I always came away with something new.
Not only are students learning about DSU, future career options, and numerous topics through the Dixie Forum, they are also encouraged to engage with the community through two cultural events that are meant to span beyond the weekly lectures. It encouraged me to research what was going on in the community and find something that not only interest me but could also be a great learning experience for me. Sometimes these things just fell in my lap, though, and that is what happened for one of my cultural events during my first semester taking Dixie Forum.
My grandma often attended the Dixie Forum lectures with me, and during one of the lectures, she pulled out a flyer that featured a list of upcoming events on the DSU campus. She pointed out one event in particular called “Traveling Shoes,” which was essentially a one-woman show. Janice Brooks was the actress who would be performing for the audience and the play traced the stories of eight African-American women. I loved how she shifted between the personas of each character and how much research went into each of the characters she portrayed. She portrayed famous women from history, which would have taken time to discover the story she wanted to portray and how to accurately portray women who still remain a topic of conversation. She also highlighted lesser-known women who still occupy an important part of history, requiring even more time and research. She did not portray the most popular stories of these women, either; she picked lesser-known stories that would feel new to the audience.
No semester for me is ever complete without attending at least one Dixie Forum. It has become such a big part of my experience at Dixie State University because it encourages me to branch out and experience elements of so many different disciplines. It taught me to not only engage with the events on campus but also with those in the community and actively learn about different cultural aspects of the community and educational offerings of DSU.
Upcoming Dixie Forums
Forums are held on Tuesdays from noon to 12:50 p.m. in the Dunford Auditorium in the Browning Resource Center.
Date: Jan. 16
Speaker: Fulbright Scholar David Sullivan
Topic: The Many Faces of China: Photos, Poems, and Stories from a Year of Travels
Date: Jan. 23
Speakers: Liza Halcomb, Monsanto toxicologist, and Greg Watson, Monsanto’s Global Crop Protection Policy Lead
Topic: Monsanto: The Science and its Application
Date: Feb. 6
Speaker: Brent Harris from primalpathways.org
Topic: Signs of Life on the African Plains: Ecology, Conservation, and Sustainability
Date: Feb. 13
Speaker: Luria Petrucci
Topic: Technology That Changes Our Lives