To continue the topic of my last post…Originally, I didn’t want to be Newman Center President again this semester. I wanted an underclassman to take over so that I could concentrate on my final papers and job search. But when no one was available, I kept the post. I’m glad I did, as the Newman Center has had a flurry of activity this semester. It was important for me to facilitate it.
For instance, we have two concurrently running book clubs. One is a lecture format with Dr. Cook, who imparts his deep wisdom about Dante. Dr. Cook knows the Divine Comedy like the back of his hand and has literally taught it hundreds of times–even to inmates. We have good attendance at Dante club, especially from non-Newman Center members. We’ve even got former faculty like Dr. Barnes and administrators like Dean Oprisko sitting in. There really are fewer better teachers of Dante than Dr. Cook. We’re about halfway through the whole Comedy; thus, halfway through the Paradiso.
Then, Dr. Kubiak is doing Brideshead Revisited with us. Though the group is smaller and more discussion-oriented, Dr. Kubiak isn’t lacking in wisdom, either. He’s actually met several of the real-life characters that Waugh based the book’s characters on. For instance, he used a contact from his grad school at Harvard to meet Lord Acton at his villa in Florence. Acton was a flamboyant aristocrat upon which the character of Anthony Blanche was explicitly modeled. We just finished the last of our four sessions about it, and are going to watch a few episodes of the famous BBC miniseries this week.
We’re also working with the local parish, St. Bernard’s, on a development project in Haiti. The parish has been doing work at a village there for years, and is now coordinating with IUPUI’s engineering school to design a solar-powered electrical generator. We’re going to help them secure funds from a grant, and will hopefully be able to accompany them to install it sometime next winter, if everything works out.
I was worried this semester about finding someone to carry on Newman Center leadership, since the two main leader, Robby and myself, are graduating. Luckily, two sophomores, Eddie Pingel and Corey Egler, have been helping out a lot this semester and will take over when we graduate. So even if the Newman Center had no programming this semester, I’d consider it a success based on that simple fact. We’re successfully replaced ourselves.