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Jocelyn Bowie
College of Arts & Sciences

Last modified: Monday, August 30, 2010

Events coming together for Indiana University's fall Themester

Aug. 30, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A public talk by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, best-selling author of The World is Flat and Flat, Hot and Crowded; an exhibit of the work of renowned nature photographer Subhankar Banerjee; a screening and discussion of Al Gore's Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth -- the calendar is filling up for the College's of Arts and Science's fall Themester: "sustain•ability: Thriving on a Small Planet."

Sustainability is a hot topic across the nation and Themester 2010 is generating enormous interest both on campus and off. Each fall, Themester combines a cluster of classes, performances, lectures, debates, exhibits and other events around an issue or topic of widespread interest. The College of Arts and Sciences began Themester in fall 2009 with "Evolution, Diversity and Change;" fall 2010 will see nearly every school on the Bloomington campus take part in the initiative.

This fall's "sustain•ability" Themester is co-sponsored by the IU Office of Sustainability, and it will include more than four times the number of classes and events as last year's.

"We are facing global climate change, dramatic loss of habitat and biodiversity, and displacements of people and new intersections of cultures, and pervasive pollution. We are facing dwindling supplies of fossil fuels, fresh water, and arable land, increasing vulnerability to natural disasters, unstable economic systems and an ever-widening gap between wealthy and poor," said David Zaret, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

"Finding sustainable solutions to these challenges will require collaboration across the physical and social sciences, the fine arts and humanities, the many professions, and across all walks of life within the public and private sectors," he said. "I am very pleased that our colleagues and students across campus have taken such an interest in engaging with the Themester initiative."

Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman

Print-Quality Photo

Themester isn't just for the IU community. Themester is again collaborating with Bloomington's Cardinal Stage Company, this time to produce The Grapes of Wrath (Sept. 2-12) at Bloomington's Waldron Arts Center. John Steinbeck's epic tale of the displaced Joad family offers a timely look at hardship and resilience amid the American Dust Bowl. A story of the land, family, and courage in the face of overwhelming odds, The Grapes of Wrath captures the mood and mindset of the changing United States in the midst of the Great Depression.

Themester will officially kick off on campus with an opening festival in Dunn Meadow on Friday, Sept. 10, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., although in addition to the play opening, several lectures and one colloquium will take place before that. The online calendar of Themester events is continuously being updated, according to coordinator Tracy Bee.

More than 7,000 students are enrolled in classes in the Themester curriculum bundle. In addition to the College of Arts and Sciences, the following units are also offering Themester classes: the Kelley School of Business, Hutton Honors College, the School of Social Work, the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Intensive Freshman Seminar program. For the first time, some graduate-level Themester classes are being offered, including through the Maurer School of Law.

A closing exposition is planned for Friday, Dec. 3.