·Exec. Committee Awards $965K In Contracts To Rebuild CV Building
·Bench Placed In SIUE Gardens Honors Nursing Professor Emeritus
·SIUe Day A 'Resounding Success' For Fourth Consecutive Year
·SIUE ACI Chapter Squares Off At National Concrete Cube Competition
·SIUE Faculty Member, Students Attend Astronomy 2009 Workshop Abroad
·St. Louis Conference Brings International Visitors To SIUE
·CAS Dean Romero Donates Personal Papers To SIUE Lovejoy Library
·Governor Releases $52.5 Million For SIUE Science Building Construction
·FOTAD Trivia Night Jan. 16 Means Fun, Food And Door Prizes
·SIUE's Friends Of Lovejoy Library Hosting 2010 High School Writers' Contest
·SIUE Faculty, Students Part Of NASA Social Media Experience Push
·SIU Cancer Institute to Provide Cancer Care For Southwestern Illinois
·BOT Meeting Yields Action Pertaining To SIUE
·SIUE Student IEA Chapter receives $1000 Grant
·Governor selects President Poshard to serve on new statewide educational coordinating council
·Governor, Supporters Attend Science Building Groundbreaking
·Whammy!! World Premiere Set For Dec. 2 at SIUEs Metcalf Theater
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees Executive Committee has awarded $964,538 in contracts to four Illinois companies and one Missouri company to replace a residential unit in SIU Edwardsville's Cougar Village Apartment Complex. The eight-apartment unit at 529 Cougar Village was gutted by fire in August. The action was taken yesterday by the executive committee under authorization of the full board so that the project may proceed in timely fashion for an August opening. The full board, which will not meet again until February, gave the authorization at its Dec. 10 meeting.
At that December meeting, the board also noted that the new building will be similar in design but will include updated green-building features and other enhancements. In addition, the new building will have updated building code specifications, including a new alarm system and automatic fire sprinklers. In addition to current code requirements, the system connects to the campus central monitoring system, including the attic space which is beyond building code requirements.University officials have noted the project will be funded through insurance proceeds, the SIU self-insurance program, housing revenues and the Universitys Repair and Replacement Reserve Fund.
The companies awarded the contracts are:
According to Edwardsville Fire Chief Brian Wilson Jr., the fire was caused by a lightning strike. The 32 students who were scheduled to live in the unit this past fall semester were re-assigned to other space in the apartment complex. Two students already moved into an apartment in the building escaped injury largely thanks to SIUE Police Officer Dan Murphy who spotted the fire and pounded on front doors to roust anyone who may have been inside. Wilson concluded lightning caused the fire because of burn patterns and other evidence indicating the blaze started in the attic. It was also noted that there was no evidence of cooking in the building at the time nor was there evidence of combustibles.
Professor Emeritus Mary Ann Boyd, a member of the SIUE Nursing faculty for 32 years, was the recipient of a bench recently named in her honor in The Gardens at SIUE. The bench, located along the path of the Shade Stroll Garden, is a serene spot to enjoy the plants and trees throughout the seasons. A gift from Assistant Deans Mary Mulcahy and Jacquelyn Clement, said Nursing Dean Marcia Maurer, the bench commemorates Dr. Boyds years as a nurse educator at SIUE. Boyd hosted a reception after the dedication and was clearly moved and delighted by this special recognition, Maurer said. The spot is in one of her favorite places on campus.
See the photo of Assistant Dean Mulcahy and Professor Emeritus Boyd enjoying the bench. (Photo by Angie Peters)
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) For the fourth consecutive year, SIUe Day, a university-wide fundraising initiative, has been a resounding success, collecting some $135,000 since the start of this years campaign in September. The focus of SIUe Day, says Julie Babington, is to celebrate the University while gaining faculty, staff and retiree support as well as local business support. The number one goal is participation, says Babington, coordinator of the annual event.
Babington, director of Annual Giving for the SIUE Foundation, said she has been impressed by the growth over the years in event participation by faculty and staff. We are pleased with the record amount, she said, but even more impressive is the 572 faculty-staff who participated. This represents almost 25 percent of our employees and a 33 percent increase over last year. Gifts are still being made and will continue to be counted until our fiscal year ends June 30, Babington said. In recognition of their participation we are pleased to announce the following top performing departments::
Babington added that the top performers were recently recognized with a framed certificate. On behalf of our 2009 SIUe Day Chair, Associate Professor Larry LaFond (chair of the Department of English Language and Literature) and the SIUe Day committee, we send our congratulations to these department winners and much appreciation to all those who participated.
Photos are available by clicking on the numbers at right: 1 | 2 | 3 |Photo 1The Early Childhood Center (from left) are: (first row) Sheri Rallo, Deena Gaddy, Amie Sudbring, Mary Blain, Stephanie Henschen, Amber Larson; (second row) Beth Martens, Christy Horton, Trish Ohm, Trisha McCulloch, Elizabeth Mayfield, Judy Ryder, Julie Babington, Lora Flamm Miles and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Nobby Emmanuel. Photo 2Nursing recognition (from left): Julie Babington, Marcia Maurer, Larry LaFond, Rhonda Comrie (SON faculty representative for SIUe Day) and Annette Musenbrock (SON staff representative for SIUe Day). Photo 3: Student Affairs (from left) Julie Babington, Phil Veenstra, Angie Trout, Diane Albl, Nobby Emmanuel, Jim Klenke, Lora Flamm Miles, Kara Shustrin and Larry LaFond. (SIUE Photos by Denise Macdonald)
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Students from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's School of Engineering recently took part in a concrete cube competition through the school's American Concrete Institute (ACI) Chapter.
Team members included construction management majors: seniors Nick Baker and Matt Bennett, and juniors Mike Shaughnessy and Dan Vielhaber. The students learned about how various methods can influence concrete's behavior. The experience will help prepare the students for the ACI Spring Convention in Chicago, which includes a concrete bowling ball and pervious concrete competition.
For more information about the ACI student competition, contact Anne Werner, SIUE assistant professor of construction management, firstname.lastname@example.org.
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) A physics faculty member and two students from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville recently attended a workshop on astronomy and new media in the Netherlands.
Research Associate Lecturer Pamela Gay and computer science students Mark Sands, a junior, and Cory Lehan, a senior, spent a week at the Lorentz Center at Leiden University in Leiden, the Netherlands, discussing with other scientists various ways to communicate science to diverse audiences.
A major topic of the conference was how blogs, podcasts and social networking are being used to generate public interest in the science of astronomy.
The popularity of the Galaxy Zoo project, along with the wide use of user-friendly Google Sky and Microsoft Worldwide Telescope technology, has created an atmosphere for the cultivation of "citizen scientists," according to a news release sent out by Astronomy 2009 organizers.
The release further stated themes covered during the meeting included citizen science projects, new media for outreach and communication, network-based research tools and data visualization. Brainstorming sessions were held about development of new ideas and applications to promote citizen involvement in the field of astronomy, as well as future discovery and the production of new scientific results.
Astronomy 2009 was held in conjunction with the International Year of Astronomy 2009. It was supported by the Lorentz Center, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, Astron, the European program RadioNet, the British Council/Platform Beta Techniek's Partnership in Science program and the Royal Astronomical Society.
For more information visit: dotastronomy.com, lorentzcenter.nl, Twitter: @dotastronomy and dotastronomy.com.
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Southern Illinois University Edwardsville recently welcomed visitors from around the United States, Canada and Poland.
Faculty showcased campus green roof projects on top of the SIUE School of Engineering Building and the Student Success Center. SIUE faculty members Serdar Celik, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering; Susan Morgan, chair and professor of civil engineering; and Bill Retzlaff, associate professor of biological sciences and chair of that department, presented during the conference and then led the visitors on a campus tour.
The international visitors, including more than 20 faculty, students and practitioners, were in St. Louis attending the Sixth International Phytotechnologies Conference. Celik, Morgan and Retzlaff presented a general overview of the projects on campus, demonstrated green roof module testing in the School of Engineering's wind tunnel and discussed analyses of the suspended solids and turbidity in green roof runoff being conducted as part of a master's student's thesis.
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Aldemaro Romero Jr., who was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences earlier this year at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, recently donated his personal papers to SIUEs Elijah P. Lovejoy Memorial Library. The collection contains thousands of scientific journal articles, various writings, photographic slides, audio tapes and source documentssome of which date back to the 16th Centuryfrom the many fields of biology and oceanography. As a person who has used archives from many libraries in many countries, I know that documentation makes a difference in the nature of the modern library, Romero said.
The entire collection consists of more than 50,000 items, collected individually over a lifetime of research, spanning some four decades. As far as I am aware, this is the most comprehensive collection of printed material on cave biology and the largest private collection of marine mammal documentation, Romero said. The collection also contains Romeros personal archive of the saga of his journeys from around the world.
Regina McBride, dean of library and information services at SIUE, said, the collection is a great resource to SIUE students and faculty conducting research in the fields of biology, marine biology, political science and cultural history. The collection is part of what makes Lovejoy Library unique and we are very grateful for Dean Romeros support. Romero said he believes giving his collection to SIUE demonstrates his commitment to SIUE as an excellent academic institution and that he hopes the gesture encourages other scholars to leave their academic legacies for future generations.
A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Romero earned a bachelors in biology (zoology emphasis) at the University of Barcelona, Spain, in 1977. He continued his work as a science writer in both Spain and Venezuela and, in 1981, became a graduate student in biology at the University of Miami, Florida, where he studied the evolutionary biology of cave fishes. Romero went on to work as the Venezuela program director of The Nature Conservancy in Washington, D.C., and in 1986 founded The Venezuelan Foundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity (BIOMA) with headquarters in Caracas. He became an associate professor and director of the Environmental Studies Program at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., where he continued his teaching and research in the areas of cave fish behavior and the environmental history of marine mammals.
Since 2003, Romero has been professor of biological sciences and chair of that department at Arkansas State University. He created a host of new courses in the areas of biospeleology, marine mammals, history and philosophy of science, science in the cinema and science communication. Throughout his career, Romero published more than 560 pieces including numerous books, peer-reviewed publications and monographs on a wide variety of subjects including cave biology, marine mammals, paleontology, environmental studies, and history and philosophy of science. He has produced, written, and, in many cases, directed and hosted about 1,500 radio broadcasts and 50 television shows, including award-winning nature documentaries.
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Construction on the new Science Building at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is expected to begin this month or January, according to top University administrators. Less than two weeks after an official groundbreaking ceremony at SIUE to mark the construction of a new Science Building, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn released $52.5 million in funding from the states capital construction bill. The total estimated cost for the project, which includes renovation of the existing science building, is $78.9 million.
"The contract has been awarded for the site work, a pre-construction meeting was last week and we can break ground with bulldozers this month or early January," said Kenn Neher, SIUE vice chancellor for administration. The bill, approved earlier this year, calls for a total of $168.1 million in capital funding for the SIU system, which includes the Edwardsville, Alton, Carbondale and Springfield campuses. The Edwardsville project is part of the Illinois Jobs Now bill, a statewide package signed by the governor and projected to be worth about $31 billion.
Neher said the projected move-in date on the Science Building will be around November 2011. Funds are available from the states sale of bonds that are restricted only for the purpose of approved capital funding projects. The University is extremely pleased, Neher said. We have been working on this for more than 10 years and it will mean a tremendous amount for the growth of the University, the economic development of Southwestern Illinois, and the training and education of a highly qualified workforce for Southern Illinois."
According to SIUE Provost Paul Ferguson, this timely construction of the SIUE Science Building will provide essential classrooms, laboratories and equipment to support the contemporary research of our basic sciences faculty and students, as well as to provide state-of-the-art learning environments for the many students in our rapidly growing science and health science programs. This facility will greatly further our commitment to increasing the number of health care professionals in response to significant manpower shortages and will enhance the national recognition of academic excellence at SIUE, Ferguson said.
Overcrowding in current labs, as well as antiquated equipment, has led to faculty teaching laboratory classes seven days per week, said SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift during a Dec. 2 groundbreaking ceremony. The lack of a new science building has been the single most important factor limiting future growth at SIUE. We can now properly address that. We are thankful for the support of the Governor, our local legislative delegation, the labor and business community, SIU President (Glenn) Poshard and all those who have enabled this day. SIUE is home to programs in dental medicine, nursing, pharmacy and the sciences.
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The 10th Annual Friends of Theater and Dance (FOTAD) Trivia Night is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at the James F. Metcalf Theater on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. FOTAD is a support organization for the SIUE Department of Theater and Dance. The doors will open at 6 p.m., with the game scheduled to begin promptly at 7. Proceeds from the event benefit FOTADs student merit award fund for qualified SIUE students majoring in theater and dance at the University.
Winners of the competition will receive 1st ($160), 2nd ($80), or 3rd prize ($40) for scoring the most points per table. Reservations may be made for tables of no more than eight. The evening will offer challenging trivia, during the regular question-and-answer sessions and during survivor trivia. Free popcorn and pretzels will be offered; also, soft drinks will be available for purchase. Tickets are $10 per person; a table of eight, $80. A $40 deposit must be received by Jan. 14 to guarantee a table will be held. Make checks payable to the SIUE Foundation and send it to Greg Conroy, 217 N. Buchanan St., Edwardsville, IL 62025-1740.
To make reservations, call (618) 692.0874; participants must arrive by 6:50 p.m. or their reservation may be given away, unless a 50 percent deposit has been received.
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The Friends of Lovejoy Library through Southern Illinois University Edwardsville are searching for tomorrow's writers among area high school students.
The organization is looking for entries for the 2010 High School Writers' Contest in the following categories:
o Fiction - 3,000 words or less;
o Non-fiction - 2,000 words or less;
o Poetry - 40 lines or less.
Prizes will be awarded in the amount of $500 for first prize; $300 for second prize and $100 for third prize. All contestants will receive a Certificate of Recognition.
Those eligible to compete are juniors and seniors from Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, St. Clair and Washington counties in Illinois. Submissions must be postmarked by Feb. 12, 2010.
For more information visit, siue.edu/lovejoylibrary/friends/contest.shtml; e-mail email@example.com or call (618) 650-2730. Sponsors are the Friends of Lovejoy Library, State Farm Insurance, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and SIUE.
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) (EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Pamela Gay, a physics research associate lecturer at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Mark Sands, a junior computer science major at the University, recently attended a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Tweetup at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The two had a front-row seat with more than 100 other Twitter users and social media masters to witness the second-to-last launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, as part of a coordinated social media experience. The event was coordinated by NASA and drew more than 150,000 virtual followers.
It is NASA's hope that the number of individuals following the information could reach into the millions.
Gay has been maintaining her own blog about the experience, as well as her personal and professional experiences, at starstryder.com. She and Sands have Twitter accounts at starstryder and marksands, respectively, which are openly accessible to the public. Individuals also may follow NASA Astronauts Twitter account at twitter.com/NASA_Astronauts.
Sands appeared on SpaceFlightNow's video coverage of the event and NASA TV, while both Sands and Gay were interviewed for an upcoming PBS documentary about their experiences.
For more information about space shuttle Atlantis STS-129 mission, visit nasa.gov/shuttle. To view all NASA Twitter and other social media accounts, visit http://www.nasa/gov/connect. Images are available for viewing through Flickr.com.
The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in Alton is collaborating with the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute (SCCI) at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield to provide onsite evaluations of patients with head and neck tumors. The biweekly service will be provided by fellowship-trained head and neck surgeons from the medical school, according to Dr. K. Thomas Robbins, SCCI director.
The goal is to perform a complete patient evaluation at the School of Dental Medicine in Alton, explained Robbins. This will be followed by a review of the clinical findings, radiological studies and pathology at the weekly comprehensive treatment planning conference conducted by SIUs Head and Neck Oncology Team or HANOT. The process will allow evaluations to be completed without the need for patients to travel to Springfield unless cancer surgery is required. HANOT is a multidisciplinary treatment team that includes head and neck surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists who determine the most current and appropriate treatment options for each patient. Other specialists include pathologists, oral surgeons, dentists, social workers, dietitians and nurses.
While patient care and service is our primary goal, we also expect this clinic to help meet the educational goals of the medical and dental schools at SIU, Robbins added. Letters about the new service are being sent to physicians and dentists in Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Monroe and Randolph counties. Appointments may be made weekdays by contacting one of the nurses in SIUs HANOT office at (217) 545-7607, (217) 545-6150, or the surgery appointment desk, (217) 545-6099.
The mission of the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU is to serve the people of Central and Southern Illinois by addressing present and future cancer care needs through medical education, biomedical research and patient service. HANOT is one of the centers 11 cancer care teams. For more information, visit the Web site: www.siumed.edu/cancer.
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees today gave authorization to the boards executive committee to award contracts for replacing an SIUE Cougar Village apartment building that was destroyed by fire in August. The loss was estimated at $1.6 million and the full board gave approval for the project and budget at its September meeting. The board gave the executive committee authorization today at its regular meeting on the campus of SIU Carbondale. The boards next full meeting wont occur until February. The authorization was given so that the project will move along in timely fashion for the new buildings expected fall 2010 opening.
According to Edwardsville Fire Chief Brian Wilson Jr., the fire that gutted the eight-unit residential building at 529 Cougar Village was caused by a lightning strike. The 32 students who were scheduled to live in the unit this fall semester were re-assigned to other space in the apartment complex. Two students already moved into an apartment unit got out of the burning building largely thanks to SIUE Police Officer Dan Murphy who spotted the fire and pounded on front doors to roust anyone who may have been inside. No one was injured. Wilson concluded lightning caused the fire because of burn patterns and other evidence indicating the blaze started in the attic. It was also noted that there was no evidence of cooking in the building at the time nor was there evidence of combustibles.
At todays meeting the board noted that the new building will be similar in design but will include updated green-building features and other enhancements. The board also noted the project will be funded through insurance proceeds, the SIU self-insurance program, housing revenues and the Universitys Repair and Replacement Reserve Fund.
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville chapter of the Illinois Education Association (IEA) received a $1,000 grant from the state IEA to help provide needed materials and services to the Madison County Detention Center in Edwardsville. Originally, the chapter proposed a grant to help the community at-large but consulted with the School of Education faculty who suggested the Center be the focus of the grant. As a result, the grant will be used to provide backpacks, books, writing supplies, water bottles, and tutoring to the student population at the Detention Center. This has been a multiple year project started by Past-President Angela Thole, said Curriculum and Instruction Professor Randall Smith, adviser to the organization. Now, it has been brought to fruition with the help of current President Andrea Reiser.
A photo suitable for print is available: From left to right are student IEA members Alyssa Reppell (front), Michael Ruggless, Kristene Mense and Kyle Mackley, as well as Mary Weishaar, associate dean of the School of Education; Andrea Reiser, president of the IEA chapter; Nikita Fanning; Caitlin McCarthy; Jill Kaufman and Curriculum and Instruction Professor Randall Smith (in back).
(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has appointed Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard to the P-20 Council, a key statewide advisory panel that will make recommendations to the Governor about strengthening the states education system. The P-20 (pre-school through graduate school) Council will play an instrumental role in Illinois quest to win approximately $400 million in federal Race to the Top discretionary funds. Poshard, who will serve as the Councils public university representative, was among 23 members appointed to the group Monday by the Governor.
I am honored to accept the Governors request to serve on The P-20 Council, Poshard said. This is a tremendous opportunity for the states entire educational system to come together and make fundamental and lasting improvements on behalf of our children. The Council will study and review education programs at all levelsfrom early childhood to graduate programs. The Council also is charged with finding ways to improve teaching and learning; to assure readiness and smooth transitions for students at each level of their education; and to cultivate and demonstrate accountability and efficiency in all school programs from pre-school to college.
With these appointments, Illinois is sending a strong signal to Washington that a top-notch education for all students is a foremost priority, said Gov. Quinn. This council will recommend improvements that will make our education system the best it can be, while ensuring Illinois is at the head of the class when it comes to winning those important federal Race to the Top funds.
The U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top is a $4.35 billion competitive grant process focused on innovative approaches to education. Illinois could receive approximately $400 million in discretionary funds made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The 23 appointments made by the Governor include business leaders, teachers, parents and civic groups, as well as university, community college and school officials. There are four legislative members on the council and six ex-officio members from state agencies. Gov. Quinns appointments to the Illinois P-20 Council include:
|Miguel del Valle, Chair||Glenn Poshard||John Luczak||John Rico|
|Joshua Anderson||Ray Hancock||Dea Meyer||Kathy Ryg|
|Perry Buckley||Ron Huberman||Fr. Dennis Holtschneider||Audrey Soglin|
|Ron Bullock||Dr. Erika Hunt||Jeff Owens||Robin Steans|
|Sharon Thomas Parrot||Debra Kasperski||Cynthia Plouche||Rick Stephens|
|Debra Strauss||Maggie Laslo||Laurel Prussing|
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn, flanked by SIU administrators, lawmakers and developers turned dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony, ushering in the building phase of the new Science Building Complex on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus.
For more than a decade, SIUE has planned and offered annual presentations to the state legislature in support of a new facility, as well as revisions to the existing Science Building. Last year, the University was promised $78.9 million from the Illinois General Assembly, as part of the Illinois Jobs Now bill, which is a statewide package signed by the governor and projected to be worth about $31 billion.
The SIU system, which includes the Edwardsville, Alton, Carbondale and Springfield campuses, is set to receive a total of $168.1 million in capital funding from the state.
"SIUE has grown up and it continues to grow and thrive," said SIU President Glenn Poshard. "This project is the latest and greatest example of how far this institution has come and the potential for its future growth and success.
"These improvements, and the new building, are critical to alleviate overcrowding and replace antiquated lab equipment and materials."
Overcrowding in current labs, as well as antiquated equipment, have led to faculty teaching laboratory classes seven days per week, said SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift, adding: "Following a decade of significant growth and demonstrated need, today marks a turning point in the life of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. We are thrilled to break ground on the Science Building complex, a much-needed facility that will allow us to meet the academic demands of our current students.
"The lack of a new science building has been the single most important factor limiting future growth of SIUE. We can now properly address that. We are thankful for the support of the Governor, our local legislative delegation, the labor and business community, President Poshard and all those who have enabled this day."
Local labor leaders and legislatures turned out to participate in the ceremony, along with a large showing of support from SIUE faculty, staff and students.
According to SIUE Provost Paul Ferguson, "This timely construction of the SIUE Science Building will provide essential classrooms, laboratories, and equipment to support the contemporary research of our basic sciences faculty and students as well as to provide state-of-the-art learning environments for the many students in our rapidly growing science and health science programs."
"This facility will greatly further our commitment to increasing the number of health care professionals in response to significant manpower shortages and will enhance the national recognition of academic excellence at SIUE."
The new building and renovations will allow SIUE to more readily meet national needs, concerning projected shortages in the hundreds of thousands in health care fields by 2020. SIUE is home to the schools of Nursing and Pharmacy, and science programs through the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the SIU School of Dental Medicine in Alton.
A photo suitable for print is available: (From left to right) Ill. Reps. Thomas Holbrook, Dan Beiser (in background), and Dan Rietz; SIU President Glenn Poshard; Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn; SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift; Ill. Sen. Deanna Demuzio; Ill. Reps. Jay Hoffman and Ron Stephens; and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Aldemaro Romero (SIUE Photo by Bill Brinson)
(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The world premiere of Whammy!!: The Seven Secrets to a Sane Self , a play written and directed by Chuck Harper, is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, at the James F. Metcalf Theater at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Harper, a professor of theater and dance at SIUE and head of the performance area in the department, said the play explores Americas obsession with, and addiction to, self-help and self-actualization.
Whammy! began with a question: What would happen if you took the idea of self-help, and the industry that surrounds it, smashed it together with Stanley Kubricks 1964 comic film, Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and then looked at this smashup through the lens of a dream? Over the course of my research I ended up with two questions: 1) How is it that the most affluent and comfortable society in the history of the western world can produce so many profoundly unhappy or unsatisfied people? and 2) As Walker Percy asks in his book, Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, Why is it possible to learn more about the Crab Nebula, which is 6,000 light years away, than you presently know about yourself even though youve been stuck with yourself all your life?
The play has been called a montage-based original performance that combines video, movement, found text and original text, as well as real-time audience happiness quizzes. Harper explained that the play went through developmental workshops in St. Louis over the course of two weeks. The original two questions posed were discussed and several of the movement sections were created by me and collaborator Mikey Butane, he said. In September, rehearsals started with the SIUE cast, and we all began keeping dream journals. As an ensemble we wove these dream images together with the elements of song, dance, and text, through structured improvisation, into the thing audiences will see on stage hereplay? dance? performance?
Whammy! will continue at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 3-5, and Friday-Saturday, Dec. 11-12, as well as 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 and 13. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $8 for senior citizens, non-SIUE students with a valid student I.D, and SIUE faculty, staff and alumni. All SIUE students with a valid I.D. are free thanks to the Campus Activities Board. For tickets or more information call the SIUE Fine Arts box office, (618) 650-2774, or toll free, (888) 328-5168, ext. 2774. Visit the Web site: www.siue.edu/THEATER.
A photo of the cast is available by clicking here. From left, members of the cast include: Phil Leveling, Maggie Conroy, Sarah McKenney, Anna Skidis and Rachel Fenton. In the back is Spenser Greentree. (SIUE Photo by Bill Brinson)