Students, faculty and staff, and community members explored the many definitions and meanings of home – a physical place, the university, a neighborhood, town, state, country, geographic area, and planet – and their roles in each. The theme also allowed students to develop a sense of place and gain knowledge of a particular area: Winona, Minnesota, situated in the driftless area of bluff country. Students were encouraged to explore the history, politics, health, culture, geology and geography of this area as well as their particular relationship to their residence hall or neighborhood. They discovered different ways of experiencing “home” and develop ways to appreciate a particular place as members of a distinct community.
Special events included the Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s photographic exhibit during the fall of 2011, Portrait and Place, by Drake Hokanson and James Bowey, both WSU faculty members. The Integrated Wellness Complex sponsored the Duniya Drum and Dance Troupe. The CLASP (Consortium of Liberal Arts and Science Promotion) lecture series, fall Swan Watch tour, Lyceum events, including Shakti Butler, David Kung, and Charles Trimble as well as the Common Book, Packinghouse Daughter, by Cherie Register, focused on different ways to interpret home and a sense of place, and how those interpretations relate to our direct experiences. One student project involved “Absent Narratives,” interviews with immigrants and refugees who work in the area, but who are in many ways invisible in the community. This will be part of The Way We Work exhibit at the Winona County History Center in December, 2012. In addition, the Student Life and Development division completed the development of a restorative justice program aimed at assisting students to develop an appreciation of and respect for their neighbors and neighborhoods in their daily interactions.