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Louie Villanueva

Academic conference to take over campus in spring semester

By Melanie Woods, April 4 2016 —

Students enrolled in spring semester classes will get a week off at the end of May when Canada’s largest annual gathering of scholars comes to campus. The University of Calgary will host Canada’s annual Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences from May 28–June 3. Over 8,000 scholars will attend.

English professor Bart Beaty is the chair of Congress 2016. He said the event is a generational opportunity.

“We like to refer to it as the academic Olympics of Canada,” Beaty said.

Congress will feature events organized and hosted by individual scholarly associations. Many are open to the public. Beaty said highlights include interdisciplinary sessions hosted by each faculty and “Big Thinking” lectures.

“One of the reasons we want to do the interdisciplinary days is to showcase the strengths of research that’s going on and the strengths of the faculty here,” Beaty said.

The Faculty of Nursing will host author Margaret Atwood on March 29 as part of a session on “Compassion under Contemporary Conditions.” On June 3, the Faculty of Arts will host a session on “Spaces of Gender and Sexual Security” with retired Canadian lieutenant-general Romeo Dallaire.

Big Thinking lectures will be free and open to the public every day from 12:15–1:15 p.m. at the Rozsa Centre. Keynotes include author and journalist Naomi Klein, Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley MacLachlan and Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Beaty said the event will suspend the spring term for a week at the end of May.

“We are taking over every single classroom on campus,” Beaty said. “So the registrar has stopped spring term. There will be a disruption for students who are enrolling in the spring term.”

Students’ Union vice-president student life Kirsty McGowan sat on the Congress planning committee. She hopes students take advantage of the week off.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity to attend some of the events that Congress is hosting,” McGowan said. “Every student student that’s enrolled in the spring will be able to find something they can relate to their classes.”

The U of C is looking for 350 student volunteers to handle check-ins, crowd control and directional support for the event.

“We’re giving people food — and on the final day beer — and t-shirts. If people volunteer for five shifts and do 20 hours it’s part of their co curricular record and would appear on their transcript,” Beaty said.

More information on Congress 2016 can be found at congress2016.ca


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