Higher Education: SWIC invites area residents to contribute to art project

Scott Wuerz
Scott Wuerz

If you knew that tomorrow was your last day on earth, what would you want to do?

Stop by Southwestern Illinois College’s Schmidt Art Center patio on the Belleville Campus and tell the world as part of an exhibition called “Before I Die” that opened Monday and runs through Dec. 4.

Using chalk, visitors to the wall will complete lines that begin “Before I die I want to...”

The interactive wall exhibition is the idea of artist Candy Chang. After losing someone she loved and experiencing deep depression, she created the first wall on an abandoned house in her neighborhood to create an anonymous place to help restore perspective and share intimately while remaining an introvert.

The art piece encouraged anyone to walk up, pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in this public space. Since that first board went up in New Orleans, La., more than 1,000 walls in more than 35 languages and more than 70 countries have appeared. A book by the same name also celebrates these walls and the stories behind them.

“It was a really interesting concept presented to us by adjunct psychology faculty member Maggie Boone Tribout and Sharon Egler, owner of the Miscellanea House Café, who work with a similar board at Belleville’s Death Café,” Curator Nicole Dutton said. “The art center is teaming with instruction, the Visual Arts Club and College Activities to sponsor this thought-provoking work and invite both students and community members to share items on their bucket lists.”

When the exhibition closes, it will be moved to a permanent installation site, the Death Café — hosted at the Miscellana House Café, 1111 W. Main St. in Belleville.

McKendree speech and debate team takes home awards

The McKendree University speech and debate team won 22 awards in its two most-recent competitions.

Representing McKendree at Southwest Baptist Oct. 3 were juniors Dylan Comer, Katie Reining and Taylor Rossi; sophomore Hannah Zickefoose; and first-years Aliyah Smith and Emma Webster.

“Despite a much smaller entry, we came in second place as a team,” assistant speech coach Stephen Hagan said. “That is attributable to the hard work and talent this group has.”

Zickefoose won tournament championships in both the after dinner speaking and poetry interpretation categories. He took second and fifth place in programmed oral interpretation and extemporaneous speaking. Reining finished second in both after dinner speaking and informative speaking. She placed third in poetry interpretation.

In dramatic interpretation, Comer took third place, while Webster finished fifth and also won top novice in the event. Rossi placed fourth in informative speaking, and Smith took top novice in prose.

In individual sweepstakes, Zickefoose came in second, and Reining was fourth. As a school, McKendree finished in second place in team sweepstakes.

Sophomores Alex Baldwin, Beth Graham, Adam Kaul, Jazzmine Mitchell and Gage Simmons; and first-year Justin Faust represented McKendree at the Loyola University tournament Sept 25-27.

In the first half of the tournament, the team of Baldwin and Simmons finished with a 3-1 record. They finished in fifth place after losing in quarterfinals to Washburn University.

The novice team of Fausz and Mitchell went 2-2, just missing the break to final rounds. Simmons also took eighth speaker at the tournament.

In the second half, Baldwin and Simmons posted a 4-1 record. After defeating Cedarville University in quarterfinals, they lost to another Cedarville team in semifinals, taking third place at the tournament.

The team of Graham and Kaul went 3-2 and finished as quarter finalists. Baldwin and Simmons were recognized as the fourth and fifth place speakers, respectively.

The McKendree University speech and debate team will compete at the University of Central Missouri on Oct. 17-18.

SIUE STEM Center to hold open house

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Research, Education and Outreach is inviting the public to its Resource Center open house from 3 to 6 p.m. Oct. 22 in room 1304 of the Vadalabene Center.

The STEM Resource Center offers materials and written resources to educators and families in the area, free of charge. The point is to help provide them with the tools they need to better teach the next generation of researchers, engineers and scientists.

“Science and math topics are greatly improved with tools and demonstrations that can be prohibitively expensive or technical for everyone to have access,” Resource Center Director Colin Wilson said. “Through grants, donations and outreach programming, we are able to make exemplary education available to everyone.”

Allycia Drummond of Mascoutah Middle School said the resource center has really helped her to upgrade her lessons.

“The STEM Resource Center is phenomenal,” Drummond said. “I’ve been able to incorporate so much more technology in my classroom thanks to the resources I’ve accessed through the center.”

Wilson said the open house will be both educational and entertaining.

“People will have the chance to interact with our items and see some fun demonstrations,” he explained. “Along with the demonstrations, attendees can expect to see new materials on display and participate in our raffle drawings.”

The Resource Center is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information call 618-650-3065.