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GMC supports academic programs

By Veronica Benvenuto
On November 12, 2013

Sonoma State is bringing about change beyond the standard lecture in the classroom by providing insight for the students to learn and the community to engage with speakers in the Green Music Center.
The Green Music Center Board of Advisors and University Affairs Committee approved $97,450 in new funding for several programs that have been proposed for academic integration in 2013-2014. The departments include chemistry, the Writing Center, Associated Students Productions, Transition Programs, modern languages and literatures, the School of Arts and Humanities, communication studies, theater arts and dance, SSU Preserves, physics, engineering, computer science, astronomy and music.
The vision is for the projects to develop and showcase academic interaction with the GMC in novel and exciting ways.
"There are hopes that the community will come together, and not just students, but also anyone who wants to gain interests in the subjects," said chemistry professor Monica Lares.
The first event put on by the chemistry department will be a lecture presented by Nobel Laureate Lou Ignarro. Afterward there will be reception for invited guests that will include students, faculty, local industry and local scientific researchers. The second event will be the Chemistry of Wine Lecture. Following the lecture will be a wine-tasting reception with local wineries.
 "We know that the subject chemistry can come off intimidating to most people and we want to gain a better interest," said Lares.
The overall goal is to fund proposals that demonstrate tangible connections between the academic program and the Green Music Center. It is an open and competitive process, and submissions from tenured and tenure-track faculty resulted in nine proposals.
The Green Music Center Board of Advisors and University Affairs Committee met to collaborate and go over each of the proposals and budgets to divvy the funds.
"The goal is to have the majority of the students to come and engage. We started brainstorming speakers a few weeks ago on what the students can be very much interested. This is just the beginning, and it will keep on building," said Programs Coordinator for Associated Students Productions Bruce Berkowitz.
This will be the first year for most of the departments working together, which can allow for the students to gain more knowledge and interests in different subjects through lectures, or working together to build something fascinating.
For instance, the Fall Dance Concert will include theatre arts and dance working with biology and engineering to help explore the rich soundscapes of SSU's Preserves, while learning about the changing ecology of Sonoma County through a dynamic, multimedia performance called Soundscape Project. Renowned bioacoustics expert Bernie Krause will mentor the Soundscape Project, which could not have been possible without the Green Music Center grants.
"The purpose is to connect the Green Music Center, academics, the facilities, students, and sounds of nature so we can collaborate across campus to create something magical," said Dance Department Chair Kristen Daley.
The second part of the Theatre and Dance department's project will occur in the second year, in which they will be working to partner with the Oakland School for the Arts, which is devoted to intensive pre-professional training in the arts within a college-preparatory syllabus.
Some of the funds from the theatre arts and dance proposal go to providing transportation for these to students so they can participate, which can be a stepping stone for being a part of the Sonoma State community.


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