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Eight anniversary projects receive grant funding

January 22, 2020

A wide-ranging group of projects have been chosen to receive grant funding as part of NIU’s 125th Anniversary celebration

Selected by committee, the eight winners were chosen based on how well they will build awareness of the university’s impressive history and promising future, as well as support NIU’s mission, vision and values.

NIU History Calendar

Using pictures from the University Archives, Library Dean Fred Barnhart and his staff have created a 125th Anniversary calendar. The calendar includes photographs from the archives, as well as key dates from NIU’s history. A limited supply of the calendars are available at Founders Library on the 4th floor. 

A Showcase of Southeast Asian Visual and Performing Arts

Honoring the university’s long and deep connection to Southeast Asia, the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies are holding a showcase of Southeast Asian arts in a concert slated for April 4 in Boutell Concert Hall. The event will include Southeast Asian shadow puppetry, Northeastern Thai music, West Javanese music, classical Cambodian music and Indonesian dance.  Incorporating the visual arts, there will be an exhibit of contemporary Burmese painting on display for three weeks during April in the Music Building Recital Hall gallery. Associate Professor Jui-Ching Wang of the School of Music is leading the project.

Huskie-Go 125

Based on the popular Poke-Go virtual game, Huskie-Go is creating a new virtual treasure hunt where participants can earn points and win prizes. The augmented reality scavenger hunt connects real places on campus with an app-based game to answer virtual trivia questions about NIU’s 125-year history. Participants will download a free app that will read QR codes found at significant locations across campus. The game will be launched on March 16, after students return from Spring Break.  It will be repeated in the fall with a new set of questions. Judith Dymond in NIU Outreach is leading the project.

River Weaving

This creative project utilizes the natural environment to celebrate the significance of the Kishwaukee River in NIU’s past, present and future. Professor John Siblik of NIU’s School of Art and Design will place 90 woven elements into a section of river that runs through campus, the elements providing the “warp” and the river the “weft of the weave.” It will be installed during a 14-day period this summer, and audience members will be able to learn more during an unveiling and “walk with the artist” lecture on July 15. River Weaving is meant as a subtle visual metaphor to remind us of the need to be mindful and appreciative of the natural world.

Somos Huskies (We Are Huskies): LatinX Students in the 1970s and 1980s

Focused on Latinx students who attended NIU in the ‘70s and ‘80s, this project includes an oral history and a “pop-up museum” that will illustrate the enduring legacy of Latinx students on campus. Created by the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies, the project looks at a time period when Latinx students and faculty were advocating for greater academic support, visibility and resources. Latinx alumni from the period will attend an event during Homecoming 2020 and will be asked to bring items including photos, artwork, diaries, clothing and other personal effects from that era to help build a collection that speaks to the Latinx experience at NIU. Christine Abreu, Ph.D., directs the project.

Forward Together: Celebrating NIU’s Native American Past, Present and Future

Creating greater awareness of Native American people, traditions and legacies at NIU and in the northern Illinois region is the aim of an anniversary project led by Melissa Adams-Campbell, associate professor of English, and Natalie Joy, associate professor of History. A campus exhibit will celebrate Native American students and their activism. The project will also draw awareness to the interconnectedness of Native American and African American communities, including the commemorative naming of DuSable Hall.

Organizers are partnering with NIU’s office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to draft a public statement acknowledging NIU’s location on the traditional homelands of the Sauk, Meskwaki and Potawatomi nations. They plan to bring Native American leaders to campus for a land acknowledgement ceremony this fall.

125 Years of Preparing Teachers

During Homecoming in October, the College of Education will celebrate NIU’s beginnings as a normal school with an alumni and community event near the Milan Township One Room Schoolhouse on campus. Guided tours of the schoolhouse will be supplemented by a live history walk through exhibits in a large tent nearby. Each decade in NIU’s teacher preparation history will be featured, while key advancements and innovations in education will be highlighted. Susan Mizgalski of COE is coordinating the project. 

Huskie Philanthropy: 125 Years of Giving to NIU

Students in NIU’s Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies have embarked on a year-long research project to create profiles of the institution’s philanthropists. The final project will look at NIU donors by the decade, and will include people who have given not only dollars, but also time and talent to the university. The resulting collection will be published digitally on the Center’s website and may continue beyond the 2020 anniversary year. Professor Alicia Schatteman leads the project.