Category: Featured Connections

UW-Green Bay Featured stories


Labyrinth walk has deep significance in a year of religious turmoil

Creating and walking a labyrinth has been a capstone activity for award-winning Prof. Regan Gurung’s freshman seminar: “Gods, Ghosts and Goblins,” each year. This year, however, it may take on just a bit more meaning, and move students a bit more deeply.

“Our seminar class will be creating our own labyrinth and walking it to personify many elements of class discussion and experience first hand the wisdom of the ancients,” explains Gurung. “Given the secular nature of the experience and significant current religious turmoil and prejudices abounding, we will highlight a message of acceptance by also adding symbols of many different belief systems. It is important to be knowledgeable about diverse beliefs and respect people’s decision to pick their beliefs. Just like the rotten fruit, we should not allow one bad apple to taint the entire bushel.”

Gurung says strong a college experience always sparks intellectual growth and venturing into new ideas.

“One of the most fascinating topics of growth is belief,” says Gurung. “Humans hold many diverse beliefs and over the centuries gods, ghosts, and goblins have populated world religions, legends, and mythology. One first year seminar class focuses on answering the question of why people believe. What purpose does it serve? How do beliefs grow? This interdisciplinary class examines different disciplines such as psychology, biology, anthropology, and theology, to answer these questions.

Gurung says that at the core of most belief systems is reflection and one of the longest standing means of reflection is the labyrinth.

“Humans have used labyrinths for centuries as a means of meditation and reflection, to take a break from the world walking into its center, before walking back out into the world again (a labyrinth has only one path, unlike a maze which has many),” he explains. “In true interdisciplinary fashion, the labyrinth also blends science, art, and religion, both in the knowledge needed to create one, and in understanding the brain activity that takes place when you walk one.”

From medieval times, monks have traveled labyrinths in prayer. St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, for instance, maintains a prayer labyrinth.

“The focus on belief reveals many communalities in purpose, and highlights that regardless of the belief is, the underlying reasons for belief and the way they came about are very often the same.

“In a world with significant ethnic and religious strife, the explorations into belief show how, for the most part, that peoples and the religions of the world are similar. Just like apples and oranges (fruits often exemplified to show difference) are vastly more similar than different, so too are the world’s major religions. And just like you do not throw out an entire bushel for one bad fruit, we should not demonize an entire religion for some extremist practitioners of it.”

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Dan Moore, Outreach and Adult Access


43rd Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition

The Lawton Gallery’s annual juried art exhibition is open to any student enrolled at UW-Green Bay. Consisting solely of student work in a variety of media, the recent exhibition was guest juried by Kendra Bulgrin, director of the James May Gallery in Algoma. All Lawton Gallery events are free and open to the public.

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Kayla Ermer, UW-Green Bay Photography Student


UWGB’s award-winning float

UW-Green Bay’s entry in the Green Bay Holiday Parade earned “best themed” honors for the second straight year. UWGB’s small committee of determined volunteers won the Jean Nicolet Award for “Every time a bell rings, a Phoenix gets its wings.” The theme of the parade was “Sounds of the Season.” In celebration of UWGB’s 50th Anniversary, UWGB Chancellor Gary Miller and Georgia Miller served as parade marshals. With help from the Green Bay dance and cheer teams, student-athletes, alumni, Phuture Phoenix and family of UWGB employees, more than 50 people marched together, handing out candy and celebrating with the projected 10,000 plus in attendance. The Parade Committee also used the float for a service opportunity, collecting hundreds of school supply donations from UWGB faculty, staff, students and administrators, and local businesses, which will be donated in the weeks ahead to students in the Green Bay public schools.

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Kimberly Vlies, Office of Marketing and University Communication


UW-Green Bay Theatre presents “It’s a Wonderful Life”

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Theatre and Dance and Music presents the beloved holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.

The performances of It’s A Wonderful Life will take place Thursday and Friday, Nov. 19-20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cofrin Family Hall at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, UW-Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Drive.

Frank Capra’s classic holiday film was adapted for the stage by Joe Landry in 2006 and quickly became an anticipated annual event in cities across the country. Performed as a live radio broadcast set on Christmas Eve, 1946, audiences are transported to the days of Old Time Radio. An ensemble of 11 actors play dozens of characters, perform commercial jingles and create sound effects to tell the story of Bedford Falls’ George Bailey as he is given a great gift by Clarence Oddbody one fateful Christmas Eve.

Feature-Wonderful-LifeProduction Director and Professor of Theatre, Laura Riddle, is excited to bring It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play to the Weidner Center on the UW-Green Bay campus as a part of the University’s 50th Anniversary celebration. “I have always been a fan of Old Time Radio and tune in to Wisconsin Public Radio every Sunday night to hear rebroadcasts of old radio shows, stories told in a way that invite the listeners to imagine the action in great detail through enhanced underscoring and sound effects. Our production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play treats the audience to a look “behind-the scenes” for a live radio broadcast. The audience sees actors changing characters using only their voices and sound effects are created live at a Foley table using objects from corn flakes to water basins.”

All elements are performed live and include a live band playing popular music and holiday songs from the 1940’s. It’s a Wonderful Life is a collaboration of UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance and UW-Green Bay Music. The original score by Kevin Connors has been custom tailored for the UWGB production by Nick Schommer and Kelsie Holtzheimer, UW-Green Bay Music students who have composed new arrangements and original compositions.

It’s a Wonderful Life directorial/production team: Laura Riddle (Director), Courtney Sherman (Musical Director), Denise Carlson-Gardner (Choreographer), Nick Schommer and Kelsie Holtzheimer (original compositions and arrangements) Jeffrey Paul Entwistle (Scenic Designer), Kaoime E. Malloy (Costume/Make Up Designer), R. Michael Ingraham (Lighting Designer, Technical Designer), Dana Mehlhorn (Sound Designer), Jeff Chesebro and Paul Heim (Foley Designers), David Cook (Assistant Technical Director) Bri Wolfe (Stage Manager).

Wonderful-life2It’s a Wonderful Life cast: Emily Ahrens (Roscoe, IL), Selena Deer (New Berlin, WI), Max Frost (De Pere, WI), Ashley Gutting (Ashwaubenon, WI), Nick Schommer (Jackson, WI), Millie Haushalter (Brillion, WI), Adam Rosenow (Shawano, WI), Talor Sohr (Green Bay, WI), Kit Honkanen (Green Bay, WI), Daniel Taddy (Sturgeon Bay, WI), Tyler Wood (Pulaski, WI)

It’s a Wonderful Life orchestra: Courtney Sherman (Conductor), Laura Cortright, flute (Green Bay, WI), Keton Jennings, sax (Poynette, WI), Gatlin Grimm, trumpet (Green Bay, WI), Joe Russett, trombone (Green Bay, WI), Collin Catalano, upright bass; Bobby Magers, drums (Green Bay, WI), Kyle Sweeney, piano (Fox Point, WI), Ryan Dummer, piano (Green Bay, WI)

It’s a Wonderful Life crew: Matthew Beecher (Assistant Stage Manager) (Milwaukee, WI), Erin Pagenkopf (Assistant Stage Manager) (Sussex, WI), Jake Gerlikovski (Master Electrician) (Green Bay, WI), David Cook (Scene Shop Supervisor), Elizabeth Galba (Costume Shop Supervisor) (Cascade, WI), Cody Von Ruden (Wardrobe Head, Makeup Crew) (Cashton, WI), Katy Kluever (Menasha, WI) and Cody Galligan (Campbellsport, WI) (Wardrobe Crew), Zeb Burks (Sound Technician) (Ettrick, WI), Scene Shop Practicum Students (Carpenters and Costume Technicians), (Electricians and Paint Crew).

Tickets for It’s A Wonderful Life range from $25 to $35. Special pricing for UWGB students is $20. To purchase tickets.



UW-Green Bay named ‘Military Friendly’ again … and vet reminds campus to ‘celebrate daily’

For the seventh consecutive year, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has earned the 2016 Military Friendly® School designation. The designation reflects positive marks in ten categories including military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes, military spouse policies, and more.

“It is definitely an honor to be considered a Military Friendly institution,” says Elaina Koltz, UWGB’s Veterans Services adviser. “Not many will understand exactly what these veterans have gone through.

“When they sign up for their GI Bill, they present their DD214 discharge papers and I get a small peek into their sacrifice. I see the Purple Heart awards; the discharges due to service-connected disabilities and the long periods of time spent in a combat zone.”

Koltz says that she and UW-Green Bay staff colleagues see it as an honor to serve these veterans and their families.

“When you are surrounded by these silent heroes on a daily basis it is an honor to serve them,” she says. “Then you see them graduate and become successful like Staff Sergeant Jared Spude, selected speaker for UW-Green Bay’s Veteran’s Day Reception on Nov. 11, and you are again both inspired and humbled. UW-Green Bay recognizes these sacrifices and responds. That is why it is considered a Military Friendly institution.”

UW-Green Bay alumnus Spude is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and Wisconsin National Guard. He presented an impassioned speech on behalf of Veterans, calling those in attendance to think about veterans and those who serve each day, and not just once a year.

Spude thanked the faculty, staff and administration on behalf of his fellow veterans for “going above and beyond to make sure that our needs our met, and for providing us with the tools to be successful in our educational endeavors.”

The following are some other excerpts from his Veterans Day remarks:

“I’m here to remember, encourage, motivate and challenge each and every one of you to reflect on what today is, what it represents, what the sacrifices remembered here today have brought for us and the great nation that we call home. I’m here to remind us that we all need to take a little time out of our day today—and every day to remember those who have served.

“Winston Churchill said, ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” …That is what Veterans Day is all about. As a nation, we have flourished because we’ve always had citizens willing to stand up and answer the call to serve in hours of need. Today, we honor our veterans, past, and present, for their sacrifice and dedication to our great nation.

“As Americans we forget too often and too quickly what it took and continues to take to be alive… even on a day like today, we want to celebrate, bringing in a little pomp and circumstance when too often we forget about what this day is really about — solemn remembrance, peaceful reflection, active thankfulness.

“My call to action and challenge for you this Veterans Day 2015 is to remember Veterans and all they have done not only today, but every day. Thank a Vet. Find time. Make time in your days to reflect for one minute about what it means to be free and remember the sacrifices it took. Make time to educate your children, serve in your community, help others and most importantly live a life that is worthy of the sacrifices Veterans made to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I challenge you today to find a veteran every day. Whether it is your teacher, your coach, your neighbor, or that guy that sits next to you in church and thank them. Thank them for their service. Thank them for their courage. Their commitment. Their sacrifice. I call you to action. To take time out of your day to stand here and look at old glory. Think about these veterans and other veterans you know. Have some pride for this flag and for our country and in our liberty.

“On this Veterans Day, there is so much to commemorate, and so much more to be thankful for. We would not be where we are today without the heroes we call veterans. Today we have the privilege of honoring this very small and special group of Americans, whose service spans every decade of our country’s existence. We owe them so much. But most importantly we owe them our freedom. And today, especially, we owe them our gratitude. Thank you —and God Bless America.”

Jared Spude is a 2008 graduate of Southern Door High School. He was named UWGB’s outstanding graduate in May 2015. He and his platoon served in Afghanistan. His role was to serve as a master navigator and coordinator from the ground as his platoon controlled fires of mortar tubes and artillery cannons. He continues to serve in the Wisconsin National Guard as an Instructor at the Wisconsin Military Academy, Fort McCoy — which is recognized as one of the outstanding artillery training institutes in the nation. He works full-time as a client services manager for Breakthrough Fuel, in Green Bay.


Slideshow: Flag duty at Lambeau

For the second consecutive year, students and alumni of UW-Green Bay who are veterans or active-duty personnel helped serve as flag holders during opening ceremonies for the Packers’ “Salute to Service” military appreciation game.  The volunteers unfurled a football-field-size Star Spangled Banner at the Nov. 15 game at Lambeau Field. Visit the album on Flickr  to enjoy photos from the day.

(Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view.)

– Photos by Dan Moore, photographer, Office of Outreach and Adult Access


Slideshow, and a Veteran’s Day message: ‘Remember every day those who served’

The UW-Green Bay community celebrated and remembered campus and community military veterans Nov. 11, honoring them with the annual Chancellor’s Veteran Reception in the Phoenix Room of the University Union.

The UW-Green Bay Veterans Day tradition honors past and present service members from all branches of the U.S. military, and specifically recognizes UW-Green Bay students who have returned to school to obtain their degrees.

Retired UWGB Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance Kelly Franz earned special recognition for his deep commitment to military and their families on the UWGB campus.

“We in this country, we enjoy our prosperity and our liberties and I am deeply grateful for the sacrifices and great honor you show to our great nation,” Chancellor Gary L. Miller said, offering welcome remarks on behalf of himself and his wife, Georgia Miller.

The longtime president of UWGB’s Council of Trustees, the school’s first soccer coach and veteran of the United States Marines, Lou LeCalsey, provided perspective on the day’s events.

“As UWGB celebrates 50 years and we are commemorating many different facets of University history this fall, one of the very strongest traditions here involves the commitment to recruit, assist and graduate students who are veterans,” he said.

“…I will forever be proud of my association with UWGB, for many reasons, but that particular commitment ranks near the top.”

LeCalsey also announced that UWGB has been named a “Military Friendly School” for the seventh consecutive year, for going above and beyond to provide services to the military and their families. And then his sentiments turned more somber…

“Yet, on this 96th anniversary of the first Veterans Day… it is impossible not to remember those who died in service. Nor can we forget the ‘delayed’ victims of conflict — those never able to find peace, those who failed to make it ‘all the way home’… Friends, family, current or former military, we are all integral to the great fabric of the United States of America.

“Memorial Day… Veterans Day… Every Day… We treasure our freedom, this nation’s remarkable history, and the men and women who make it possible.”
UW-Green Bay alumnus Staff Sgt. Jared Spude offered an impassioned keynote for the event, echoing the call that veterans should be recognized not only on Veterans Day, but every single day of their lives.

“What I am is a Staff Sgt in the U.S. Army and I am here to motivate you, challenge you, and remind you what this day is all about and take time every single day to think about those who serve.”

Spude ended his remarks with this message: “I encourage you to make time to reflect on what it means to be free and what it has taken to get to where we are today. We walk among heroes every single day who have sacrificed everything for something so much bigger than themselves.”

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Chalk Artist brings fun to University Union

As people traverse the hallways of the UW-Green Bay, they have probably noticed the beautiful chalk drawings that line the walls of University Union, bringing an artistic flare to our everyday lives. They might highlight the latest Coffeehouse brew, or draw attention to the next holiday event.

Who is the creator behind this unique and enjoyable art form? It’s UWGB student Kimmy Schwarzenbart, who has been an artist, of sorts, since her early days of crafts and coloring books.

Schwarzenbart is receiving plenty of praise for her work — most noticeable outside the Phoenix Club and the Common Grounds Coffeehouse, on campus. And just recently, she received a prestigious award for her work — taking home “Best of Show” honors at the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Region V for drawings.

Schwarzenbart even gets paid for her talents, hired as a student graphic designer for the University Union.

“I saw a flier stating that the Union was hiring graphic designers and decided to apply even though I had no experience with graphic design programs at the time…A summer position opened up and I brought some sketchbooks and other art samples to the interview…I was obviously not ready for a graphic design position yet but, to my surprise, was hired to do the chalk drawings instead.”

Schwarzenbart is a Business Administration major with minors in Studio Art and Design Arts. She was inspired to declare her art minors by her teachers and supporters who would see her overwhelming amount of notebook sketches and encouraged her to keep drawing.

Her artistic talents came naturally to her at a young age but her mother is a large creative influence in her life. “I grew up watching her do crafts with sewing, photography, paint, and pastels. There was always a large amount of art supplies in the house to play with.”

Finding a way to preserve her medium is a future goal.

“Chalk is not the most permanent medium to work with…In the future I would like to find a way to preserve some chalk drawings, which may involve framing or other techniques.”

Schwarzenbart showcased her work in a public display in the Studio Arts building at UWGB in October. She plans to launch an art-specific web page in the future. She hopes to continue using her talent both as a hobby, and in a professional field.

“I hope to use my creativity in marketing and advertising to help design and sell products. In my free time I would still be able to make and sell art as a hobby.”

Also receiving honors at the Region V ACUI:
Logan Sprangers — First place in the Multipage Publication Design Category for the Spring 2014 Good Time Programming Booklet and second place in the Poster Category for his promotion of the speaker and presenter Anita Sarkeesian
Ranita Haanen — Second place in Brochure Design for the Great Beginnings (GB) Week foldable brochure
Kimmy Schwarzenbart — First place in the Large Media design Category and “Best of Show” for the entire Graphics Contest for Region V.


Flax Project: ‘Fiber is not for the weak’

A sizeable campus and community audience learned more Tuesday (Nov. 3) about a hands-on history and art project that is teaching UW-Green Bay students the facts about an industrial-strength plant that shaped life in the ancient and medieval world.

“The Flax Project” was the topic of UW-Green Bay Profs. Heidi Sherman and Alison Gates in a slide-illustrated presentation offered as part of the After Thoughts series at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

Historian Sherman and textile artist Gates talked about their efforts since 2011 to perfect the ancient art and practice of turning flax into linen by growing a fiber crop and processing the harvest on a college campus. Although they have planted successful crops each year with teams of new students from History, Art and several other majors, it has never been easy. Especially the processing.

“In the Middle Ages, it was called ‘the agony of the flax,’” Sherman told the audience.
“Fiber is not for the weak,” Gates said. She drew a laugh when she described “scutching,” one of the steps in the process, “as basically just whacking the hell out of the fiber.”

The interdisciplinary work by Sherman and Gates grew out of earlier research at UW-Green Bay suggesting linen made from flax was a history-changing development for societies including the ancient Greeks, who used it to construct lightweight, virtually impenetrable battle armor.

Sherman described her work as “experiential archeology.” She has led student travel trips to Russia where they worked with 1,000-year-old tools and learned that the arduous task of creating linen was something that frequently demanded the communal cooperation of entire villages.

Lessons learned there only amplify the experiences students encounter in harvesting and processing the plants from UW-Green Bay’s small, central-campus plots. Students learn about “rippling” seed bolls from the fiber tips, which must be done before the flax is laid in water to rett (to soak and separate the fiber from the stem) followed by breaking the stem into short segments, scutching to extracting the fibers and “heckling” (combing) the flax before it is spun and woven for use.

Sherman says her history students — relatively few of whom will be professional, Ph.D. historians but many of whom will go on to teach K-12 history or serve as historical interpreters — will occasionally offer up a good-natured grumble if crop-pulling day is hot, or when the harvested flax fibers soaking in children’s wading pools emit powerfully pungent odors. Mostly, though, the students are big fans.

“They love this,” Sherman said. “It’s a way to learn history by getting your hands dirty.”
Gates said that, over the course of the “Flax Project,” she has been learning right alongside her Introduction to Textile students. A trained artist, she said had never much paid attention to the history of textile art created before the first decade or so of the 1900s. The quality of Sherman’s medieval scholarship on flax and linen and the people who worked those materials drew her into the topic, Gates said.

The idea of “growing our own arts supplies here on campus,” was another plus, Gates said. (It became even more appealing when the UWGB Medieval Dye Garden succeeded in growing plants historically used for their ability to yield naturally occurring red, blue and yellow dye for the linen.)

The biggest breakthrough for fiber and textile artists on campus, however, came with the acquisition of a 21st century Hollander beater. Based on a 17th century design, it’s basically an industrial blender that’s “a two-gallon version of what’s in every local paper mill,” Gates said.
As a final result, art students are honing their artisanal skills in creating high-grade linen paper and fine art from material grown at the heart of campus.

(The vivid green flax stands and their pretty blue flowers add visual interest to the decorative planters on the rooftop plaza atop the Student Services Building.)

While linen paper is being created now, production of linen fabric from the Flax Project isn’t likely any time soon, the presenters indicated in response to audience questions. The reasons involve limitations of time, resources and machinery. It was noted that the Vikings are said to have needed seven years to hand-make a single sail of linen, with eight or more “spinners” needed to feed one loom.

UW-Green Bay Dean of Professional Studies Sue Mattison introduced the presentation by noting that Sherman and Gates have presented at national and international conferences. Eva Andersson Strand, one of the world’s leading specialists on Viking-age textile production, visited UW-Green Bay last fall for workshops with faculty and students. Additionally, Mattison noted that Sherman’s hands-on experience with the Flax Project has persuaded some scholars to reexamine long-held notions about the tools and processes used to make early linen fabric.

Photos by student intern Kayla Erma, Office of Marketing and University Communication

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Snapshots: Surprise for Kress user No. 1,000,000

UW-Green Bay student Ashley Garza headed over to the Kress fitness center on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 4) to spend some time on her favorite cardio machine… and walked into a big surprise at the front desk. Eight years of card-swiping each and every fitness, recreation and intramural patron allowed Kress Center staff to pinpoint Garza’s workout as the one-millionth patron visit since the facility’s grand opening in November 2007. Garza received a gift package of apparel, passes and discounts from Chancellor Gary L. Miller and Athletics Director Mary Ellen Gillespie to mark the milestone.

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