The loss of some generous longtime donors and an increasingly secular society are presenting financial challenges for the Mauthe Center, formerly known as the Ecumenical Center. Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Patti Zarling interviewed executive director Hung Nguyen for a story that describes the independent center’s mission of being a place for local students to gather to contemplate, meet, pray, or talk freely about spiritual beliefs. Supporters say $200,000 must be raised to continue operation. Donors already have contributed $150,000, Nguyen says, so the short-term future (the next year or so) is secure, but longer-range support is needed.
Richard Mauthe Center intern Aisha Umar invited campus and community alike to an upcoming Taizé prayer event with a “Today’s Take” column that ran in Tuesday’s (Jan. 27) Green Bay Press-Gazette. In it, Umar discusses her first personal encounter with the Taizé community, and talks about some of the elements of that community. She also welcomes readers to attend the Taizé prayer service, taking place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3 at the Mauthe Center on campus. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are requested at Richard@mcenter.org or (920) 465-5133 by Feb. 1. Full column.
UW-Green Bay alumna and Richard Mauthe Center intern Aisha Umar wrote about fellow alum Luc Francillon and his upcoming Mauthe Center talk for a Wednesday (Nov. 26) “Today’s Take” column in the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Now a chief financial officer with a division of Mars, Inc., Francillon will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2 at the Mauthe Center. His talk is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are requested by phone at (920) 465-5133 or via email at Richard@mcenter.org by 7 p.m. Friday. In her column, Umar considers the keys to Francillon’s success — beyond the fact he’s a 1991 graduate of UW-Green Bay’s well-respected Accounting program — and mentions his involvement with the Mauthe Center while a student at UW-Green Bay. Read more.
More than 100 students, faculty, staff and community members gathered at the Mauthe Center Thursday (Oct. 30) for a community meal and dialogue designed to combat stereotypes and promote inclusivity. The event began with a Somali dinner and continued with a keynote address, panel discussion, Q and A and presentation on campus involvement in national Stop the Hate programming. In his keynote address, Mohammad Rashid of the Fox Valley Islamic Society addressed both tenets and misperceptions of Islam. “The religion I know, the religion I practice,” Rashid said, “… My religion tells you even not to offend somebody with my words. It is that careful. … That is the religion of Islam.” Our new feature has more on the evening’s event.
Media roundup: Islam event in the news
Several local media outlets covered Thursday’s Islam awareness event, with preview and night-of stories reflecting a continued interest in the University’s response to last week’s exchange. Prof. David Coury appeared live Thursday to promote the event during Local 5’s 4 p.m. newscast, while the Green Bay Press-Gazette, NBC 26 and WBAY, Channel 2 each covered the event on-site. A roundup is as follows:
WFRV Local 5 news
Green Bay Press-Gazette
More than 100 people packed the Richard Mauthe Center on the UW-Green Bay campus Thursday (Oct. 30) evening, gathering for a community meal and dialogue designed to combat stereotypes and promote inclusivity.
“Islam awareness: A conversation about Islam, the Muslim Student Association and inclusivity at UW-Green Bay” was organized in response to a recent well-publicized exchange involving UW-Green Bay alumna Heba Mohammad ’14 and Green Bay Alderman Chris Wery. Mohammad had emailed Wery to inquire about free bus service on Election Day, and he responded by questioning the Muslim Student Association she founded and asking whether she condemns Islamic terrorism. Wery, who was not in attendance Thursday, has since apologized to Mohammad and said he will meet with the association’s faculty advisers. Still, organizers said, the exchange demonstrates the need for greater education around Islam and the MSA.
“This event provided a tremendous opportunity for education and positive dialogue around Islam specifically and the importance of inclusivity generally,” said UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Heidi Sherman, co-director of the University’s Center for Middle East Studies and Partnerships and co-faculty adviser for the UW-Green Bay MSA.
The evening kicked off with a Somali dinner at 6 p.m., which was followed by the full program at 6:30. Mohammad Rashid, president of the Fox Valley Islamic Society, delivered the evening’s keynote address, speaking from the heart about his faith and its tradition of peace. He read from the Quran and the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), and also offered historical perspective on Islam.
Muslims often are the victims of guilt by association, Rashid said, as people confuse what is fundamentally a peaceful religion with the acts of radicals who claim the faith as a justification for their actions.
“I ask you to look beyond it — what are the facts?” he said. “I would like to have a dialogue with that alderman who made those comments to Heba. I’m, at heart, a citizen of America. I love this country.”
Later in the program, Mohammad and Sherman joined Rashid for a panel discussion in which they accepted oral and written questions from the audience. The trio addressed a variety of queries ranging from the basics — prayer five times a day — to addressing stereotypes and discrimination.
“The religion I know, the religion I practice,” Rashid said, “… My religion tells you even not to offend somebody with my words. It is that careful. … That is the religion of Islam.”
In the age of social media, Mohammad added, it’s easy for people to hide behind negative comments made online.
“If you have a question about any culture,” she said, “I highly recommend you get to know someone (from that background).”
The evening also featured a discussion on inclusivity, and a presentation from Residence Life’s Quin Merriweather and University Police Officer Cristey Johnson on UW-Green Bay’s participation in national Stop the Hate programming.
As the panel discussion wound to a close, Rashid told attendees about the Islamic Society’s ultimately successful efforts, some 30 years ago, to build a mosque in Neenah. The group met with initial opposition, he said, but education and dialogue ultimately prevailed.
“The neighbors who opposed our mosque are good friends now,” Rashid said. “They all became very good friends.”
Coverage of Food Day at UW-Green Bay continued into the day Monday (Oct. 20), with Fox 11 News running an additional story on the events during its 5 p.m. newscast. As we told you here yesterday, the station’s Good Day Wisconsin program aired four live segments from the Mauthe Center Monday morning, highlighting the lineup for Food Day activities that began with a No Waste Breakfast from 7:30 to 10 a.m. While on site, the Good Day Wisconsin team also shot footage and an interview for a story to air during the 5 p.m. news.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Intertribal Student Council will present the 2014 UW-Green Bay Pow Wow from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday, April 12 at the Kress Events Center on campus.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will include grand entries at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., as well as a no-cost feast at 5 p.m. at the Mauthe Center on campus. M&J Catering will provide food for the feast.
The theme for the 2014 Pow Wow is “Honoring All Our Veterans,” and the event will include a special afternoon honor dance that will recognize all military veterans in attendance. Other honor dances will be held to recognize UW-Green Bay students, UW-Green Bay alumni and others.
The host drum for the event is Str8 Across, a Menominee-Oneida drum group with several singers on the drum who are Iraq War veterans. Six invited drums will represent each of the six Indian tribes — Menominee, Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, Oneida, Chippewa and Mohican — located in Wisconsin.
Dan King, an Oneida Vietnam veteran, will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the Pow Wow, and Gary Besaw, Menominee, is arena director for the event. The Pow Wow’s head dancers are Mark Denning (Oneida) and Chelsea Dodge (Menominee), and the head veteran dancers are Wesley Martin (Ojibwe — U.S. Army) and Jamie Awonohopay (Menominee — U.S. Army). Color guard units from the Wisconsin Indian Veterans Association — Oneida Chamber, Veterans of the Menominee Nation, Mohican Veterans Association and Forest County Potawatomi Post 1 will bring in the flags during each grand entry.
Sponsors for the Pow Wow include UW-Green Bay’s Intertribal Student Council, SUFAC, Office of the Provost, Dean of Students Office, American Intercultural Center, Kress Events Center and Student Diversity Office, along with Wisconsin Public Radio.
The 2014 Relay For Life, organized by the UW-Green Bay chapter of Colleges Against Cancer, is scheduled to be headquartered at the Mauthe Center and take place from 6 p.m. April 25 through 6 a.m. April 26. You can register a team or seek additional info at www.relayforlife.org/uwgb.
Our friends at the Mauthe Center are announcing the next three dates for their “Eat Well: Dinner for a Cause” events, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, Tuesday, March 25 and Tuesday, April 1. Folks are invited to enjoy a home-cooked meal in exchange for their monetary donations. All proceeds go toward building a well in Kenya. For menus, future dates and more: click here.
Our friends at the Mauthe Center have a couple of events next week that might be of interest to the larger University community.
* Eat Well: Spaghetti, at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 4) — enjoy a home-cooked meal in exchange for your monetary donations. All proceeds goes towards building a well in Kenya.
* Tuesdays with Mauthe: Caroline Sullivan, at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 4) — Find out what your shoes tell you about yourself and your life. Come wearing your favorite pair of shoes.
* Feast of Nations, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 6) — Feast of Nations is a special program that brings UW-Green Bay students (international and local) and community members for a night of cultural education through food, entertainment and conversations. Free food from various countries!