On Wednesday, May 1, the Loras community was called together to celebrate the achievements, research, and discoveries of students and faculty. Many students, faculty members, and administrators had spent weeks or even months preparing for this day. At the sixth annual Loras Legacy Symposium, everyone was welcome to learn more and share their experiences and studies with others. Students crossed campus with laptops, notebooks, and posters in hand and headed for the ACC and the library. Some simply came for extra credit or an assignment and others to support their peers.
This year, the ballrooms were not only filled with posters and presenters, but also artwork. There was once an art component when Loras College had an art department, but this year was the first time at the Symposium that Loras’ Art Club had a display. Representing Art Club, senior Maren Neilson said that the display was a huge success and it received lots of positive feedback; Junior Erin Cain stated, “I’d just like to say how blessed I feel that I go to a liberal arts college, because we’re all encouraged to follow our dreams and passions.” The arts were also represented by the Loras Players in Duprov- filling the room with laughter.
Presenters and spectators alike had their fingers crossed that the projectors across campus would cooperate as oral presentations filled rooms in the library and the ACC. The topics were arranged in categories with a common theme, but the presentations were all unique. Some of the topics were the European parliament and populism, Prisoner of War camps in Iowa and Iraq, helping to connect the community to nursing home residents, the difference in abortion stances of the Presbyterian church and the Catholic church, and inclusion in sports to name a few.
Caroline Verden, studying at Loras this semester from France, said “At the beginning of this semester, Professor Budzisz asked me to participate in Legacy Symposium. I hesitated for several days, afraid of not being able to communicate my ideas in front of an American audience. After I presented, I felt empowered and glad I could convey a message to this audience which was really supportive and friendly. I feel now highly confident about doing it again in my home university, and even more confident about my English skills.”
Poster subjects and studies came in an astounding variety: NAFTA, service trips, school lessons taught outside, engineering, the population change of Dubuque since the 1970’s, producing a book about Loras’ collection of medieval manuscripts, Rock and Roll, as well as refugees and immigrants in the Dubuque community. Students and professors alike strolled through the ballrooms throughout the day, enjoying refreshments and learning more about what students and faculty were researching.
Senior Sophia Muzzerelli, who presented with her peers about the influence of Catholicism on parenting, stated, “I presented at MPA in Chicago, which is a national conference. We were on the first day at 8 a.m. so there wasn’t a chance to talk to people very much because most everyone was registering for the most part. So I liked Legacy because it is a whole day where we got to talk to people and explain our research because that’s what the day is all about. It was also cool because when I wasn’t presenting, I was able to walk around and see people who might not have been psychology majors, but I got to see what they were doing.”
The lunch hour was a time for a bit of relaxation for some students and faculty members, though many still sought out round-table discussions to learn more about study abroad, internships, and service. Other students and faculty members attended an awards banquet for the achievements and accomplishments of Loras students. There, Dr. Erin VanLaningham read “To be of use” by poet Marge Piercy, reminding listeners that things worth doing are well done, and that hard work is hardly ever easy. It often takes time, patience, and determination to complete a difficult task.
Loras student assistant for the Legacy Symposium, Molly MacDuff, says, “Being a part of Legacy Symposium for the past two years has allowed me to showcase my academic achievements as well as recognize my friends’ success. I think this day is incredibly important to campus because of the physical representation of what we achieve and study at Loras. Knowing that we’re accomplishing tasks that not only positively impact the Loras community, but may impact the world as well is what makes Legacy such a success.”