IGC Student Council organizes three-week Iraq War Series

By Amy Ledig

The Institute for Global Citizenship’s Student Council is bringing the Iraq War to Macalester.The council has put together a three-part, three-week series exploring the themes of education, engagement and action as they relate to the Iraq War. The first segment had professors who chose to be involved include issues related to the Iraq War in their classes last week. The second portion was a panel of Iraq War veterans who came to address students on Tuesday. The final portion, the Action and Discussion Panel, will take place on Tuesday.

“I think that we want to engage students in a different way because the political discourse at Macalester seems to be fairly repetitive,” said Hector Pascual Alvarez ’08, a member of the student council, adding that students seem to be growing apathetic as a result.

The classroom portion involved professors in fields ranging from the predictable, including political science, psychology, art and theater, to the more unconventional such as biology, geology and environmental science. Fourteen classes participated, according to a list compiled by the Student Council.

“I was personally a little disappointed at the level of response from faculty,” Pascual Alvarez said. “There were constant reminders sent to faculty; we [the students on the council] went personally to talk to faculty, but there was [little] response.”

Natalie Locke ’11 is in Daniel Hornbach’s environmental studies class, which she said took one of the days to look at the environmental impact of the war on Iraq.

“I thought it was interesting because it was a perspective on the war I’d never thought about or heard about,” Locke said, adding that although the ecological impact was not as important as the human impact, it was still significant.

Tuesday’s Iraq War Veteran’s Panel brought together Maj. Lisa L. Carter of the U.S. Army and Technical Sgt. Paralyn W. McClain of the U.S. Air Force, both part of the Department of Defense’s “Why We Serve” program and Wes Davey, a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

The speakers on the panel gave their backgrounds and then discussed the war before taking questions from the audience.

“I thought it was nice to have a non-academic perspective on the war and it was really nice to see some other perspectives,” Sam Robertson ’10, a member of the council, said. “The Q and A was a little bit frustrating because we’re used to academic discourse, and a few questions were not answered very straightforwardly, especially by the DoD [participants].”

“I would have hoped the discourse would be livelier with less respectful disagreement,” Pascual Alvarez said. Still, he said, “it was really powerful.”

His comments were seconded by Kristen Wittkowski ’10 who attended the panel. She said that she felt like it went well but that there could have been more back and forth.

“It was interesting but I felt that more could have been gleaned,” she said.

During the action panel, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in the Weyerhauser Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, local activists will discuss the work they are doing to end the war.

Robinson said that the panel will bring attention to the ways students are working to end US military involvement in Iraq.

“There are actual concrete things you can do about the war,” Pascual Alvarez said, adding that the panel will “illuminate ways students and community members are already doing things.