Fifty students filled the Friel lounge in Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls Monday as University Vice President, General Secretary and Special Adviser to the President Paul Burgett kicked off the “Food for thought” lecture series.

The series is sponsored by the SBA Resident Advisers. “We plan on having one lecture a month from October to May, unless we can get the funding, faculty and student interest for two a month,” said Koren Bakkegard, the Graduate Head Resident in SBA. Bakkegard is helping to organize the series.

“Our goal for the series is to bring students into contact with faculty outside of the classroom,” Bakkegard continued. “We hope to give students and faculty the chance to discuss some of the important issues that they may not have the chance to cover in the same way in a typical classroom setting. For some faculty, this may mean giving a talk on a subject that’s outside the traditional boundaries of their given discipline. For other faculty, this may mean discussing their current research interests.”

Senior and SBA RA Harish Nataraj asked Burgett to give the first lecture. He said that the plan for the series is to have faculty from a variety of departments talk about subjects that are interesting to students.

Burgett’s lecture was titled “The Harlem Renaissance: It just ain’t all that jazz.” Burgett read poetry and played music from the Harlem Renaissance. He also related stereotypical black characters from 19th century theater to contemporary television characters like Steve Urkel. “That image of the ‘old Negro’ persists in various ways in 2001,” Burgett said.

“It was important to have something people can relate to now,” Nataraj said. “It was something different in terms of the regular speeches we hear from Dean Burgett.”

“It’s a subject that not a lot of people know a lot about, but it’s very important to me,” Burgett said.

The next lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 27, Nataraj said. Professor of Chemical Engineering Ben Ebenhack will discuss the world’s energy situation.

“His contention is that sometime in the future, all of our resources will perish at the same time,” Nataraj said.

Food, drinks and desserts were available for those attending the lecture to eat afterwards.

The lecture was open to all, but Nataraj said that it was advertised only in SBA, and most of those attending were SBA residents. He said that they plan to take attendance at the upcoming lectures.

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