January Series kickstarts the new year at Calvin
Featuring some of the biggest figures in the nation, including Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson, former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe and New York Times bestselling author Bob Goff, the 2014 January Series has successfully continued its track record of bringing a wide variety of excellent speakers to the Calvin College campus.
January Series director Kristi Potter welcomed a strong start to this year’s lecture series.
“I am really pleased with how the January Series is going so far. Our first five speakers have all been excellent, everything that I hoped they would be,” said Potter. “We have already covered a wide variety of topics and there is so much more to come yet.”
For some students the January Series provides a challenge to the slow college routine.
“The normal college life seems to envelope me inside a steady routine of dorms, dining halls, classes and evenings of studying. The world outside Calvin sometimes just seems to fade away. January Series excites me because it challenges that,” said sophomore Katy Gerber.
“For one hour every day, I am invited to seriously contemplate and reflect on issues I often ignore, issues that are important to the world outside my door.”
“I get to lament, rejoice, hope, and dream alongside people passionate about affecting the world Christ has called us to,” Gerber concluded.
According to Potter, the January Series also provides a forum of learning for all kinds of interests.
“Even if a topic doesn’t seem like a fit for you, I bet you will learn something and find that it was time well spent. Interim goes fast, so be sure to come out for the series,” said Potter.
Gerber also appreciated Calvin’s efforts in providing a forum of learning for students.
“I love that Calvin is so dedicated to provoking and encouraging me as a student to be more than a student, but to also be a concerned and educated servant to the world,” said Gerber.
Students also received the opportunity to enroll in the interim course “Inside the January Series” which provides intentional conversation with speakers.
English professor Karen Saupe, who teaches the class, compared the course to a miniature core curriculum.
“For most students it works the way a good core curriculum should: by giving them a taste of various disciplines and fields of thoughts, by helping them discover or confirm interests they want to explore further and ideally by helping them recognize that this is just one early step in a lifetime of learning and growth,” said Saupe.
Looking ahead, Saupe is excited for the opportunity to learn more on the variety of topics in upcoming sessions.
“I look forward to the surprises in each year’s series: some of my favorite presentations have focused on topics I didn’t think I would care about,” said Saupe.
“I think Kristi does a great job of choosing speakers who welcome us into their worlds of ideas and actions.”
This year the January Series is also running a passport incentive for students who attend the lecture series.
“Get it stamped at the box office each time you attend a presentation and turn it in at the end of the series for a chance to win autographed books by Bob Goff, Kevin Schut and others as well as bonus bucks,” said Potter.
The January Series begins daily at 12:30 p.m. in the Covenant Fine Arts Center from Jan. 8-28 and has a remote live broadcast on a large screen at more than 40 remote webcast locations.
This year’s underwriters include Bakers Publishing Group, the Doug & Maria Devos Foundation and Issachar Fund, among many others.