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'Rediscovering Sacred Space'

Twenty-seven years ago, President Ronald Reagan declared that the third week in November be recognized as Geography Awareness Week. Nov. 17-21 will mark Minot State University’s first celebration of GAW with the theme of “Rediscovering Sacred Space.”

“The public’s perception of geography is disproportionately focused on the ‘who, what and where’ of facts while little attention is paid to the ‘why’ of where and what’s going on there. The human connection to place and the interrelationship of places are the lifeblood of geographic reasoning,” said Jacob Sowers, assistant professor of geography. “Geographic Awareness Week was created by Ronald Reagan’s presidential proclamation so as to educate the public while celebrating the person and place synthesis.”

MSU students, faculty and staff and the public are invited to attend the four presentations that will highlight this year’s festivities. Refreshments will be served before and after each presentation:

  • Nov. 17 in Memorial 114, 6-7 p.m. — Ryan Stander, assistant professor of art, will present “Photographic Memory: Narratives and Photographic Recreation of Sacred Spaces.” Outside of Memorial 114, MSU students will display a photographic exhibition exploring abandoned sacred space.
  • Nov. 18 in Memorial 114, 6-7 p.m. — An MSU panel of faculty and staff, Lisa Borden-King, Laurie Geller, Carlen Gilseth and Beth Odahlen, will discuss “The Classroom as Sacred Space.”  The panelists will reflect on how a sacred space is created within the university classroom and some of the products, passions and problems that can arise from this environment.
  • Nov. 19 in Memorial 114, 6-7 p.m. — Sowers will present “What’s Magical about Minot?” The talk is a product of his research to identify, protect and promote important public spaces in Minot to foster stability in the midst of great change.
  • Nov. 20 in Memorial 114, 4:30-5:30 p.m. — The finale of Geography Awareness Week will feature MSU students reading poetry about their sacred spaces located within the MSU campus.

“Over the past decade National Geographic has led the organization of Geography Awareness Week to raise awareness to the dangerous deficiency of geography in American education and excite people about geography as both a discipline and as a part of everyday life. GAW encourages citizens, young and old, to think and learn about the significance of place and how we affect and are affected by it,” Sowers said.

For questions, contact Sowers at


Published: 11/10/14

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