First ever Darwin Day comes to GVSU

GVL / Courtesy - 
Dr. Wenda Trevathan (keynote speaker)

GVL / Courtesy – Dr. Wenda Trevathan (keynote speaker)

Taylor Fussman

Grand Valley State University will celebrate and encourage intellectual curiosity through an assortment of Darwin Day events on Feb. 11 and Feb. 12.

The events were created to celebrate Charles Darwin’s 207th birthday, to encourage intellectual bravery and education and to introduce the various aspects and applications worldwide. The day looks to represent international cooperation toward the advancement of science and education.

Faculty involved with the celebration expressed their thoughts that the event will encourage discovery and innovation in students.

“I believe that if we can get students motivated to be thoughtful about their role in their respective industries after graduation and never be afraid to question what seems unsettling to them and try to discover why, we have done a great thing,” said Vinicius Lima, an assistant professor of graphic design at GVSU. “The event is in place to plant a seed of inquiry into the students’ minds, making them more active in their own learning and creative practices.”

Cara Ocobock, assistant professor of biomedical sciences at GVSU, said that along with the main events there will also be an “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” art exhibit running from Feb. 9 to Feb. 25.

Art submissions for this exhibit are currently open.

Many departments are involved with the event, including biomedical sciences, biology, anthropology, psychology, geology, classics, art, movement science, the library and multiple student groups.

“I feel that it is important to start building bridges across disciplines because we learn more together than we do apart,” Ocobock said. “Evolution is at work in our daily lives, and it is important for everyone to realize the impact it has had for the past two centuries.”

On Feb. 11, multiple events are scheduled, including an all-day reading of Darwin’s “Origin of Species” at the library.

There will also be a free evolution improvisation comedy event put on by Rapid Delivery Improv, followed by a free showing of Jurassic Park. This night will conclude with a panel discussion about the evolutionary themes and facts and fiction of the movie.

On Feb. 12, Charles Darwin’s birthday, the day will begin with a lab walkthrough in the Henry/Padnos Atrium on the Allendale Campus. At this time, certain GVSU departments will have tables set up to demonstrate how the theory of evolution plays a role in their discipline.

Throughout the day there will also be a scavenger hunt occurring in the library for students to participate in.

In the afternoon, keynote speaker Wenda Trevethan will be featured during her evolution symposium presentation. The symposium will consist of oral presentations about the research students and faculty completed related to the topic of evolution.

Lastly, the celebration will end with a Science on Tap event at the SpeakEZ Lounge with a conversation about the strange existence evolution caused.

The Darwin Day celebration has been, and will continue to be, a collaborative effort within the university.