The Paw Print
The eighth Annual Autumn at Adams celebration kicked off Tuesday. At least one event took place on campus every evening for the entire week, ending Saturday night with a tailgate party.
Autumn at Adams is an annual event that invites community members and Adams State College students and faculty to enjoy easily accessible programs and events that educate and entertain the audience.
Linda Relyea, chairperson of the Autumn at Adams committee, says the event is important as it offers a chance for community members to feel comfortable coming on campus to participate in entertaining and educational events.
The weeklong event is part of a larger program called the Common Reading Experience, in which incoming freshman are asked to read a specific book over the summer. The theme of the book inspires the curriculum of several of the general education classes and many campus wide events like Autumn at Adams.
This year’s theme for Autumn at Adams, “Honor Your Story, Discover Your Possibilities,” is derived from the book “The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie.
All of the events that took place during the past week helped carry on this year’s theme. Tuesday night, an eclectic audience gathered in Carson Auditorium to welcome Native American dancers Ramona and Norman Roach and comedian James Bilagody.
The Roaches shared with the audience their heritage through dance, music, and stories. Both Norman and Ramona took turns entertaining the crowd with social dances, including the crowd pleasing Hoop Dance performed by Norman; playing and/or singing traditional songs of their families or tribes like Ramona’s “The Goat Song;” and telling stories of their ancestry and tribal traditions.
Norman and Ramona, teachers from Gallup, NM, spent much of the evening educating the audience on different traditions of their tribes. They each spoke of their families, both present day and from long ago. Dressed in traditional handmade outfits, the Roaches also explained the significance of their clothing.
Following those perform-ances, James Bilagody taught the crowd about his own heritage and Navajo culture through comedy and song.
Bilagody entertained the crowd with his guitar, Betsy, and musical impersonations of popular singers like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr. Bilagody says he was raised to have a song in his heart and that in his tribe, music is the doorway to being in harmony.
In an effort to educate, Bilagody taught the crowd some Navajo words in a highly interactive lesson. He stressed the repetition of the Navajo philosophy of life broken into two parts. The first half, translated to “the search for old age” is the male philosophy. The female half of the philosophy translates to “in beauty.” Together, the two halves of the philosophy when spoken in the Navajo language come together as a melodic verse.
Wednesday night brought Adams State’s second installment of the Last Lecture Series, a lecture given by professors as though it were truly their last lecture, to an audience in Porter Hall. Armando Valdez, assistant professor in the school of business, and Dr. Carol Guerrero Murphy, professor of English, were picked as the lecturers.
Valdez titled his lecture “I Fell Into Teaching…Best Decision I Never Made” and stressed the importance of being open to take other paths. Coming from a family of teachers, the San Luis Valley native found himself surprised to enter the very same field.
Valdez outlined his secrets to success and fulfillment in six lessons: money isn’t everything; let your passions influence your decisions; be flexible…the key aspect to life is adaptability; learn from others; take chances; and enjoy life.
Dr. Guerrero Murphy’s untitled but subtitled lecture “Stuff That Matters: Not All the Stuff, But Some Good Stuff,” showed how imagination, curiosity, and empathy are all connected and basic to human survival.
Dr. Guerrero Murphy encour-aged her audience to embrace the arts: to read and write in order to nurture curiosity, and to listen to Opera. She shared the following quote by French Canadian Gabrielle Roy, featured on the Canadian $20 bill: “Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?”
The professors were chosen by the Autumn at Adams committee out of a pool of Presidential Teacher Award recipients. Valdez and Guerrero Murphy were the highest-ranking professors to receive this honor.
Thursday and Friday night’s events, though attracting smaller crowds, were equally interactive and educational.
The poetry reading on Thursday night, organized by one of the student committee members and held in the Luther Bean Museum, inspired discussions ranging from poetry to politics.
Friday offered two separate events. The self-portrait art exhibit kicked off in the Community Partnerships Art Gallery with a reception and viewing of community member’s works of art. Friday night’s block party, held in the Student Union Building, attracted a lively group with a wide variety of music including reggae, pop, and Latino selections.
Saturday’s main event, the annual chili cook-off, took place on the North Campus Green. In an effort to raise money for various campus clubs, clubs and individuals alike brought their own homemade red and green chili and salsa to be tasted and voted on by the public.
The weeklong event ended with a tailgate party leading up to the beginning of the first Adams State home football game.
Overall, the week’s events were both entertaining and educational. The events brought a wide variety of audience members, though student atten-dance could have been better. “If students took the time to attend the events, I don’t think they would be disappointed,” said Relyea. Too many distractions, the extra effort of actually going, and the lack of friend involvement, Relyea believes, are a couple reasons for the low number of student turnout.
As far as next year’s theme, Relyea says that has yet to be decided. The book has been chosen, however. The Common Reading Experience committee has chosen “Enrique’s Journey,” a story about a young Honduran boy who sets out to search for his mother after she left the country for the United States in order to work and provide a better living for the family she left behind.