Vorenkamp and Noppe speak on grief and loss in an open forum

Mac Watson

Dirck Vorenkamp, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, and Illene C. Noppe, Professor of Psychology at UW-Green Bay, gave a talk on a subject that is very important to the Lawrence community this past Thursday in Science Hall. In an almost two-hour talk, Noppe and Vorenkamp addressed grief and loss.
Noppe drew from personal experience and her own physiological expertise to tailor her lecture to a college community. Noppe’s talk placed importance on the individuality of the grieving experience. As she said, “You don’t become a different person when you grieve; you become more intensely who you are.”
She said that often on a college campus, students’ lives are forced to continue by the fast pace of college life, but that it is important for the community and the individual to make an effort to deal. She defined particular kinds of loss and other psychological terms and then explained how the Lawrence community could fit into a proper grieving model and deal with its losses.
Professor Vorenkamp took the talk in a different direction; he also began from a personal point of view, but continued by detailing how an individual could move past the loss, making it a part of who they are and how they behave. His talk was littered with a philosophical insight that moved beyond the defined terms of Noppe’s speech.
From his personal experiences as a police officer and his studies in Eastern thought, he pulled together an idea which stated that a loss can shatter a person’s idea of themselves now and in the future, but this idea can be restored through kindness, patience, truthfulness and compassion. These traits can help a person deal with loss authentically and effectively.
Each speaker was a helpful guide to students dealing with the difficult year the campus has suffered. Noppe came from a technical, psychological point of view that was still very understanding, and Vorenkamp helpfully supplemented her insight with personal wisdom that could help individuals deal with any kind of hardship. They continued their guidance with a discussion afterwards that allowed members of the community to voice personal concerns and grievances.