Campus participates in Mortar Board Week

Betsy Winter

As part of Mortar Board’s trademark “First Chance/Last Chance” lecture series, President Beck gave an interactive presentation on dance notation, in which participants read a simple dance and translated it onto the dance floor.
For this year’s Mortar Board Week, the organization expanded on the lecture series with the theme of “lifelong learning.” Lawrence faculty and staff were invited to present on topics of personal interest outside of their professional expertise. Throughout the week, students gathered in the coffeehouse to listen to Tom Sykes – media director at the Mudd Library – give a presentation on bird-watching, swimming coach Kurt Kirner discuss team-building and leadership skills, and Conservatory professor Stephen McCardell give a demonstration on blues music.
Mortar Board President Rob Strelow was enthusiastic about the mini-lectures. It was, he said, a great way for these members of the Lawrence community to present a scholarly side of themselves that they usually don’t get to express to most of us.
Although Mortar Board Week is open to the entire campus, its purpose, in part, is also the recruitment of new members. At any given time, an average of about 15 seniors and super-seniors are active members of Mortar Board. Strelow is already looking forward to what Mortar Board can do in the future. Next year, as a fifth-year senior, Strelow will still be involved with the organization. Each year Mortar Board takes the template of the previous year’s activities and adjusts them to the needs of Lawrence and the personalities of its members.
The selection process for Mortar Board is based on grades and past service activities. Students who are double-degree can be involved in Mortar Board for both their senior and super-senior years, or can wait until they are super seniors.
Despite the recruitment aspect of Mortar Board Week, Strelow stressed that whether or not you are an active member of the honor society or a senior looking to join, everyone should take advantage of the activities Mortar Board sponsors.
Although the First Chance/Last Chance lecture series is the most well-known Mortar Board activity, the society is involved in other events as well, including last November’s Oxfam Hunger Week. Mortar Board also sponsors food and clothing drives, activities where the benefits of the society can be felt closer to home. Older students may remember one other Mortar Board activity: the annual Freshman Studies Party, to be held this year in March.

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