Home - Campus Life - Arts and Culture - Diversity - Mannie Jackson Endowment and Center for the Humanities - Engagement Public Engagement in the Humanities Speaker Series The Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities launched its speaker series in March 2016 with a presentation by former U.S. Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, during the MJCH Foundation’s first annual dinner. Approximately 460 people attended the second annual fundraising dinner in March 2017 to see a live Q&A featuring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Channel 4 Anchor Steve Savard. Highlights from the 2017 dinner included a Q&A session with Abdul-Jabbar and about 50 local high school athletes prior to dinner. Historical Marker L&C’s MJCH, in collaboration with the Illinois State Historical Society and City of Alton, erected a historical marker to commemorate Scott Bibb’s fight against school segregation in Alton Schools 1897 – 1908 in front of the college’s Scott Bibb Center in Alton on June 19, 2017. AGree Newsfeed The Meridian Institute AGree News Feed, with support from the L&C MJCH® and funders of Agree, reflects the public conversation on food and agriculture in order to foster inclusive dialogue and increase awareness. For the latest news about AGree, please visit www.foodandagpolicy.org. The mission of AGree is to seek to drive positive change in the food and agriculture system by connecting and challenging leaders from diverse communities to catalyze action and elevate food and agriculture as a national priority. AGree recognizes the interconnected nature of food and agriculture systems globally and seeks to break down barriers and work across issue areas. Through collaboration and frank discussion, AGree has established a venue whereby a broad coalition of interests have built trust, found common ground, and developed shared strategies for achieving transformative change. International Symposium The first MJCH® international symposium, The Future of Transboundary Water Management – Empowering Informed Water Resources Policy and Practice with Big Data, in collaboration with The Horinko Group, Arava Institute and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, with funding by MJCH® Foundation, is scheduled for Oct. 12, 2017 in Washington, D.C. An impressive collaboration of presenters will discuss implications of big data management from the conflict-torn Jordan River in the Middle East, to the complicated water rights of the Western United States, to the Mississippi River’s cyclic drought and abundance. The Summit will convene key capacity and community-builders on a national and international scale, well positioned to make immediate and measurable impacts. Digital Humanities Clubs Research over the last 15 years has suggested that women and minorities, groups who are severely underrepresented in the fields of computer science and information technology, avoid these fields because coursework seldom addresses the fields’ applications to large societal and cultural issues. In collaboration with the IRIS Center, the MJCH will establish digital humanities clubs that allow youth to learn about culture and history as they make websites, podcasts, documentaries, and digital maps. The digital humanities clubs will initially target grades 7-9, an age at which many students lose interest in STEM fields. Urban Gardening The first STEM element of the programming will build from current urban gardening educational activities with children from the Madison County Housing Authority. These activities include exploring composting, plant anatomy, hydroponics, and learning about pollinators. Students learn how STEM can help solve enduring human problems like sustainability and food access while interacting with their own community. Students will learn that even when using “techno-scientific approaches...the human element is just as important” since, for example, “we cannot solve sustainability problems without major transformations in the ways humans live and think” (Barton, 2015).