Highlights 2010-11

Villanova's Learning Communities Highlights of 2010-2011

April

During a weekend in April, several learning community classes enjoy a trip to Gettysburg.

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Students on a ridge overlooking Gettsburg
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December

The Nature and the World Learning Community will attend an off-campus theater production of Shakespeare's "Tempest" in early December.

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Having persevered through Purgatory-literarily, of course-with their reading of Dante's Purgatorio (the second in his three-part Comedy), Leadership Learning Community students gathered to celebrate the master of late medieval Italian poetry about all things between Heaven and Hell.  Arriving at the first annual "Dante Dinner," and dressed in either white or black (to signal their allegiance to either the Holy Roman Empire or to the Pope), students descended upon the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center to find it transformed into 13th century Florence.  Complete with a live blues band singing odes to some of the seven deadly sins, original rapping of Dante's praises, student skits of the poet's famous love triangle, freshly carved sides of ham and beef that recalled a medieval banquet, and-of course-sinful desserts, students enjoyed a night with friends and faculty recalling the high points of the semester.  Best of all was the surprise visit by Pope Boniface!  It was just the celebration to put our learning into action-and perspective-before hunkering down for finals.

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November

The Nature and the World Learning Community will gather for a film and pizza event.

On November 3, four years of the Global Learning Community gathered for a reunion in the East Lounge of Dougherty Hall.  Some eighty students came for food (22 pizzas) and fellowship with old classmates and new members of the community.  Students reminisced about common experiences, traded stories with students from other years, and promised to come to the spring reunion as well.

In November, after hearing references to the 1999 film "The Matrix" in not one but two Leadership Learning Community lectures (cited by Dr. Immerwahr as an cinematic illustration of Plato's famous "cave" allegory and by Dr. Yates as a modern-day example of the dualistic universe in which St. Augustine believed in his youthful days), students gathered in yet another professor's home for home-baked pizza, dessert, and a viewing of this classic movie "theater-style" in a comfy and cozy book-filled living room.  Other sections were able to enjoy the same hospitality as they prepared the final touches on their 4th hour group interviews with slected campus leaders, such as, basketball coach, Jay Wright, and Dean of the Business School, James Danko.

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October

Katharine Learning Community students attended a lecture by Iftekhar Hussain, Pennsylvania chairperson of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, on "Islam and the Qur'an on Creation and Care of the World."  The wide-ranging question-answer session was particularly lively.

The night after it opened, several Leadership and Virtue Learning Community sections accompanied their professor to the opening of the movie, The Social Network.  The students saw this movie not a megaplex theatre, but in a local, restored art deco movie theater, which is in walking distance (yes, it is a "good walk," but many students did it!) of campus.  As soon as the movie ended, a lively discussion of the movie broke out and continued for hours back in their residence hall.

As their second residence hall lecture, Leadership students thoughtfully listened to Dr. Jonathan Yates speak on Augustine and Evil.  Dr. Yates demonstrated how Augustine's thinking was central to the way he saw his world then, and to the way many see our world today.  Good discussion followed this lecture too on the electronic discussion board set up for their residence hall.

Dr. John Immerwahr's Leadership sections had a movie night and watched Invictus (great leadership movie), and on October 29 will have another movie night: Hitchcock's Vertigo, which is both a great pre-Halloween movie (it is a ghost story) but also a great Augustinian experience about misdirected love.  All of these events are totally optional for the students.

Fr. Richard Cannuli, O.S.A., invited the Arts & Culture Learning Community sections to visit him in his art studio to watch him make an icon of St. Michael.  Fr. Richard mixed paints by hand and demonstrated the techniques and steps involved in this traditional art form, explaining the spiritual significance of each step in addition to its practical application.

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