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Center for Ethics and Public Engagement moves Office to Olin

Victoria Christman and Krista Holland pose in the new Center for Ethics and Public Engagement office.

Victoria Christman and Krista Holland pose in the new Center for Ethics and Public Engagement office.

Kristen Wuerl (‘17) / Chips

Kristen Wuerl (‘17) / Chips

Victoria Christman and Krista Holland pose in the new Center for Ethics and Public Engagement office.

Kristen Wuerl, Staff Writer

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In an effort to be handicap accessible the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement (CEPE) moved from its previous location in Campus House to Olin 214.

The CEPE emphasizes interdisciplinary inquiry focuses on public engagement, and considers  what it means to be an active citizen, according to the

“The mission of the CEPE is to help Luther students connect their learning in this rich liberal arts environment with lives of purpose and engaged citizenship,” Director of the CEPE and Associate Professor of History Victoria Christman said. “Through the programming that we do, we hope to raise questions and provide venues in which the entire Luther community can engage in probing dialogue on the most important issues of our day.”

The CEPE was previously located on the second floor of Campus House. However, that space was not handicap accessible. The CEPE moved to Olin 214 and hosted an open house in the new space on Feb. 7. The eventual plan for the center is to move to the renovated Main building according to Christman.

In addition to the location change, the CEPE also underwent a name change. The organization was previously known as the Center for Ethics and Public Life.

“A couple of years ago, a committee was put together to assess the work of the Center for Ethics,” Christman said. “That committee produced a revisioning document which set out some dreams and ideas for the future of the Center [CEPE]. The name change was part of that process and was suggested because the committee felt as though it reflected the mission of the Center more than its former name.”

Pictured: Bookmark from Center for Ethics and Public Engagement.

For the 2017-2018 school year, the CEPE’s programming theme is “Difficult Conversations,” with this spring semester’s series entitled “Tough Talk, Calm Voices.” Featured programs and discussions this spring will include talks on immigration, the European refugee crisis, and issues surrounding Islam in the U.S. To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the CEPE and head of the Reformation Commemoration Planning Committee and Associate Professor of History Robert Christman will bring exhibits, speakers, and music performances to Luther, in addition to hosting a conference and symposium.

The CEPE will also begin a series of book groups and discussion circles this semester, some of which are led by current students including Sam Scheidt (‘17) and Scott Kleeman (‘18).

“[The CEPE] is an opportunity to open a space for academic discussion on lots of different topics and issues,” Scheidt said. “The center [CEPE] does a good job of trying to further that conversation for those who might be interested [in those topics] or for those who want to go beyond what they’re learning in their classes.”

One focus of Scheidt and Kleeman’s discussion group will be the topic of religion and how it relates to questions society asks today.

“Through this direct engagement of the subject, we can hopefully enlighten ourselves to learn more about all the perspectives and arguments on the table,” Kleeman said. “It’s a very complicated subject and [we don’t want] to alienate each other.”

Throughout the semester Scheidt and Kleeman will select of books to  discuss within their group. Scheidt’s first pick is C.S. Lewis’ “The Abolition of Man,” and discussions will occur every other Thursday at 8:00 p.m. To participate in a book group or discussion circle, visit the CEPE’s website or sign up in Olin 214.

The CEPE will provide the semester’s books for free to anyone participating in book groups. Funding for these and other programs is made possible by an endowment.

The Center’s next program, Immigration and Unaccompanied Minors, will be on Wednesday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Olin 102.

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