2017-2018 Cultural Enhancement Series lineup released

Casey Mccarthy

WKU has released the lineup and schedule for the 2017-2018 Cultural Enhancement Series, an annual series of events inviting speakers and performers to WKU.

The lineup will consist of five speakers throughout the year, covering a wide range of topics and concepts.

Kelly Scott, Coordinator of the Cultural Enhancement Series, said she feels these speakers offer a unique opportunity to students at WKU, not only with the events.

“Guests of the series will oftentimes host a master class or a meet and greet with students, in addition to their lecture or performance,” Scott said. “Additionally, it’s a great connection with the community; we invite community members to every event, also at no cost.”

Scott said members of the Cultural Enhancement Series Committee aim to bring in a wide range of individuals who have never visited WKU in the past. They try and find groups and individuals students wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to see otherwise, she said.

Roxanne Gay, who will be speaking Sept. 19, is the author of a number of books, including New York Times’ bestseller, Bad Feminist. Gay has had her work featured in collections such as the Best American Mystery Stories 2014 and is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.

Robert Reich, now a professor at the University of California Berkeley, is a leader in the topics of economics and politics. Reich has served under numerous national administrations, including Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton. Reich is the author of numerous bestselling books nationally as well, including The Work of Nations. Reich will be speaking Oct. 18.

Early 2018, on Feb. 2, there will be a performance by the Yamato Drummers, known for energetic, vibrant performances featuring traditional Japanese Wadaiko drums. The Yamato Drummers were founded in Nara in 1993, said to be the heart of Japanese culture.

On Feb. 13, Paul Alan Cox, a researcher known for his work in ethnobotanical drug discovery, will discuss research being done in remote villages globally in hopes of fighting a number of serious brain diseases.

The last speaker of the series, Daniel Levitin, visiting March 5, is the author of three consecutive chart-topping bestsellers, including: This is Your Brain on Music, The World in Six Songs and The Organized Mind. Levitin is a member on a handful of university staffs across the nation.

Sara Volpi, Coordinator of Literary Outreach at WKU, said committee members, including herself, want people to leave the events inspired, and believes it is definitely a goal they have as a group.

“We try and bring in people that are culturally relevant, politically relevant and people dealing with things and concepts people have been struggling with, or talking about,” Volpi said.

Volpi said she hopes the diversity of the committee, which includes artists, musicians, professors and staff on campus, can reflect their diversity as a group through the speakers they select.

Reporter Casey McCarthy can be reached at (270) 745-0655 and [email protected].