DO NOT PUBLISH A WUmester that is full of reminders

Alyssa Storm


WUmester is an event that Washburn University hosts every spring semester that consists of topics that are related to diversity, that are also relevant to the world today. The event is also open to the entire community of Topeka. The topic for this semester is focusing on Citizenship and Suffrage not only in the United States, but all over the world. 

This topic is very timely to have this year because there are many historical anniversaries approaching this year.

“These topics were chosen because of the anniversaries that take place,” said Kelly Erby. “This is the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the year of the census, and the year of an election.” 

The topics that were chosen not only focus on voting rights of African American men and white women, they also have some events that are geared toward the African American women in history. When asked, Erby said that she is excited about this year’s topic because it ties in well with a class that she is teaching this semester.

“I’m personally excited about the topic because I’m teaching a class, Women in US History, that looks at the role of not only white women but women of color too,” said Erby. 

Another notable event taking place is the Lanker Exhibit at the Mulvane Art Museum that will be open from Feb. 7 – June 13. This exhibit is called “I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women who Changed the World.” Additionally, on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Neese Gray Theater, a Lincoln-Harman Lecture featuring Koritha Mitchell’s lecture “Homemade Citizenship: All but Inviting Injury.” There are also lectures taking place that will be talking about voting rights and different civil activists. 

With politics being as prominent as it is in our everyday lives, some faculty feel it is important that people recognize all of the sacrifices that were made to get the rights that we have today. 

“We need to graduate students who are aware of what is going on in the world around them,” said Erby.  

The topics of rights and inclusion makes sense to see because of Washburn University’s history. Before it was Washburn University, the school was known as Lincoln College which was one of the first universities in the United States to be opened up to African Americans and women in the late 1800’s.

“Early on I think Washburn played a role in being an open-access campus,” said Erby. “This event lives up to that legacy.” 

There are events happening from late January all the way to the end of June to a shine light on all of these topics. There have been a large number of people across campus working to put on these events.

“There is something in it for everyone and for all different jobs and all different majors,” said Erby. 

WUmester is meant to discuss topics that are related to the real world today. Having suffrage and citizenship as the topic in such a memorable year is idyllic to attempt to keep everyone who attends interested and knowledgeable of the current news in the world today.

Edited by Adam White,