Consumer sciences to celebrate its centennial

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the family and consumer sciences department will participate with 100 hours of community service and host several events during Homecoming Week.

Mikki Sherwood, the interim assistant chair of family and consumer sciences, said the department was called home economics 100 years ago, and the name as well as the core curriculum has changed many times.

She said the subject is a form of applied sciences, which means the instructors teach the students in a hands-on approach in the fields they are planning on going into. Additionally, the program is interdisciplinary and the students should not just know one facet of consumer sciences; they should know and understand multiple areas of study.

“FCS is very heavy into experience living,” Sherwood said. “We’re trying to get away from the idea that we’re (only) cooking and sewing.”

In a matter of a century, the program has gone through quite a few changes. The clothing and textile part of the program has a new set of sewing machines, as well as a textile design lab, Sherwood said.

She said the students in the concentration now learn how clothes react under certain conditions and now the students are able to design their own clothes within the labs; students may also design their own fabric.

Unsurprisingly, the food labs from the past have changed, as they have more quantity foods. The labs now focus on large foods, which are offered to the public, Sherwood said.

She said the department was the first program to offer online courses and allow students to complete a master’s program online.

“Teaching is really important to us; (technology) really has changed everything,” Sherwood said.

Linda Simpson, the interim chair of family and consumer sciences, said in celebration of their department and the changes, they will have various events and donation opportunities.

Nike Reuse-A-Shoe is one of the services they are offering in which students will be able to donate their shoes to be grinded and broken down to help build track fields.

One Stop Community Christmas will be a fleece blanket assembly where the students will be able to make fleece blankets and donate them to children in the surrounding counties.

Simpson said there would also be an event called Senior Wish where students can visit elderly citizens, grant them one wish and help fulfill it.

The department will have an open house at 4 p.m. on Friday in Klehm Hall Room 1418. The department will also take part in the Homecoming Parade at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Seventh Street, which will lead into their tailgating and alumni tent city at 10:30 a.m.

She said despite enrollment being lower, the program has always had a strong presence on campus with 200 students graduating each year and 400 usually being enrolled.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]