Geography Awareness week kicks off Monday

Morgan Wagner, Contributing Writer

A colloquium lecture at Eastern and Geographic Information Science Day at the University of Illinois will both be part of this year’s Geography Awareness Week.

Geography Awareness Week was passed by Congress in 1987 and has been happening at Eastern ever since. This year’s theme for Geography Week is the Civil Rights Movement.

The Eastern geology and geography department are hosting a colloquium lecture at noon in the Physical Science Building, Room 3040. Provost Jay Gatrell will give this talk.

Gatrell will be discussing urban greening, assessing urban change and uneven development of proxy data.

There will also be a statewide event at the University of Illinois called GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Day. The event includes a map and poster competition at the core of newly renovated Natural History Building. This event will take place at noon on Wednesday Nov. 15. Awards will also take place around 1 p.m. for best poster and maps.

Geography professor Barry Kronenfeld said the department currently has 30 undergraduate majors and 10 students in the master’s program.

“The growth of this major went down the last four years, but it looks like it’s starting to come up again, even our master’s program that started four years ago has been growing,” Kronenfeld said.

The department focuses on three sciences: human, physical and geographic information. To most students, geography means the study of how things vary in space, but to Kronenfeld it is much more.

Kronenfeld said he wants people to know geography is also about understanding all the different layers of this planet, people, environment, weather, soil and rocks and how those relate to each other, how humans affect the environment and how the environment affects humans.

For any other information on Geography Awareness Week or any other questions regarding geography, those interested can contact department chair Diane Burns at [email protected] or call her office number at 217-581-2827.

Morgan Wagner can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].