Interactive speech to encourage communication, connecting through different viewpoints

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

Marne Austin, a professor from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., will give an interactive speech at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Tarble Arts Center for the second annual Camille Compo Memorial.

Austin’s discussion is titled “Buoys Instead of Anchors: Connecting with Each Other Through Language To Go Beyond.” A reception will follow immediately after the talk.

Compo, who the memorial talk is named after, was a former staff member in the business office.

She was also one of the founders of the women’s studies department at Eastern, now called women’s, gender and sexuality studies.

Jeannie Ludlow, coordinator of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, recalled a conversation she had with Compo when she was new in town and new in Compo’s neighborhood.

Ludlow said after telling Compo about being the new coordinator of the women’s studies department, Compo told Ludlow she “has the best job ever.”

“Then she told me all this history of the women’s studies program,” Ludlow said. “She was there for all of it.”

Ludlow said she met Austin through a mutual colleague and friend at Bowling Green State University a couple years ago.

“(Austin) was talking about her research and how her research was about how to think through how we communicate across differences, and how people can be better at that,” Ludlow said. “And how we can work toward social change just by listening to other people—people maybe we don’t get to usually listen to.”

With social issues heating up around the country, Ludlow thought Austin would be a perfect person to bring on campus for this particular event.

Ludlow said Rehema Barber, the director and chief curator of Tarble, is a genius who sets up wonderful events at Tarble and makes sure everything runs beautifully.

“She honestly did most of the work,” Ludlow said with a smile.

Ludlow said Austin plans to make the discussion very interactive.

“(Austin) is not using PowerPoint slides. She doesn’t want a stage; she wants a cordless mic so she can walk around,” Ludlow said.

Ludlow said she encourages students to attend Austin’s discussion Wednesday, especially if they think the world has taken a turn for the worse recently.

“I would encourage students to attend because right now in the United States and all over the world, the primary way that we talk about politics is arguing,” she said. “Arguing is going to sink us all. It is making us less smart, it is making us less kind, it is making us less valuing of others. I think that finding ways to have conversations that are difficult—and not change people’s minds, but have the conversations and be respectful—is what will save us.”


Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].