University Hosts Symposium on What Makes America Great


On Thursday, Nov. 2, the curator of  What Makes America Great, Guy-Serge Emmanuel, hosted a symposium with other faculty members and had an open discussion of current issues in society and how art can help express solutions to those problems.

What Makes America Great exhibit is a collection of designs celebrating the things that artist from the Creative Action Network believe make America truly great.  It provides a compelling backdrop  for social justice discussion on topics such as education, journalism, back history, marriage equality, religious freedom, diversity, plurality, art and more.

The discussion opened with speaker Guy-Serge Emmanuel, assistant professor and graphic design coordinator, who spoke on resident aliens. Emmanuel, opens the discussion explaining that the reason the exhibit is at the university is because of the journalism poster that is front and center in the beginning of the exhibit. He spoke on his experience with  moving from Canada where he was born and raised to New York. He explains that through his experience he realized that he relates more to people who aren’t native born Americans.

“I relate a lot more to people who weren’t born in this country,” Emmanuel said.  He explains that the diversity posters in the exhibit plays a big part in what makes america great and that in some way immigrants add value to the country.

Dr. Olena Lenon, a political science professor for the university spoke on journalism. She elaborated on society’s interpretation of journalism and touched on how it is important to not follow fake news. Lenon, presented a powerpoint interpretation where she gives examples of fake news and the impact it holds on society and other countries.

“How people interpret the news and where they go to get news changes lives,” Lenon said.

Lenon, stresses that it is our responsibility to pursue facts and question authority.

“As consumers it’s our job to fact check and not trust everything you see on social media,” Lenon said.

Lenon, opened the floor with a question. How do you go about making sure news you read is accurate? One audience member explained that they fact check before they repost or reshare a news article.

The discussion continued with Steve Luber, coordinator of the theatre program who discussed art and theatre. Jamie Lynn Slenker, chair of art and design who spoke on monuments and how it affects society.

The take away from the symposium is art makes a difference and has an impact on society and current social issues such as fake news, immigrants, theatre and offensive monuments.