Smile Politely

Listen Up: February 13 – 19

WHAT: Engineers’ Week kickoff talk by Ed Viesturs, high-altitude climber

WHEN: Monday, February 13 @ 7 p.m.

WHERE: Foellinger Auditorium, 709 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana

From the event announcement: “Ed has summited Mount Everest 7 times, and all 14 of the 8,000 meter peaks, without the help of supplemental oxygen. Back in the United States, Ed has summited Mount Rainier 208 times. Ed has also worked extensively on product development and has help advance the sport of mountaineering. In addition to the aforementioned achievements, Ed won the American Alpine Club’s prestigious Sowles Awards in 1992 for his participation in two rescues on K-2, the world’s second highest mountain.”


WHAT:The Lake Erie Islands: A Natural Laboratory for Watersnake Evolution, Ecology and Conservation,” Dr. Richard King – Northern Illinois University

WHEN: Tuesday, February 14 @ 3 p.m.

WHERE: Forbes Natural History Building, 1816 S. Oak Street, Champaign

Nothing says romance like an afternoon with your beloved at a watersnake presentation! Tell those flower and diamond companies to buzz off and check out Dr. King’s speech.


WHAT:Australia: Darwin to Brisbane – a photo and nature safari,” Michael Jeffords and Susan Post

WHEN: Thursday, February 16 @ 3 p.m.

WHERE: Conference Room 1005, Forbes Natural History Building, 1816 S. Oak Street, Champaign


WHAT:Environmentalists and Animal Lovers: Friends? Foes?

WHEN: Thursday, February 16 @ 4 p.m.

WHERE: 103 Mumford Hall, 1301 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana

From the event announcement: “As we think about moral issues and the human place in nature, how should other life forms fit in? This session will explore the tensions between animal-welfare approaches and more ecological understandings of the moral landscape.  It will also consider both the moral status of species and rare communities as such and the essential roles of biodiversity in the functioning of healthy landscapes. At bottom, our varied reasons for wanting to conserve other life forms can lead to widely differing policies and actions.”


WHAT:Wisdom on Wall Street,” Rev. Axel Gehrmann, Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign

WHEN: Friday, February 17 @ 12 noon

WHERE: University YMCA, Latzer Hall, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign

From the event announcement: “The Occupy Wall Street movement has drawn national attention to the growing disparity of wealth within this country, as well as its moral and political implications. By reflecting on the actions of the financial industry during the housing boom and the housing bust, we may discover that the financial crisis provides both incentive and opportunity for far-reaching social and moral transformation.”


You live near a major university and a community college. There are smart people that come here every week to talk to the general public about interesting topics. Perhaps you were not aware of this fact, or were overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities for possible enlightenment. If that’s the case, Smile Politely understands and is here to help. Here are several events going on in town this week. Check out one or more of them if you have time. Get your learn on, as they say, and join the cognoscenti. It’s free, you know. Plus, sometimes there’s free food, too!

If you have a community event, speaker, or film event that you’d like to see featured on Listen Up!, send the event information to joelgillespie [at] smilepolitely [dot] com by Friday the week prior to the event. Listen Up! runs on Tuesdays when classes are in session.

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