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Popular UW Saturday U Program Returns to Gillette Feb. 9

January 31, 2017
photos of a woman and two men

Campbell County residents have the opportunity to be college students once again -- minus the tests, stress and homework -- with three professors from the University of Wyoming and Gillette College lecturing during UW’s popular Saturday U program Thursday, Feb. 9.

The half day of college classes and discussion begins with a light meal at 5:30 p.m. at the Campbell County Public Library, followed by a welcoming address at 6 p.m. The guest lectures begin at 6:05 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

Topics to be discussed are Hindu holy women in India, why electric cars may be more popular than ever and Heart Mountain Relocation Center’s legacy in Wyoming. Participants may attend one, two or all three lectures.

In its ninth year, Saturday U is a collaborative program that connects popular UW and Wyoming community college professors with lifelong learners. Offered seven times a year -- twice each in Jackson, Gillette and Sheridan; and once in Rock Springs -- Saturday U is sponsored by the university, the UW Foundation and Wyoming Humanities Council, and is presented locally by Gillette College and the UW Outreach School.

Listed below are program topic descriptions and professors lecturing:

6:05 p.m. -- “Leave Everything and Sing to God: Hindu Holy Women in India,” Antoinette DeNapoli, UW Department of Religious Studies associate professor.

DeNapoli will discuss ascetic women in India, whom she says are often overlooked. The presentation will examine the fascinating and little known world of female ascetics and how they worship through singing, storytelling and selfless service to others.

“They call these practices ‘singing to God,’” DeNapoli says. “This is how these women create religious authority and earn the respect of the communities.”

6:50 p.m. -- “Passing Gas: Why You May Be Driving an Electric Car in the Near Future,” Ray DeStefano, Gillette College, industrial electricity instructor.

For more than a century, electric vehicles have been in use, and now are poised for mass adoption, DeStefano says. Recent innovations to electric vehicles are now competing with gas in terms of performance and value. DeStefano will discuss the past and present state of electric vehicle technology, the hurdles of mass adoption and the reasons the switch is almost guaranteed.

7:35 p.m. -- “Wyoming’s Heart Mountain Relocation Center: A Living Legacy,” Eric Sandeen, UW American Studies Program professor.

During World War II, more than 14,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans were detained in barracks at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center between Powell and Cody. After the war, eager homesteaders carted off these temporary structures and incorporated them into local farms and ranches. Many remain to this day -- some easily identifiable, others thoroughly disguised as homes, sheds and outbuildings.

“These barracks reveal the stories of two waves of population in northwest Wyoming, one unwilling and the other willing,” Sandeen says.

His talk will explore what these buildings reveal and how their inhabitants changed the character of Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin.

The next spring Saturday U program is Feb. 25 in Sheridan.

For more information, visit the Saturday U website at

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