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Popular UW Saturday U Program in Gillette Oct. 27

October 20, 2016
head portraits of Scott Henkel, Jacqueline Shinker and Seth Ward

The University of Wyoming will host the final, free one-day college education program of the fall in Gillette Thursday, Oct. 27. The Saturday U discussion features three different topics from a trio of professors.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. beginning with a light meal and refreshments at the Campbell County Public Library, followed by opening remarks at 6 p.m.

Each Saturday U event -- held in the fall and spring in Jackson, Sheridan and Gillette -- features lectures from three outstanding UW professors or community college representatives. Following the lectures, all three professors will participate in a final roundtable discussion. Participants may attend one, two or all three sessions. No registration is required, and the event is free and open to the public.

In its eighth year, Saturday U is a collaborative program connecting popular UW and community college professors with Wyoming residents who have a desire to learn. Saturday U is sponsored by UW, the Wyoming Humanities Council, Wyoming community colleges and Wyoming communities. The program is presented locally by the UW Outreach School, the Wyoming Humanities Council and Gillette College.

Listed below are program topic descriptions and UW professors lecturing in the Campbell County Public Library:

6:05 p.m. -- “What Could Democracy Be?” Scott Henkel, UW Department of English assistant professor.

As the presidential election approaches, Henkel’s lecture will examine how writers and thinkers have understood democracy and have imagined its possibilities.

“What has democracy been in the United States, in ancient Athens, in cooperative workplaces, even on pirate ships and spaceships? Who should participate in the democratic process, and what should that participation be? What might the future of democracy look like?” Henkel asks.

6:50 p.m. -- “An Introduction to Islam for the Equality State,” Seth Ward, UW Department of Religious Studies senior lecturer.

“Within more than a billion adherents, Islam is the second-largest religion in the world and the fastest-growing religion in the USA,” Ward says. “But, there is surprisingly little knowledge of Islam in our media as opposed to alarmist rumor.”

Ward, an expert in both Islam and Judaism, will dispel the myths and falsehoods, and will provide a simple and accurate description of Islam and its core beliefs and practices.

7:35 p.m. -- “Climate, Drought and Water in the West,” Jacqueline Shinker, UW Department of Geography associate professor.

The Intermountain West contains eight of the 10 driest states in the country, Shinker says.

“And much of our water resources in the region are dependent upon the natural reservoirs of seasonal mountain snowpack,” she says. “Costly droughts in the region impact water resources for agriculture, energy, recreation and municipalities.”

Her presentation will provide context for recent droughts and the impacts of climate on past, present and future water resources in the West.

For more information about the Gillette program, visit the website at

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