SRU students invited to give a ‘Shout Out for the Humanities’


Feb. 23, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Regardless if the presentation is traditional or trendy, Slippery Rock University's Stone House Center for Public Humanities is asking SRU students to give a "Shout Out for the Humanities" March 1 at 2 p.m. in Room 321 of the Smith Student Center.

"Shout Out to the Humanities" is a contest open to all SRU students regardless of major, and provides a chance for participants to tell the world why the humanities are important, according to Laura Coulter, SRU instructor of geography, geology and the environment and event co-organizer.

"(The event) really offers students the experiential opportunity to take what they are learning in the classroom and put it into practice," said Coulter. "It's an opportunity to recognize and articulate what the humanities are, how it affects their lives, education and future, and share that with the world."

For the uninitiated, the humanities can be described as the study of how people process and document the human experience using the areas of philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history and language to understand and record the world.

"Everyone relies on the humanities, even if they don't recognize it," said Coulter. "For instance, we don't want our students to end up like Martin Shkreli, so we teach them about ethics. The fact that ethics fall under the humanities umbrella may not resonate with everyone, but it is and we need to recognize that."

Shkreli is the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. In September 2015, Shkreli received widespread criticism when Turing obtained the manufacturing license for the drug Daraprim and raising its price by 5,556 percent, from $13.50 to $750 per tablet.

"A big part of having this event is the ability to educate people outside of these disciplines (that they) are valuable," said Aaron Cowan, SRU associate professor of history and event co-organizer. "It provides students the opportunity to further explain the importance of the humanities to others as well as themselves by providing a deeper understanding through their presentations."

The SRU event is an offshoot of the national "Shout Out for the Humanities" contest sponsored by, the advocacy arm of the National Humanities Alliance.

"Although we're not funneling our students to the national conference this year, we're hoping our event will hopefully provide a springboard to doing that in the future," Coulter said.

Submissions will be judged for message, quality and impact. Entries could include: essays, videos, digital work, posters, songs, art, short stories or interviews.

"Students have free rein in terms of creativity," said Coulter. "It's all about expressing how those individuals connect to the humanities whether they express it through a single format or a combination."

Judges for the competition represent a cross section of Slippery Rock's University and local communities, including: Eva Tsuquiashi-Daddesio, dean of SRU's College of Liberal Arts; Brad Wilson, SRU interim associate provost for transformational programs; MJ McCurdle, owner, Bottlebrush Gallery; Karen Pierce, librarian, Slippery Rock Community Library; and Kevin Lukacs, a 2015 SRU graduate with a bachelor's degree in history.

Prizes will be awarded for first ($100), second ($75) and third ($50) places.

Entry forms are available in the Stone House Center for Public Humanities office in Spotts World Culture Building, or online at

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 |