Today, the Von Canon Library hosted the first in a series of lunchtime discussions this semester. The subject of the brown bag lunch was Cuba: People and Policy and began with Dr. Ariel Rodriguez, associate professor of family and child development, speaking about life as a Cuban American. Dr. Rodriguez, who happens to be my dad, is the son of two Cuban refugees, Enrique and Gloria Maria Rodriguez. In his remarks, he spoke of the conditions under which his parents left Cuba and started a new life in America, as well as his own experiences growing up in Southern California. His portion of the discussion ended with a brief question-and-answer session.
After that, Dr. Jeremiah John, associate professor of politics, spoke about the history of Cuba from a political perspective, as well as what the current diplomatic arrangements between the U.S. and Cuba could mean for both countries. Students, librarians and the two professors asked questions, made comments, and had a lively discussion of the key issues, such as whether lifting the embargo will benefit the Cuban people, how increased tourism may affect Cuba’s economy, and what all of this will mean for Cuban Americans.
At the conclusion of the discussion, Dr. Christopher Richardson, director of library services, described several new books on Cuba that the library recently added to its collection. I really appreciated this gesture by the library and checked out two of the recommended books. It was a great experience to be able to discuss a current event with knowledgable professors and others, and then to be able to follow up the discussion by learning more through the library’s updated collection of relevant books. Dr. Richardson also announced that the library will hold more of these lunchtime discussions throughout the coming semester. He said that the library plans to host discussions on a variety of topics and not just political issues. I look forward to the next time I can have such an elevated, informative discussion with the campus community.
(Post by Hannah King ’13. Photo by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)