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Past Events

KU Common Book Club for Faculty and Staff

The Office of First-Year Experience will be hosting a summer reading club focused on The Worst Hard Time. Learn more about the KU Common Book Club.

Hawk Week Discussions

Sunday, August 25, 2013
4 p.m.

Discussions will be held on residence hall floors for those in Student Housing. Those living off-campus will meet to discuss in the gallery of the Spencer Museum of Art from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Robbing the Soil: Opening Reception

Thursday, September 12, 2013
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Watson Library, Third Floor West

KU Libraries is hosting an exhibit featuring the work of Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Dust Bowl scholar Donald Worster, titled Robbing the Soil. The exhibit will be on display from September 12, 2013 - January 31, 2014. An opening reception will take place on September 12, 2013 featuring a presentation titled "A Tale of Two Dust Bowls: Kansas and Environmental History" by Edmund Russell. Please RSVP by September 6 if you would like to attend the reception.

Workshop: KU Water Research

Friday, September 13, 2013
8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
The Commons (Spooner Hall)

A working group has formed for the purpose of promoting water research on the KU campus. It will host a half-day workshop on Friday, September 13 focusing on the development and support of the community of KU researchers who are interested in multidisciplinary projects involving water resources and sustainability. The workshop will feature a forum on the challenges of water-related research, a keynote presentation, a panel discussion, and break-out sessions designed to identify the most critical issues relating to water. Attention will also be given to sources of federal and foundation funding, resources for proposal development, and opportunities to form or join research groups. Lunch will be provided. To RSVP, e-mail Tricia Bergman at the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

Research Corner Talk: Man's Impact on the Environment

Thursday, September 19, 2013
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Watson Library, Third Floor West

As part of it's ongoing Research Corner Talk series, the KU Libraries will feature a presentation by Sara Gregg, Assistant Professor of History, and Greg Cushman, Associate Professor of International Environmental History, titled Man's Impact on the Environment.

Gallery Talk: Dust

Thursday, September 26, 2013
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Spencer Museum of Art

Kate Meyer, who curated this exhibition by pulling together works of art documenting the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, will lead this in-gallery discussion. This popular series of informal gallery talks is designed for senior citizens but open to everyone.

Lunch and Learn - Surviving the Dust Bowl

Thursday, September 26, 2013
11:30 a.m.
Kansas Union, Centennial

Surviving the Dust Bowl (2007) is a documentary of families and farmers who lived through 10 years of dust, disease, and drought in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas during the 1930s. A discussion moderated by AMS doctoral students Geoffrey Newman and Carla Tilghman will accompany the 53-minute documentary. This Lunch and Learn event is part of the week long 60 Years of American Studies at KU celebration. Lunch will be provided. Free and open to the public. This event is sponsored by the Department of American Studies and the Office of First-Year Experience.

An Evening with Author Timothy Egan

Thursday, September 26, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Lied Center

Timothy Egan, author of the 2013-14 KU Common Book The Worst Hard Time, will present a keynote. This Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author will speak to his experience writing The Worst Hard Time, as well as take questions from the audience. A book signing will follow the event. Learn more about Timothy Egan's time on campus, including a video.

Coffee and Conversation featuring Timothy Egan

Friday, September 27, 2013
9 a.m.
The Commons (Spooner Hall)

Light refreshments and a question and answer session featuring Timothy Egan, author of the 2013-14 KU Common Book.

Campus-wide Food Drive

Entire month of October

Donations will support Just Food, the Douglas County Food Bank, and will be shared with over 40 partner agencies. The drive is cosponsored by the Center for Community Outreach, the Center for Sustainability, Unclassified Senate and University Support Senate. You can support the food drive in the following ways:

  • Bring non-persishable food - drop off site available across campus.
  • Make an online donation at, and select KU Fights Hunger.
  • Text JUSTFOODKS to 80888 to donate $10 that will be added to your cell phone bill.

Lecture: Kate Meyer - Art and the Dust Bowl

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, 309 Auditorium, Gallery 405

Kate Meyer, curator of the exhibition "Conversation XV: Dust" discusses art from and about the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, including works that chronicle that period, its aftermath, and memory. This gallery talk, open to the public at large, is a qualifying event in Visual Art for Arts Engagement students.

Hunger at Home

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Kansas Union, Alderson Auditorium

Jeremy Farmer, CEO of Just Food, will be the featured speaker along with a panel of people who are involved in fighting hunger locally.

A Place at the Table

Thursday, October 17, 2013
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Liberty Hall

“A Place at the Table,” a documentary about hunger in America, will be shown at Liberty Hall. Suggested minimum donation of $3. Co-sponsored by Bread for the World and Films for Action.

Hunger Advocacy Training

Thursday, October 24, 2013
7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Kansas Union, Malott Room

Join Zach Schmidt from Bread for the World for a workshop focused on  communicating with elected officials and advocating for the hungry.

Conversation with Artist Scott Jost

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, 309 Auditorium

Scott Jost, associate professor of art at Bridgewater College in Virginia, visits KU for a public discussion. A major work by Jost features in this year’s "Dust" exhibition in conjunction with KU’s Common Book, "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan. Based on Jost’s personal experience of a dust storm near Salina, “A Book of Nine Februarys” (1994-1995) chronicles his effort to remember that storm and to contemplate the legacy of other droughts and dust storms in the Great Plains region.

A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth

Thursday, November 21, 2013
7:00 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Auditorium

The Kansas Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa will be hosting Professor Alexander Field of Santa Clara University as part of the organizations Visiting Scholar Program. In this lecture Professor Field reprises the argument of his 2011 book that the 1930s were the most technologically progressive epoch of the past century.  The lecture is illustrated with visuals, accessible to a general audience, and makes the case for this surprising hypothesis. The topic ties into the KU Common Book for 2013-2014, Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time. Official promotional poster.

KU Common Book Spring Discussion Groups

Monday, January 27, 2014
4 - 5 p.m.
Watson Library, Third Floor West

Students entering KU for the spring semester are invited to discuss The Worst Hard Time with faculty, staff, and other new students at this book discussion.

Libraries Lecture Series - Donald Worster

Thursday, February 6, 2014
10 - 11:30 a.m.
Watson Library, Third Floor West

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History Donald Worster, author of Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, will discuss his research on the Dust Bowl as part of the Libraries Lecture Series. Worster's work is also showcased in the Libraries' Robbing the Soil exhibit, currently on display in the Library Gallery.

Documentary Screening - The Dust Bowl

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
5:00 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Auditorium Room 309

A screening of the abridged, 53-minute version of Ken Burns' documentary The Dust Bowl will be followed by discussion of the film.  

Conversation XV: Dust 2013-14 KU Common Work of Art

August 3 - December 15, 2013
Spencer Museum of Art, 20/21 Gallery Conversation Wall

In conjunction with KU’s selection of The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan as its common book for the 2013-14 academic year, the Spencer Museum of Art has selected a series of objects that chronicle the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, its aftermath, and memory.

1 Kansas Farmer

August 3 - December 15, 2013
Spencer Museum of Art, Lobby Gallery

1 Kansas Farmer renews collaboration between the Spencer Museum of Art and advanced University of Kansas graphic design students enrolled in a course taught by Professor Patrick Dooley. These posters—as well as the Spencer’s related Dust exhibition — are inspired by the selection of Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time as KU’s 2013-14 Common Book.

Robbing the Soil: A KU Libraries Exhibit

September 12, 2013 - January 31, 2014
Watson Library, Gallery

Sponsored by the KU Libraries, this exhibit features the work of Dust Bowl scholar and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History Donald Worster.


KU Common Music: Party at the Dance Pavilion

Friday, April 25, 2014
5 - 7 p.m.
Dance Pavilion, Potter Lake

Maw and Drakkar Sauna to play, free hot dogs, popcorn, soda, and water.  A final celebration of the 2013-2014 KU Common Book, The Worst Hard Time. 

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