Committee discusses France Semester

Scott Hasty

Through suggestion and debate, an “authentic” French experience was on the minds of several people.

The committee met up Jan. 27. Topics discussed throughout the meeting included budgeting for the semester, possible activities for the semester, and commercializing the semester using a variety of tools such as logos.

One of the goals on the agenda was how to further the community’s knowledge of France using “different and interesting” techniques.

“I know we are in the process of trying to find authentic French music groups to come and perform at the university,” said Chris Young, senior French education major. “There is one particular group in mind that will be playing in Jeff City in a few weeks and I think someone from the committee was going to go see them perform.”

Other suggestions included bringing in an expert of French cinema and building a “French Wall” with French trademarks decorating the tribute to France. Southern may get a taste of French cuisine as a suggestion for a visit by a French culinary artist was presented.

“We want suggestions into what we want and don’t have,” said Chad Stebbins, director of the institute of international studies.

Budgeting was also on the to-do list as the committee discussed finances. As activity ideas for the French semester came up, spending was a priority to the committee.

“[The committee] would like to have everything finalized by the end of semester,” Stebbins said.

The committee discussed a possible April 1 deadline for all activity suggestions.

Also discussed was possible French Semester logo designs. Designs ranged from the Eiffel Tower to the Marianne of France.

Debate followed that some of the logos may show “unwanted political connotations” or that some of the logos were “overly cosmopolitan.”

Toward the end of the discussion, there was a suggestion for a logo of a stylized Eiffel Tower encompassed by the hexagonal silhouette of geographical France.

“The goal of the logo should be two things,” Stebbins said. “One, the logo should be adaptive to all forms of media use such as newspapers and brochures. Two, the logo should be able to teach or cause people to learn something new.”

So what does this French Semester have to offer students?

“Personally I think it will be interesting because this is the first European country to be featured by MSSU and I think that students will not only get to learn about the French culture, but maybe a little bit about Europe in general,” Young said. “Most people do not know a lot about France, the people, or their customs, except for the fact that they speak French and the Eiffel Tower is there.

Young said with recent events which have occurred in the country, students will now have a better understanding of the country.

“After all the bad media about France and its relationship with the U.S., I think this France-themed semester will give students the opportunity to learn more about the French culture than what they have learned from watching the news,” he said.

The meeting ended with more suggestions for the upcoming semester theme and ideas yet to be reviewed.