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The Chautauqua Institution in New York was founded in 1874 (just like Mac!) as a way to keep active brains stimulated during school breaks and vacations, but soon grew to be much more. With lectures, correspondence courses, and artistic performances the Chautauqua Institution brought topics such as art, music, religion, and writing to a population that wouldn’t have otherwise had access to education, including women and those in rural areas. This ultimately led to the Chautauqua Movement, composed of travelling bands and local groups learning together across the US and abroad.
Here at Macalester, we use the term Chautauqua in homage to that effort. Our version of the Chautauqua Institution is an annual week-long program that takes place after graduation in May. It’s coordinated by Employment Services and designed for campus staff and faculty. The program offers various trainings, seminars, and information sessions as a form of education, and as a way to bring people together and foster community. In recent years some popular sessions have been on well-being, mindfulness, organization strategies, new technology, College events, Campus initiatives, and general ways in which we are supporting our students’ educations, their College experiences, and each other.