Week 01-Lab Reflection + Reading Response

1a) Innovation + Society Lab

In the middle of the day around 3:00 pm, I went to observe a place that I usually find myself in. The first location is a basketball court that I love and am familiar with. It’s located on the side of my fraternity, and I use this space often to play basketball, hangout with some friends, or even have social events on. Many others use this area of the house for basketball as well, and sometimes it gets very competitive. Usually when the fraternity recruits new members, they bring them to the basketball court because it’s a great environment for a bunch of guys who like sports and want to have a good time. 

I was in this location during the day, right in front of the house to the left. It’s ideal that there is a bus stop walking distance from the front door, but sometimes it’s not a place I really like due to past experiences of the bus being late or not even showing up. The bus stop is used by many of the guys that live in the fraternity house, allowing us to get to the quad more quickly. Additionally, I often come to this spot very early in the morning, so I don’t usually look forward to going to it. The bus stop has helped me in situations where I could’ve been late for class, so the idea of putting one right in front of the house makes it beneficial for everyone who lives around it as well. The house is located on the border of Urbana and Champaign, so it’s not as close as the rest of the houses in Champaign. 

2a) Reading Response

Why is the idea of Land Grant important to President Henry and the comments he 
makes in his 1968 speech? What was innovative about Land Grant – what did it change? 

The Land Grant is key to understanding the important history of the University of Illinois. While the initial vision of the Land Grant was clear in its emphasis on education for the agricultural laborer, its interpretation in society remains important to the needs of the school and its students, facility, and staff. The Morrill Act indirectly pushed Land Grant Universities to find a way to incorporate mechanical arts (Geiger 307). This act helped to fulfill the industrial and mechanical needs that were demanded by the respective states. 

The Land Grant opened institutions and transformed access to education and innovation from then on. For many land-grant universities such as the University of Illinois, this meant hopefully lowering the barrier to access of universities and increasing its growth in order to meet demand, although there was still a long way to go (Henry). In this, we can see that President Henry outlines Illinois as a prestigious University, but it requires intellects such as him to guide the University into the next century. By understanding the Land Grant’s perspective of education for people across the world to better equip them for their futures, we can then understand why it didn’t always work. At the same time of President Henry’s speech, there was a backlash by students against the university for not listening to them. Students felt insecure about their education and it was not enough to simply teach students on agriculture and industry, or marketing and advertising as originally expected, but to equip them with the intellectual and high-level thinking to solve any problem that came toward them.  As the student Centennial Convocation speaker Paul Schroeder said, “Let us all work together not so much to liberalize the present order, as to gain our liberation from it” (Schroeder). It is not enough for students to be educated through required classes, but to develop their own innovation as they grow older and make use of things that other people haven’t thought of yet.  

Response (to Goose’s post): 

I believe that both of our reading response posts have a lot to do with education reform and that the Land Grant focused mainly on wide educational opportunities, comprehensive curricula, and diversity. 

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