A world of events during Geography Awareness Week

If you think geography is just place names and state capitals, think again. Modern geography is a high-tech discipline that examines the science of place and the relationships between people and their environments.

Geo Week
UNI geography graduate and undergraduate students at the 2012 Association of American Geographers meeting in New York City.

The UNI geography department and members of UNI's Geography Club are eager to teach others about this important, expanding field. A national, annual event that helps them do that is Geography Awareness Week, held this year from Sunday, Nov. 17, through Saturday, Nov. 23.

"Geography Awareness Week gives us an opportunity to highlight the importance of understanding the complexity and connectedness of the world," said Patrick Pease, head of UNI's geography department. "Geography awareness is a broad concept, but basically, the goal is for people to understand the interactions of humans and natural systems; the interconnections of people and cultures locally and globally; and the implications of decisions that are made by communities and nations on people or environments in other places."

At 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, in the Innovative Teaching and Technology Center (ITTC), the UNI Geography Club will screen "Into the Mind," a film that explores fear, happiness and mortality against the backdrop of big-mountain skiing. Members of the UNI and local community are invited to attend the screening.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19, a display in the ITTC second-floor lounge will showcase a primary tool used by geographers—the map. Exhibit visitors can view various types of historical and thematic maps and learn how geographers use them to provide continuing interpretations of our world.

Wednesday, Nov. 20, is Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day. From 9 to 11 a.m. in Maucker Union, Geography Club members will share information and field questions about what GIS is, where it is headed and how it can be used across disciplines. Those who stop by the Geography Club table can play GIS/Geography Trivia and win prizes.

"Geography is one of the most fundamentally important subjects with which a well-educated person should be familiar, and geographic literacy is critical in maintaining a well-educated, globally aware workforce," said Pease. "The global reach of Iowa's agricultural businesses is a perfect example of the significance of geography, and international corporations like John Deere and Google have endorsed the need for better geo-literacy in our schools."

Learn more about UNI's geography department at www.uni.edu/csbs/geography.