Michele Bresler (SESP ’63) serves on the board of The Alumnae of Northwestern University as public relations chair. NBN talked to Ms. Bresler about a special summer course open to the public entitled Evanston: Celebrating 150 Years.
What is Northwestern Alumnae and what is your position within the organization?
Northwestern Alumnae is an all-volunteer organization of 60 women who are all alumnae and we put on the continuing education for seniors and people in the community. We have courses year-round. The spring classes are Arab Spring Revisited, Latin America Literature and Culture, The Rise and Fall of the South African Apartheid State and The History of Hell. Every quarter we put on four courses and every summer we put on two.
How difficult was it getting these professors to sign on? How will the classes be structured?
I think they were very excited about it. [History professor Henry] Binford has taught for us many times and they all work with the Evanston150 organization. They were people with expertise in the area in the various subjects.
Usually the sessions last two hours with a 10-minute break. Typically, the professors use slides or overhead. They typically leave time at the end for Q-and-A.
What kind of turnout are you expecting? Will lack of parking on campus be a deterrent?
We usually have our courses in Norris and McCormick Forum, but some of our courses had to be moved to Beth Emet because there was no place on campus that was available and big enough to hold it. There aren’t many places or venues at Northwestern available during the school year. Right now we’re projecting the class to be in the [Owen L. Coon Forum]. If it gets too big we’ll move to McCormick depending on the room availability. We typically get around 4,000 students a year.
We are arranging to have a shuttle bus which is what we normally do during the year. We usually don’t have buses during the summer but we will have them this year to get them as close as possible [to the class location.]
How else are the Northwestern Alumnae commemorating the 150th anniversary of Evanston’s founding?
There is a whole organization just for Evanston 150. They’ve had lectures at the libraries, art events and other things in commemoration of the anniversary. They’ve been active and have had a number of events and we’ve been cooperating with them.
Do you take the classes?
Sure I do: One of the benefits of being on the board is that we get to go for free. They’re fabulous. I’m a 50-year resident in Evanston so I’m looking forward to learning some new things about my town.