VAS hosts Anthropology Week

CIO looks to expand presence on Grounds, spread love for anthropology

lfanthropologyweekcourtesyvirginiaanthropologysociety

The Virginia Anthropology Society painted Beta Bridge to promote their weeklong event. 

Courtesy Virginia Anthropology Society

The Virginia Anthropology Society at the University organized a week full of engaging anthropology-related events, culminating in National Anthropology Day Feb. 19th.

The group was inspired to coordinate an Anthropology Week after students enjoyed a small celebration for National Anthropology Day last year.

“We decided to do a weeklong event to generate interest in anthropology and get everyone to participate and learn more about it,” fourth-year College student and president of VAS Sona Sosa said.

Throughout the week, VAS hosted a cultural potluck with food and performances, a screening of the movie “Cannibal Tours” and a mini archaeological dig.

The Virginia Anthropology Society is a relatively new CIO, but the executive board is passionate about getting more students involved.

“We are trying to build our organization, get our name out there and make sure that people know this is a club you can join,” third-year College student and VAS membership co-chair Nikki Gallahan said. “It’s open to everyone, you don’t have to be an Anthropology major to join.”

In fact, the organization’s executive board includes majors as diverse as Spanish and biology.

“A lot of people are double majors,” second-year College student and VAS membership co-chair Bridgette Degnan said. “As a discipline, anthropology is a really good major to supplement another.”

In addition to the Anthropology Week, VAS holds monthly gatherings for members and other events to engage the student body.

“For two years running we have done a ‘Death and Dinner’ series which sounds a little morbid,” Degnan said. “We have different professors, not necessarily in the Anthropology department, and they talk about their field of study in relation to death.”

VAS aims to be a uniting force at the University. The CIO hosts a variety of events to show they welcome students to explore anthropology outside of the purely intellectual realm of the classroom.

“That’s a key thing that VAS tries to do, which is incorporate everyone from different clubs and different majors,” Gallahan said. “I feel like that’s kind of rare in an organization, a lot of times organizations are specifically geared to one interest, and this way VAS can bring together all of those different interests into one.”

Although the organization has a social aspect, the leaders all feel passionately about the field of anthropology.

“[Anthropology] makes you question things and I think it’s always great to question things, and to seek knowledge and see things in a different way,” Sosa said. “Being in academia, you should always be questioning things and wondering why something is, and if it should be that way.”

Even though these students find anthropology classes push back against traditional thinking, they believe students can still find a class which coincides with their interests.

“You don’t have to step out of your comfort zone too much to find an anthropology class that relates to what you’re doing because it’s so broad that you can pair it with globalization or medical anthropology or a certain tribe in the Amazon,” Degnan said. “It’s whatever you want to make it.”

Through their promotion of anthropology and outreach efforts, VAS members are hoping for a bright future for their organization.

“I want people to want to be in VAS,” Gallahan said. “I don’t want people to use it as a resume builder, I want people to join VAS because they think it’s going to be a fun experience.”

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