Outside the Faculty Center history was repeating itself, at least allegorically.
Students stacked box upon box, layer upon layer, until a wall was formed. Then they grabbed markers and scrawled messages. Go at it, one professor encouraged. Pretend it's spray paint.
Students created posters with graffiti to represent graffiti on the Berlin Wall.
Auf die Dauer Fallt die Mauer. The world's too small for walls. Idiots. We are all one! Borders: Scars on the land.
Inside the Faculty Center, students, faculty and interested community members stretched and prepared to get a quick lunch before returning for the afternoon session.
It's been 20 years since the wall separating East and West Germany fell. What things have changed since then?
That's the question faculty and staff from across the university addressed during a Nov. 6 symposium.
It's the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall and it's also the 60th anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany, said Dr. Arndt Niebisch, German professor. Germany just had elections, and now has a new parliament and new chancellor. It's a clear beginning for something new.
Some of the topics of the day included Globalization and Paradigm Shift in Post-Cold War U.S. Culture, Post-Unification Eastern German Literature, Immigration and Integration after the Wall and German Educational Reform.
Chancellor Linda P. Brady called upon her years of expertise with the Pentagon and spoke on Arms Control in the Post-Cold War World.
Twenty years ago, the American strategy of containment became irrelevant, she said. We're still searching for a new strategy.
At the end of the day, as a fitting symbol for all that was discussed, students kicked at the paper boxes they had so carefully stacked earlier.
The wall crumbled.