Anthropology Society organizes second annual Anthropology Day


Photo credit: Genevieve Humphreys

Trinity joined over 100 other schools nationwide to celebrate Anthropology Day on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 5 p.m. in the Storch Memorial Building.

The American Anthropological Association established Anthropology Day three years ago, and Trinity began to recognize the event last year. The Anthropology Society is hosting the event, with funding provided by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

“This is our second year to observe the day designated by the American Anthropological Association to encourage universities and secondary schools to educate people about the discipline and encourage students and teachers to celebrate the field with the world around them,” said Kate Schubert, secretary of the Sociology and Anthropology Society and one of the event organizers.

Along with Schubert, Jennifer Mathews, chair of Department of Sociology and Anthropology and faculty advisor for the Anthropology Society, is working with sophomore Kayla Padilla, president of Anthropology Society, and other members of the student organization to organize this event. (Padilla is an opinion columnist for the Trinitonian.)

“We want this to be their event, so they just come to me for feedback and to confirm about finances,” Mathews said. “I think [Anthropology Day] is a great recruiting tool for students who are thinking about majoring in it to understand why it matters. This is an attempt to raise awareness about just how significant anthropology and sociology can be.”

The event featured a raffle and food, as well as students and professors that volunteered to speak.

“The event is a celebration of anthropology as it is today, and the goal is to educate people on what anthropology is and what it’s like at Trinity both outside and inside the major,” said sophomore Camille Johnson, treasurer of the Anthropology Society. “I think events that celebrate some maybe less popular majors at Trinity, like anthropology, are important.”

Senior anthropology major Michael Paniagua spoke at the event about how anthropology provides a perspective not found in other departments on campus.

“I volunteered to speak about what anthropology is and why it’s important, so I’ll just be explaining what we do in the discipline, how it’s changed over time, and what it can reveal about the human condition that isn’t necessarily covered by other fields that study humans, such as biology, political science, philosophy,” Paniagua said. “The tools of anthropology, namely ethnography, reveal things that things like census data or universal claims don’t exactly hint at. Anthropology has that capacity for attending to lived experience that I don’t think that the other disciples really do.”

Last year Mathews was the main speaker of this event, but this year the Anthropology Society wanted to highlight the student experience in the anthropology department.

“It’s important to hear it from someone in the same position as you that’s in the midst of their schooling so that they can give you a better idea about what it’s really like to be a major at Trinity. Not just what you can do with it, but what it means to be in the process of figuring out what you can do with it [and] what it means to be in those courses. Those are just things that professors really can’t feel or explain,” said sophomore Madeline Smith, vice president of the Anthropology Society.

According to Mathews, anthropology is a versatile discipline and she encourages all students to attend the event and to join the Anthropology Society.

“Because of the nature of what we study, it’s applicable to virtually any career,” Mathews said. “We emphasize writing skills, presentation skills, data collection, analysis, the ability to synthesize information and put it all together in a coherent way. There can be a real benefit to having background in the social sciences.”

with additional reporting by Kendra Derrig, news editor