LIFE: Learning is ForEver

A venture of Recreation & Leisure Services Department and Community & Family Education 

MAYDAY! Peace Conference

Wed., May 3 | 10—11:20 a.m. | Gustavus Adolphus College Christ Chapel | Free

The MAYDAY! Peace Conference was created to inspire attendees to work for justice and peace throughout the world. Starting in 2023, the conference will follow a "teach-in" model. This format is designed to learn more about a complex and current topic from a variety of perspectives. The morning will include short remarks and a panel discussion from campus experts and time for small group dialogue.


Understand the Issue: Roe v. Wade Today

Thu., May 4 | 11 a.m. | SPCC Rm. 219 | Free

On Jan. 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that continues to divide the nation. In Roe v. Wade, the court ruled that a state law that banned abortions except to save the life of the mother was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. The decision has proved to be one of the most controversial cases in the court’s history and landed back at the Supreme Court in 2022. This program is rescheduled from the fall of 2022!

Jill Locke, Professor, Department of Political Science, Gustavus Adolphus College


My Escape Story: A Story of WWII

Tue., Jun. 6 | 2 p.m. | SPCC Rm. 219 | Free

On this 79th anniversary of the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy, retired SPHS French teacher Mary Behrends will share her father’s story of escape from occupied France. Arnold Pederson was the Flight Engineer on a B-17 that was shot down over northern France on February 8, 1944. The rest of the crew went down with the plane and were captured, but Arne heard the pilot's order to jump, so he did.  This is not a D-day story, but the great adventure of a young soldier from Knife River, MN who was saved by resistant fighters, and remained grateful to them for the rest of his long life.  He passed away this past December at the age of 100.

Mary Behrends, Retired SPHS Teacher

Poems from the Asylum: Martha Nasch

Tue., May 23 | 6 p.m. | SPCC Rm. 219 | Free

 Poems from the Asylum is a descendant-authored biography that goes beyond the haunted hospital walls to shed light on medical and mental health practices of the 1920s in the United States. Martha Nasch lived in the St. Peter State Hospital for the Insane in Minnesota as patient #20864. While institutionalized, Martha Nasch wrote down poetic testimonies of other female patients. Her words reflect deep empathy for the women, as well as reveal the tragic state of mental health care and perspectives during this time. Since those stories have been released, Martha Nasch has been called an advocate for the many women who never made it out. In one poem, she reflected: “From being in a place like this, of what you have to see… if you’re not insane when coming in, it won’t be long… you’ll be.” – Martha Nasch, “The Asylum,” Circa 1934. 

Signed books will be available for purchase on site. Due to the topics and themes presented, this event is not recommended for young audiences. 


The Stories that Shape Us

Fri., Jun. 16 | 11 a.m. | SPCC Rm. 219 | Free

Who do we think we are? And how did we get this way?  Societies are built on stories, and the media have become modern-day storytellers with an endless supply of tales to tell. In this interactive session, we'll examine media from different times and places (including from your very own living room!) to better understand how their stories have shaped the way we see ourselves (and others) in the world—for better and for worse. 

Martin Lang, Department of Communication Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College


The United States Flag: Origins, Evolution and Symbolism

Tue., Jun. 27 | 11 a.m. | SPCC Rm. 219 | Free

The United States Flag is an important, perhaps, the most important, symbol of our identity and national pride. The history of the Flag reflects the history of our Nation itself. Join us to hear that story.

David Jones, Historical Presenter