The Smithsonian U tent featured master educators offering short informative talks for general audiences. Borrowing its design from a typical university classroom, the tent featured a lectern and classroom-style seating. The space was low-tech and intimate in order to encourage casual conversations between the presenters (many of them scientists and university professors) and visitors, an uncommon experience in today’s world of digital presentations and distance learning.
Developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and with participation from many land-grant universities, the Smithsonian U presentations covered a broad range of topics—including USDA entomologists describing edible insects, USDA Forest Service biologists on urban forests, University of Montana paleontologists on dinosaur research, University of California, Davis, brewmasters on the value of beer, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, engineers on the benefits of solar-powered houses, and University of Illinois students reflecting upon their disabilities through poetry.
Video: Charlie Bamforth, department chair of Food, Science, and Technology at the University of California, Davis, discusses the merits of beer during a presentation at the 2012 Campus and Community Festival program. Brewing, mankind’s oldest biotechnology, has been taught at UC Davis for nearly fifty years. Videotaped and edited by Kelsey Michael