MSU delegates travel to Smithsonian Folklife Festival

More than 50 Mississippi State students, faculty and staff are traveling to Washington, D.C., over the next two weeks, representing the university at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Participation in the festival, an annual event on the National Mall since 1967, is one way MSU is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act. Among the festival's 2012 themes, the Campus and Community emphasis commemorates the historic legislation, which led to the founding of land-grant universities.

An interactive educational experience celebrating contemporary living cultural traditions, it takes place June 27-July 8. A university website at offers centralized information about the land-grant celebration and the university's festival exhibitions.

Mississippi State will highlight three programs to illustrate technologies, contributions, and service of today's land-grant.

MSU's EcoCAR--which earned a national championship for the university in May at a Los Angeles, Calif. Competition--will be on exhibit as part of the festival's Sustainable Solutions area.

In the festival's Reinventing Agriculture area, a thermography exhibit will demonstrate how this technology captures images that visualize temperature gradients or radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The College of Veterinary Medicine also will bring the Mobile Veterinary Clinic to showcase an ambitious approach in providing spay and neuter services to animal shelters in the rural state.

Like Smithsonian museums, the festival is free, with more than one million visitors attending each year.

MSU President Mark Keenum will be among those traveling to Washington, D.C. He plans to tour the university's exhibits along with his guests from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

In addition to Keenum's visit, many MSU representatives will be working the university exhibits, providing brief public lectures in the "Smithsonian U" area, and volunteering in Reunion Hall, a designated space for land-grant alumni and friends.

MSU also will be represented in a taste testing, which will include cheese produced by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. Art by MSU students, faculty and staff will be for sale in the festival's market.

"We are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to showcase Mississippi State on this national platform to show how land-grant universities are leading the way in research, technology and innovation," Keenum said.

Keenum added that any university alumni and friends in the D.C. area are invited to visit MSU at the festival.

"This truly is a celebration of our land-grant heritage, and we want the entire Bulldog family to take part in some way," Keenum said.

He noted that the university also is planning on-campus events this year in commemoration of the Morrill Act, including an Oct. 3-6 conference.

Allison Matthews | University Relations

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