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Fairmont State University Expands Role in National Geography Awareness Campaign Impact
Fairmont State News

Fairmont State University Expands Role in National Geography Awareness Campaign

Photo from Fairmont State GIS LabFor the first time ever, the American Association of Geographers has invited a university to participate as a core partner in its mission to boost awareness of geography and geospatial technology.

Earlier this year, the AAG formally invited Fairmont State to join as a core partner and actively take part in National Geography Awareness week, an annual campaign held throughout the United States. The purpose of the campaign is to show the public how geography plays a vital role in everyday life.

For some time, Fairmont State has placed a high value on geography and geospatial education. “We have been an official Geo advocate since 2021,” geography professor Dr. Barbara MacLennan said. “We have promoted Geography Awareness Week and the annual conference, Geo Week, to the campus and the community—with official sites and in-person events. Now, as a core partner, we will be helping to guide and shape Geography Awareness Week. It is a great honor to have the support of the AAG and its partners as we work to promote geography year-round.”

National Geography Awareness Week: Nov. 13-17, 2023

This year’s theme for National Geography Awareness is “The Power of Place.” Throughout the week, Fairmont State students and faculty have planned a number of interconnected activities including talks, speaker panels, and projects that are both in-person and online. The aim is to help people understand the impact of geography in shaping our everyday lives.

The National Geographic Society established National Geography Awareness Month in 1987 to ensure the continued “study of the surface of the globe and the people, environments, resources, political boundaries, and characteristics of every area.”

The geospatial industry is one of the fastest growing worldwide. If it happens somewhere, geospatial technology is used to map and analyze it. From diverse areas such as urban planning, natural resources, policymaking, economic development, infrastructure, public safety, tourism, and in every area of our lives, the need for geographic literacy and geospatial knowledge has become more evident.

And there’s no doubt that most people appreciate geospatial technology every time they use their phone’s GPS to locate an address.

Geography Awareness Week continues the tradition of teaching communities about the role of geography in shaping our lives and the uses of geospatial technology. “We are excited for this opportunity to grow our participation,” MacLennan said. “And the reason it’s possible is because of the enthusiastic involvement of students, faculty, staff, and the community.”

Geography Awareness Events to Look for at Fairmont State:

Oct.26, 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Library Multimedia Room A

Guest speaker Dr. Ken Martis, American political geographer notable for his mapping and documentation of the electoral history of the United States, will speak on his Atlas of Elections, the history of gerrymandering, and being a FirstGen.

Nov. 15, 2-5 p.m. virtual

The link to join will be posted on Fairmont State's LibGuide. “GIS in the Movies” presented Gene Del Greco, GISP and West Virginia Association of Geospatial Professionals. Created by Gene DelGreco and Todd Tucky, moderated by Josh Revels, Fairmont State and The Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V)

Nov. 16, 4:30-5:30 p.m. virtual

The link to join will be posted on Fairmont State's LibGuide. Dr. Jessica Mathai, Fairmont State alumna and senior geospatial specialist and subject matter expert in GIS for Qualitest, will speak about her historical geography research on deep mapping and the westward frontier movement through West Virginia.

Other Events Include:

  • Citizen Science Campus and Community Map-a-Thon.
  • Geography quizzes.
  • Geography games at the library games collection.

Learn more about Geoweek 2023.

To learn more about Fairmont State's Geography program, visit Fairmont State's Geography Hub.