UWO’s 7th annual Free School

Mackenzie Seymour, Staff Writer

The 7th annual UW Oshkosh Free School will take place on April 2 from 10 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. in Sage Hall.

Courtesy of UWO Flickr
Senior Lecturer Shannon Davis-Foust instructs a Free School martial arts class in 2018. Various classes are available each year.

Free School allows students, faculty, staff and members of the community to attend free classes and informational sessions about a variety of subjects such as sustainability, health, social justice and community building.

Caroline Adams, president of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), said the event was created by Laura Hartman, a former UWO environmental studies professor and adviser to SEAC. Since Hartman’s departure, SEAC has continued organizing and running the event every year.

“Free School brings the community together to learn,” said Eden Protheroe, treasurer of SEAC. “It is beneficial because it takes away the financial barrier of education, which stands in the way for many people. All of the teachers are volunteers from the community who want to share their knowledge.”

This year, Free School will feature classes on nature and sustainability, climate change, crafting, history, writing, resume building and interviewing skills.

Nature classes, such as “How to Not Kill Your Houseplants 101,” “Starting Indoor Plants” and “Edible Plants” will teach attendees how to take care of plants and the benefits of houseplants and landscaping with native plants.

“This class teaches students the rules to use when foraging, how to identify certain edible plants and how they can use the edible plants,” said David Langner, teacher for “Edible Plants.” “I [will] also teach them plants to be cautious of [and show them] the edible plant guides I use when I forage.”

Free School will also feature “Meet Fran, a Great Horned Owl,” where students can learn about owls and the role they play in the environment.

Other classes, such as “The Art of Ukrainian Egg Decorating,” will demonstrate the process of making pysanky decorated eggs using melted wax and dyes and will discuss the history and customs for the design.

For younger children, “Nature Games for All Ages” will cover topics like the web of life, plant and animal identification, the importance of water quality and invasive species information.

Informational tables from campus and community-based resources will also be available for the entirety of the event, such as campus safety, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, Reach Counseling and Winnebago Audubon.

“Free School is important because it provides an opportunity for people of all ages, backgrounds and socioeconomic levels to have access to many types of education,” Adams said. “Free School has something for everyone whether you’re a UWO student or Oshkosh community member.”