Why Are We Here?

In August, Dr. Matt Winslow and I co-directed an event for the EKU College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences. It was titled, “Why Are We Here?” and students who participated got a chance to think early in the semester about their intrinsic motivations for attending college. We stationed faculty and staff known for student-centered approaches at different campus sites, and through a combination of heartfelt testimony, place as text, self-reflection, and critical inquiry we taught students to think of education not as a series of hurdles to overcome in exchange for a diploma, but rather a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become an educated person. My portion focused on using that education to make a difference in the lives of the people to their “left and right.”

Next semester, we hope to follow up with those Eastern Kentucky University students who attended and encourage them to take intrinsic motivation to the next level, inspire others to embrace learning, and become classroom leaders. (All photos credited to Carsen Bryant)

Travis L. MartinPhD, is founding director of the Kentucky Center for Veterans Studies at Eastern Kentucky University. He has established several nationally recognized programs to support returning veterans in higher education and the non-profit sector. A scholar of American literature, psychoanalytic trauma theory, and social theory, Dr. Martin presents frequently at conferences and universities. He has published dozens of research articles and creative short works on veterans’ issues. A former sergeant in the U.S. Army, he served during two deployments in the Iraq War (2003-04 & 2005). His book War and Homecoming: Veteran Identity and the Post-9/11 Generation is slated for publication with the University Press of Kentucky in 2022. He resides in Richmond, KY.