Ohio State Celebrates the Columbus Bicentennial
By Ben Lewis
Outreach and Engagement Communications
Columbus celebrated its 200th birthday on Feb. 14. Through a range of events and initiatives during 2012, Ohio State is helping the city commemorate its bicentennial, which is not only honoring the city’s past, but also building for the future.
“We’re going to use the entire year as a platform to do good work. We’re going to commemorate the historical milestone, but the bicentennial is much more about where this community should be going,” said Jamie Greene, 200Columbus Organizing Committee program manager and a member of the Knowlton School of Architecture faculty.
Ohio State’s contributions include more than 25 activities ranging from public art to service learning courses to the 2012 EcoSummit. President E. Gordon Gee serves as honorary chair of 200Columbus.
“The university and the city have grown up together over the last 139 years, and each has been an influence on and contributor to the other, in all kinds of ways that these faculty and staff projects aim to acknowledge,” said Chris Zacher, emeritus professor and a member of Ohio State’s bicentennial committee.
“Because of the integral role Ohio State plays in the Columbus community, it is a natural fit that our university would work with the city to develop programs supporting the bicentennial,” said Trudy Bartley, assistant vice president for Outreach and Engagement and chair of Ohio State’s bicentennial committee. “This is also an excellent chance to let our students know about all of the great work and events taking place off campus, so they can get more involved in the broader community.”
Greene said the bicentennial is a transformational opportunity for Columbus that can lead to greater economic prosperity.
“We want to use the bicentennial to lift up what’s going on in the Near East neighborhood and Weinland Park,” Greene said. “So we’re going to find ways through the bicentennial to lift those up and the university is obviously a key partner in those examples.”
One event that is getting its start in 2012, but will be an annual happening is idUS (I-D-US), a weeklong experience celebrating innovation and design. Occurring in the fall, idUS will be a collection of events that feature innovations in technology, art, culture and all aspects of life.
“We believe that for a week every year this community ought to own innovation nationally, if not globally,” Greene said. “If you have ideas, this ought to be the place to bring them to life.”
Some events already scheduled for idUS include TedX, TedYouth, Innovate Columbus, Design Week, Mini-Maker Faire, the MORPC Summit on Sustainability, and the EcoSummit.
To get involved or for more information on the city’s bicentennial celebration, visit the 200Columbus web site.