Last weekend various Wesleyan sustainability groups joined local community gardeners, farmers, and activists for a conference on all things urban farming and food justice. The event was cosponsored by the Green Fund, the Middletown Economic Development Commission, the College of the Environment, the Wesleyan Resource Center, the Science in Society Program, and the African American Studies Department. With this wide array of support, student coordinators were able to collaborate with local stakeholders to put together a conference that was able to bridge the gap between Wesleyan and the surrounding community, as well as to provide the space for connections between Wes sustainability groups.
On Saturday, October 5, hundreds of Wes and Middletown community members spent their day soaking up the sun at Long Lane Farm’s 2019 Pumpkin Fest. Cosponsored by the COE, the Green Fund, and Wesleyan Bon Appetit, the student-run event featured live local bands, local vendors, farm tours, crafts, free veggie burgers and cider thanks to Bon Appetit, baked goods for sale benefitting New Horizons Domestic Violence Shelter, a pie-eating contest with prizes courtesy of WesPress, and lots of Wes student groups, including the Sustainability Office, CAG, WesDivest, Bread Salvage, Resource Center Spirituality and Sustainability Interns, WildWes, Natural History Museum, Sunrise, Outing Club, Wesleyan Refugee Project, Uslac, Veg Out, Real Food Challenge, NEAT & WesNEAT. A special thanks to Wesleyan RJ Julia, NoRA Cupcakes, Auntie Arwen’s Spices, and Adelbrook Bark-ery for joining us for the day—and to an amazing lineup of talented performers for sharing their songs: Lopii, Iris Olympia, Barry Chernoff, Emcee Elvee, Rebecca Roff, and Skye Hawthorne!
Wesleyan students organized various events for a day of climate action on September 20, 2019, as part of the week-long Global Climate Strike.
Events kicked off with a Climate Rally outside of Usdan, featuring speeches by students, staff, and other members of Wesleyan’s community. Students from Wesleyan’s Climate Action Group and other environmental groups spoke about the ongoing sustainability and activism efforts around campus and the next steps in the movement. Staff members and Middletown residents, including Professor Anthony Hatch, Chair of the Science in Society Program and COE faculty member; Ben Florsheim ’14, Middletown’s Democratic mayoral nominee; and Nur Fitzpatrick, Middletown resident and activist, also spoke about the importance of the Climate Strike and environmental activism at a local level. The rally was followed by a march around campus.
On Thursday, September 12, Dr. Paul Spitzer ‘68 gave a talk titled “Lessons From the Osprey Gardens” to mark the first day of his monthlong stay at Wesleyan. Dr. Spitzer is a visiting guest who will be giving several talks over the course of his stay and leading field trips for Mike Singer’s BIOL220/ Conservation Biology class. His next seminar—Biological Secrets & Ecological Significance of the Common Loon—will take place on Thursday, October 3 at noon here at Wesleyan.
On April 29, the College of the Environment welcomed Olga Jonas, a senior fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute, for a presentation on “Pandemics, AMR and Other Microbial Threats: One Health Approaches to Mitigate the Risks in Developing Countries.” Prior to her current position, Jonas worked at the World Bank, where she coordinated the operational response to avian and pandemic flu threats and, with the UN and others, was responsible for monitoring the global response since 2006.
On April 18, 2019, Brian Stewart, professor of physics, environmental studies, and integrative sciences, hosted his 12th Annual Earth Week Rant on the subject of “Tipping Points: Physical, Ecological, Social, and Personal.” His yearly talks inform the greater Wesleyan community on the evolution of climate change and challenge them to actively work to counter its effects.
Wes students & faculty learned about the Green New Deal at a Town Hall event here on campus–one of hundreds of events organized nationwide by Sunrise Movement, cofounded by COE alum Evan Weber ‘13. Last night’s event, organized by WesDivest and Wesleyan Climate Action Group and cosponsored by the COE, featured Sunrise Movement rep Lauren Maunus, a senior at Brown U studying enviro science with a focus in environment & inequality. Lauren is on the leadership team of the Energize RI Coalition and the RI Green New Deal Research Council, and helped start Sunrise RI.
Meaghan Parker, executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), visited Wesleyan University earlier this month to present “Talking about the Weather: Communicating Complexity in the Era of Climate Change,” an event sponsored by the College of the Environment. As a previous editor at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Parker’s work has a strong focus on actionable ideas that can realistically be implemented in journalism and education. Her talk emphasized the roles that journalists play in environmental education, from raising awareness to holding politicians accountable, and how journalists can be more effective at communicating the intricacies of the environmental movement, current events, and the subtle relationships they often have with each other.
Award-winning writer-conservationist-activist Terry Tempest Williams cast a quiet spell on members of the Wesleyan and greater Middletown communities during a reading and book-signing reception at Memorial Chapel on March 1, at the invitation of Wesleyan’s College of the Environment.