In mid-August, I headed down to the southeast coast of North Carolina to join a two-day retreat of Davidson’s Environmental Studies Department. We decided to get off campus and meet up at the Bald Head Island Barrier Island Study Center, which is near Wilmington, NC and a beautiful place to have a retreat. It was a great opportunity to hang out with my ENV colleagues more, and also get some work done on some pressing departmental business.
Our first class of majors is graduating this year, for example, and are beginning their set of capstone courses this fall. So we spent a good amount of time talking through the plans for these courses and the students’ associated capstone projects. As a new department and new major, there are a number of these types of issues that it was really helpful to have a chunk of time to focus on. We also had a little bit of time to walk on the pristine beach and get a tour of the research facilities that the Bald Head Island Conservancy manages. There are a lot of possible research possibilities for students there, both in the natural and social sciences, and we look forward to exploring them more in the future.
Photo credit: http://www.bhic.org/
Back when the Democratic National Convention was in Charlotte a couple of weeks ago, Davidson College organized a panel event on energy and sustainability on campus as a non-partisan complement to the events going on downtown. Moderated by the Sustainability Editor from Bloomberg News, the panel included the Mayor of Charlotte, Anthony Foxx, the CEO of Siemens USA, and the Director of Duke Energy’s Smart Energy Now program.
I was also asked to serve on the panel to represent Davidson and to talk about environmental policy and environmental entrepreneurship. I was quite honored to be asked to participate in the event, and looked forward to having a stimulating conversation with the other panelists. I thought it went pretty well — turnout was very good, and people I talked with afterwards – staff, faculty, students, community members — seemed to find it engaging and interesting. If you are interested, you can see for yourself — below are links to a write-up about the panel in the local online newspaper (written by the Chair of my Political Science Department, Shelley Rigger) and to a full video recording of the event.
You can watch the whole thing if you’d like (it is about an hour long and covers a great range of topics), or you can skip to the good parts; that is, of course, when I am talking 🙂 (9:54, 21:25, 31:38, 1:01:00, and 1:06:13).
Here are the links…
– Daybook Davidson | VIDEO: Energy Panel Electrifies Davidson Crowd in Duke Family Performance Hall
– Energy panelists face tough questions from college audience | DavidsonNews.net
This spring I worked with several students and staff in creating a “Responsible Consumption Working Group” on campus. The idea of it was born out of a talk I gave last fall for an event students organized on “responsible consumption,” and there was enough interest in the concept that we decided to create this group to actually work on testing out and implementing the idea in our lives.
Our organizing question has been whether or not we can come up with innovative new strategies to make buying more environmentally and socially responsible products easier and more fun. Some of the ideas we have been testing out have included picking out our own issues we want to research but then meeting monthly to compare notes, sharing our results with each other online, and deciding to research and make a decision on what to do about product category within a specified amount of time. So far we’ve made some great progress, and our group was recently featured in the Davidson Journal, Davidson College’s alumni magazine (http://davidsonjournal.davidson.edu/?p=2385). We plan to continue our work this fall — stay tuned and get in touch if you are interested in joining us!
Here I am, outside our new house in Davidson, on my way to my first day of classes! I am teaching Environmental Social Sciences, a required core course for the college’s new Environmental Studies major, and American Politics, in which I am focusing on the politics of reform. I am very much looking forward to teaching these two courses this fall — they will enable me to step back from my specific research on information-based governance and think more broadly about politics and the environment. And it will be great to learn from my students about their perspectives on the many different issues and topics that we will covering in both courses. If you’re interested, you can check out my syllabi on my Teaching page.
Otherwise, things have been going great so far — everyone has been incredibly friendly and welcoming, and have really been helpful in the settling-in process. Davidson has a beautiful campus and wonderful community, and I am looking forward to becoming a part of it.