ENVS Symposium adds new elements

ENVX committee rehearsing and finalizing the scholarly presentations.(Katie Kelly/Pioneer Log)


THE FIRST symposium of the year will be the 18th annual Environmental Studies Symposium, lasting from Oct. 20- 22. This year’s symposium is titled “ENVX: Environment Across Boundaries” and offers a keynote address and exhibition from sculptor Elizabeth Demaray as well as six student-constructed thematic threads.

“[The symposium’s name] highlights the type of work that we do in the Environmental Studies Program, which is built upon breaking down contemporary environmental issues into many dimensions, and trying to understand the boundaries that must be crossed in order to effectively understand these dimensions,” says co-chair Drew Williamson ‘17, via email.

The idea of ‘environment across boundaries’ was a soundbite that arose after reflecting on feedback from the prior symposium and resonated with the new co-chairs, AnaCapri Mauro ’17, Jacob Weiss ’16, Sara Goldstein ’17, and Williamson.

As such, Demaray, who has a background in psychology, resonated as an interesting choice for the keynote.

“She addresses complex issues surrounding natural and built environments, human relationships with other non-human lifeforms, and her work often features modifications of both the natural and human worlds to incorporate aspects of the other,” Williamson said. “Looking at her work, we all agreed it possesses a unique ability to confound, to provoke — it makes you think, ‘whoa? What’s going on there? What is she getting it? Why the heck does that plant have a sweater?’”

Succinctly, Demaray’s work is one of boundary crossing.

“Looking at environmental issues through a variety of different lenses can foster new ways of thinking about the nature of the problem…I think she will help inspire students to ask new questions in new ways about ‘the environ ment,’” Williamson says.

The keynote event is Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 7:00 p.m. in Stamm, upper Templeton. The art exhibit will then be open all week in Stamm.

Wednesday and Thursday of the symposium consist of thematic threads, covering topics such as food sovereignty, limits on renewable energy, and the power of art.

The session workshops range based on the issue, include a hike, learning how to use graphic art recordings to condense information, and a dining game highlighting food inequity.

“We’ll also be performing an interactive sculpture titled “The Songs We Sing” with her at the closing banquet, which should be quirky and fun,” Williamson added.

Because the symposium’s emphasis is crossing boundaries, there are aspects that can appeal to all majors, not just the environmental scientists.

The first symposium-related event is tomorrow, October 17, and is a hike with a park ranger through the Columbia River Gorge. Register here: https:// ds.lclark.edu/envx/.

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