Focus the Nation
IWU Joins Largest Teach-In in US History

January 18, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – To prepare millions of students to become leaders in the largest civilizational challenge any generation has faced, an unprecedented educational initiative is about to take place. On Wednesday Jan. 30, and Thursday, Jan. 31, thousands of institutions, mostly colleges and universities, will participate in teach-ins focused on global warming.

Called, Focus the Nation: Global Warming Solutions for America, these teach-ins are designed to engage millions of students and citizens on the issue of climate change, as well as draw the attention of decision makers and political leaders in advance of the November presidential elections. Focus the Nation has organized a model centered on three pillars for today’s youth, aimed to embrace solutions to global warming: education, civic engagement and leadership. Teams of students come from individual colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, places of worship, civic organizations and businesses.

Leslie Morrison, a senior environmental studies major and co-president of the Sierra Student Coalition, a student organization dedicated to environmental sustainability on Illinois Wesleyan’s campus, expresses the importance of understanding global warming, “College students have a responsibility to understand this issue and solutions to this issue because we are the future, and the future looks complicated. It is important for everyone to understand the implications of global climate change and what they can personally do to be a part of the solution,” said Morrison.

On IWU’s campus, the GREENetwork, the Sierra Student Coalition, the Office of Resident Life, and the Environmental Studies Program are involved with the preparation of events. Kicking off the Focus the Nation events, on Tuesday Jan. 29 at 8 p.m., the film An Inconvenient Truth will be shown in the Hansen Student Center (300 Beecher St., Bloomington). On Wednesday Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. a Webcast, 2% Solution will be shown in the Hansen Student Center. The central event is a teach-in that will take place throughout the day on Thursday Jan. 31 and will have five different panels organized around specific themes regarding global warming. Examples of the panels are: “Where Are We and How Did We Get Here,” “What is at Stake With Climate Change,” “What is Our Carbon Footprint,” and “The Moral/Ethical Implications of Climate Change.” Illinois Wesleyan faculty members along with selected staff and students who have diverse experience in these areas will speak and lead panel discussions.

Wrapping up the events of the teach-in will be an all-campus discussion led by the Sierra Student Coalition followed by the Choose Your Future vote. All students, faculty and community participants will be encouraged to vote on what they think are the top five solutions for global warming from a list of ten to 15 choices. The list will be available Jan. 21 at www.focusthenation.org. Vote results will be presented nationally in mid February. All students who vote on the Choose Your Future ballot will be eligible to win a $10,000 leadership scholarship for a project to be completed by the end of August 2008.  

All Focus the Nation events at Illinois Wesleyan are free and open to the public. For more information regarding Focus the Nation visit http://www.focusthenation.org.

Thursday, January 31, 2008
Teach-in Schedule:
Illinois Wesleyan University
All events will take place in the Hansen Student Center

8:00- 9:15 What is our Carbon Footprint?

• Narendra Jaggi (Physics): the concept of the carbon footprint

• Bud Jorgenson (Physical Plant): campus energy consumption

• Sarah Rueth (Office of Residence Life): what ORL has done to reduce the residence hall
   footprint

• Laurine Brown (Environmental Studies): impact of the food system on carbon emissions

9:25-10:40 Where Are We and How Did We Get Here?

• Susie Balser (Biology): the science of anthropogenic climate change

• Alison Sainsbury (English): the cultural and historical relationship to the land

• Linda Kunce (Psychology): human psychology and the consumer society

• Abigail Jahiel (Environmental Studies): the politics of climate change

10:50- 12:05 What is at Stake With Climate Change?

• Given Harper (Biology): biodiversity and species loss in a changing climate

• Cindy Kerber (Nursing): climate change implications for human health

• William Munro (International Studies): agricultural shifts and international implications

• Rebecca Gearhart (Anthropology):  climate and livelihood impacts in coastal Kenya

12:05-1:10 Lunch Break

1:10-2:25 What Are the Moral and Ethical Implications of Climate Change?

• Irv Epstein (Education): human rights and climate change

• Kira Banks (Psychology): environmental justice impacts of climate change

• Mark Criley (Philosophy): ethical responsibilities to non-human species

• Jim Simeone (Political Science): trees, sustainability and climate change

2:35-3:50 What is the Course of Action That Needs to be Taken?

• Stephen Hoffmann (Chemistry): energy choices and alternatives

• Greg Shaw (Political Science): building better communities

• Carrie Trimble (Business): the business perspective of climate action

• Hope Luckie (Chaplain): the necessity of cultural value shifts

4:00-5:00 Open Campus Forum Facilitated by the Sierra Student Coalition

Contact: Kimberly Stabosz, (309) 556-3181