Starting on Tuesday, Jan. 29, Hobart and William Smith Colleges will participate in Focus the Nation, the largest teach-in in U.S. history, designed to galvanize a generational partnership and demand change. The event, which will take place on more than 1,100 college and university campuses across the country, looks to inspire and empower today’s youth with a vision more significant and revolutionary than anything since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
While this event is national, each school can make it unique to its respective community. “If we do this right,” says Tim Robbins ’11, “kids are going to love it, the community is going to be enthralled and the world will be given just one more example of what an exceptional place Hobart and William Smith Colleges are.”
The first day’s activities will kick off with a lecture by Associate Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Thomas “Captain Carbon” Drennen at 6:30 p.m. at the Finger Lakes Institute. Drennen will provide an overview of his recently released book, “Pathways to a Hydrogen Future,” in which he proposes a hydrogen economy, addresses the benefits and problems with this transition, and offers recommendations for a path forward.
Wednesday is the centerpiece of the activities, with a live streaming of the “2% Solution” webcast at 8 p.m. in Albright Auditorium. This webcast will cover the theories behind the two percent pollution solution and the plan to cut emissions drastically by the year 2050. Participating via the Web will be Stanford University climate scientist Stephen Schneider, sustainability expert Hunter Lovins, and green jobs pioneer Van Jones, in an interactive discussion of solutions to global warming. Audience members across the country will participate with cell phone voting.
On Thursday, a panel discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in Albright Auditorium, facilitated by Assistant Professor of Geoscience Tara Curtin and others. This will be followed immediately by a Green Democracy roundtable discussion with students and local political leaders, including Stu Einstein, Geneva’s mayor.
They will discuss both individual and coordinated efforts to cut carbon emissions. This discussion will be less about the “gloom and doom” of global warming, and more about igniting students from all different departments and majors to participate in constructive activities here in Geneva, says Curtin. All are welcome to attend each event. Refreshments will be provided courtesy of the Committee on Environmental and Political Relations.
“Today’s youth are truly the greatest generation, says Eban Goodstein, an economics professor at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., the creator of Focus the Nation.
“No other generation has had to face this kind of challenge. We would be failing as educators if we did not prepare them with the tools necessary to meet this challenge.”
Additional events are being planned; for details, contact Curtin, the faculty coordinator; Paul Golob ’11, Campus Greens Coordinator; Robbins, the CEPR coordinator; or visit the national website at FocusTheNation.
Another description of the HWS events is available here.