Liberal Arts will host an event looking at sustainability throughout human history

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In spring 2024, the College of Liberal Arts’ theme, “Moments of Change: Creating a Livable Planet,” focuses on the ongoing work of Liberal Arts students, faculty, staff and alumni to support a sustainable future.

Through the Moments of Change initiative, the Liberal Arts community explores what it means to live in historical and contemporary times of change. Like Commemorating 1968 in 2018 and A Century of Women’s Activism in 2020, the college has planned a range of courses, lectures, presentations and events centered around the theme of ‘Creating a Livable Planet’ .

The College of Liberal Arts aligns its definition of sustainability with that of Penn State—the simultaneous pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for present and future generations. With this definition in mind, the college has planned programs focused on topics such as economic, racial and gender equality and responsible labor practices.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, April 11, the College of Liberal Arts will host “Historical Context of People Who Shape Their Environments,” an event for students, faculty, staff and community members to learn more about the topic and different perspectives. related to sustainability.

A pop-up exhibit curated by members of Penn State Eco Action will be hosted by the Eberly Family Special Collections Library from 2 to 5 p.m. in Paterno Library’s Mann Assembly Room. Attendees can view items from the Eco Action Archives, a collection of documents highlighting student activism at Penn State dating back to 1973, including Earth Day activities, protests and actions taken by students to promote environmentalism on campus. Student leaders from student organizations related to sustainability will talk about their work and tell students how to get involved.

From 3 to 4:30 p.m., guests will be invited to Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, to hear a series of short presentations by liberal arts faculty that will explore sustainability throughout human history. The audience will have time to ask their own follow-up questions and chat with the presenters. Presentations will be moderated by Kathryn Salzer, associate professor of history and Gorman-McCourtney Early Professor of Medieval History, and Laurel Pearson, associate professor of anthropology.

The presenters are listed below.

Douglas Byrdassociate professor of anthropology

Jennifer BoytinAssociate Professor of French, Francophone Studies and History

Sophie de ShepdriverWalter L. and Helen P. Ferry Professor of Modern European History

Kirk Frenchlecturer in anthropology

Faisal HussainAssistant Professor of History

Anne KillebrewAssociate Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean, Judaic Studies and Anthropology

Jacob LeeAssistant Professor of History

Richard MbihAssistant Professor of African Studies

“This event showcases some of the important work that faculty, students and staff in the College of Liberal Arts and the entire university are doing in the area of ​​sustainability,” said Richard Page, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Liberal Arts. “This is a great opportunity to learn more about how humans have affected the environment in different historical contexts and what different student organizations are doing right now to help create a more livable planet.”

To learn more about the topic, view upcoming events, find courses related to sustainability, and learn more about getting involved in sustainable student organizations, visit Moments of Change: Creating a Livable Planet.

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