Campus Environmentalists Plan Large Event
April 1, 2007 5:30 PM
This Thursday and Friday will mark one of the biggest environmental events to be organized by students and held on SF State’s campus.
The Redefining Wilderness Symposium, a two-day event in Cesar Chavez Student Center, will attempt to open up a dialogue among attendees and broaden the definition of wilderness.
Yvette Michaud, a senior environmental studies major, who has had a major part in coordinating the event, said the theme, wilderness, was selected because of the innumerable ways in which it has been defined over time.
“There are a lot of different perspectives on wilderness throughout history,” she said. “For me, having a dialogue about it will help us to have a deeper conversation and understanding about our relationship to the natural world.”
The convention will feature lectures and panels, activist training activities, workshops and discussions on the evolving concept of wilderness. Faculty and students from SF State as well as professionals from other parts of the Bay Area will present their research in discussion panels with audience members.
The second day of the symposium will feature more interactive, “conversation-café”-style discussions, wherein participants — panelists and audience members — may break off to discuss their ideas about wilderness and present them to the rest of the event-goers.
“We don’t just want experts talking to the audience. We want a dialogue where everyone participates,” said Michaud. “Based on how we structure the conversation, we hope it will go to a deeper level. We hope that, at the end of the symposium, we can open up our current paradigm of wilderness.”
Participants in the symposium include Pat Tierney, a professor in recreational and leisure studies at SF State, Barbara Beth, an environmental studies major, Kenn Burrows, founder of SF State’s Holistic Health Healing Center, Joel Kassiola, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Brent Plater, SF State lecturer and attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. Other presenters and panelists are coming from various parts of the Bay Area and San Jose, Yosemite National Park and Northridge.
At the close of the symposium, the hope is that a statement encompassing the numerous current definitions of wilderness can be drafted and an understanding of the natural world and how we as humans relate to it will be developed.
“The deeper goal here is addressing what is at the root of the environmental problem,” said Michaud. “It all has to do with the way we perceive ourselves in the natural world. Our relationship to wilderness has been removed, and we need to think about all of those aspects — including urban wilderness. We need to experience it on every different level.”
For a schedule of events at the Redefining Wilderness Symposium, go to http://www.bawt.org/symposium/mission.php4.
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