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Westminster’s Climate Teach-in sessions will focus on impacts of climate change

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Posted on Monday, September 16, 2019

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – In advance of the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20-27, Westminster College will hold a Climate Teach-in throughout the day on Wednesday, Sept. 18.  

Sponsored by the Westminster College Center for the Environment and organized by Eloise Stevens, assistant professor and instruction and outreach librarian, the Climate Teach-in will feature five faculty-led cross-disciplinary sessions and one panel session from 8:10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lakeview Room of the McKelvey Campus Center.

The sessions, which are free and open to the public, include:

•    8:10 a.m. Introduction: “The Climate Crisis and the Liberal Arts.” Presented by Dr. Helen Boylan, director of the Center for the Environment and professor of chemistry, and Eloise Stevens, this joint session will discuss the science and impacts of climate change and explore the issue from various liberal arts perspectives.

•    9:20 a.m. “The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health: More Than You Think.” Presented by epidemiologist Dr. Diana Ortiz, assistant professor of biology, this session will discuss how a changing climate will impact the spread of disease.

•    10:30 a.m. “Accounting for Sustainability.” Keith Bittel, lecturer in accounting and business, will discuss the business community’s attempts to measure the success of corporate sustainability initiatives so that the financial value of sustainability can be calculated.

•    11:40 a.m. Climate Panel. Westminster students, faculty and staff speak of their personal experiences and beliefs on climate change.

•    12:50 p.m. “Environmental Policy and the Tragedy of the Commons.” Presented by Dr. Shannon Smithey, professor of political science, this session will focus on the role of governments and the need for robust environmental policy to help protect shared resources from over-use or contamination.

•    2 p.m. “Ethics, Ecology and Pluralism—The Task Before Us.” Dr. Tibor Solymosi, lecturer of philosophy, will discuss how climate change presents humanity with the opportunity to reimagine itself on the global scale and the concept of ecological ethics and pluralism.

Professors are encouraged to send students to teach-in sessions instead of regularly scheduled classes or to include environmental/climate themes in their daily instruction.

Some classes that will confront climate change or climate justice in their day’s curriculum include Principles of Accounting, Sculpture and Science, Concepts of Biology, Biodiversity and Ecology, Biodiversity, Concepts of Environmental Science, History since 1865, Adulthood and Aging, Women in Cross- Cultural Perspectives, and Introduction to a Liberal Arts Education.

The Climate Teach-in will follow with student-driven activities on Friday, Sept 20, which include “alternative strikes” such as walking to class rather than driving and eating low carbon at mealtimes.

For more information about the Climate Teach-in, please contact Eloise Stevens at or 724-946-7325.