Challenges in a changing world

International Institute series to focus on environmental challenges

By Emily Espinoza, Campus Life Editor

Every year Schoolcraft’s International Institute organizes a campus wide focus to showcase a particular cultural or global theme relevant to the things one experiences in their everyday life. The Focus Series, which launched in 2004, brings together students, faculty, professionals and members of the surrounding community to benefit from the wealth of knowledge. Information will be openly shared from one source to the next through the use of activities, presentations and video recorded lectures. DVD’s will be made of the lectures and will be made available for purchase through the Schoolcraft Bradner Library.

This semester’s focus will be on environmental challenges in a changing world. The series kicked off on Jan. 30, 2017 with adjunct Associate Professor of Political Science and French, Yovana Veerasamy. Professor Veerasamy discussed environmental policies in China and how those policies affect the lives of the everyday population that live there as well as American citizens and how this trend might progress. Professor Veerasamy is well educated on Chinese culture as well as its environment through years of workshops and doctoral classes and is even filling a requirement for her Ph.D. program right now by taking a trip to China in the spring with the goal being to study Chinese higher education.

Another topic being covered in the focus series sheds light on a current household air pollution issue rising up in Northern Thailand. Dr. Anna Verhoye and Dr. Jim Verhoye will be covering this topic and the ways in which we can solve this indoor, biomass-burning problem, as many living through these conditions have suffered great illness and sometimes even suffered the loss of a life. The presentation will be held on Friday, Feb. 17 in VT room 425 at 10 a.m..

On Tuesday, Feb. 21 in LA room 200 at 3:30 p.m., professor in the Geography and Environmental Studies department, Diane O’Connell will be discussing climate change and its possible solutions. This includes mitigation and adaptation policies. Professor O’Connell will take a look at a couple possible solutions to our climate change problem, or at least show students ways in which they can adapt to these climate impacts.

Next, on Tuesday, Mar. 14 in Forum room 530 at 1 p.m., one will take a look at how American’s have much greater of an impact on our global environment than possibly anywhere else. For this reason and more, Professor Kimberly Lark will discuss how life in America is impacting the environment around the globe.

Finally, Daniel F. Yezbick concludes the focus series as he takes us through the connections between pop culture and ecosystems in the community. The presentation will dive deeper into the ways in which 21st century trends and fads have affected our environment. This event will be held on Thursday, April 20 in Forum room 530 at 1 p.m. The lecture will take a look at how popular media and other influential media outlets have impacted political influences pertaining to environmental issues and regulations.

“The International Institute was motivated to pursue the Environmental theme because it truly is a global issue – what happens environmentally in one part of the world inevitably impacts all of us,” said faculty member Helen Ditouras. When asked which discussion she was most looking forward to, she said, “As always, I am proud of all of the presentations showcased in our series this semester, but I do want to highlight that we have a diversity of topics that include sustainability in China and Thailand, climate change, and the effects of environmental racism, to name a few.”

All focus series events are free and open to the public. For more information contact Helen Ditouras by email at hditoura@schoolcraft.edu or by phone at (734) 462-4400 extension 5647.

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