lots and squished meal halls were two of the only disadvantages
to be seen at Elon University's Fall 2004 Environmental Forum. Appropriately
to the Future," the forum concentrated on ways to help
the environment - from organically grown foods, to hybrid cars and
of course to the two exciting and learned speakers: David
Orr and Stuart L. Hart.
of the two keynote speakers at the forum was Hart, who took up the
challenge of lecturing and wowed his audience with an informative
speech on business
Hart, the commercial agenda is the single most important way to
achieve environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability
is a tough to have a conversation on, said Hart. "The term
is really a buzzword," most everyone who says it is referring
to something different. However, this, he claims, is a good thing.
"Opportunities are veiled in uncertainty and ambiguity,"
said Hart, and with the amount of questions flying around environmental
sustainability, it is bound to be met with mounting success.
Hart was kind
enough to spend a few minutes of one-on-one time with those of us
who had lingering questions after his talk. The start to change,
he said, is looking where there is need. It is a lot harder to drive
change into a marketplace such as the United States. However, as
he mentioned in his lecture, "what we are dealing with, at
best, is a large number of communities who have been bypassed by
or, at worst, who have been damaged by it."
extend into these areas is a good start, he said, adding that capitalism
has a lot of potential for the disadvantaged people of the world.
Hart said changes in entrepreneurship can alter a lot about a company,
and that can be scary for the small percentage of companies that
are doing things the "right" way.
drew a positive reaction from members of his audience, including
Susannah Lach, a UNC-Chapel
Hill faculty member. "I admired his hope for capitalism,"
she said, "unfortunately not all of us have that same hope
it's not hard for college students to get
involved in the action. "Just become as sophisticated as
you can become about how a company works," he said while explaining
the value of business in the environment. Hart was also quick to
point out that we need to hold companies accountable and demand
and encourage sustainable business practices.
Clash features organic, local foods
speech, many forum participants headed off to Harden Cafeteria for
the Culinary Clash, which included a head-head-battle between James
Getkin and Meena Monaghan, two Elon-employed Aramark chefs. Delightful
smells as well as deliciously prepared food enticed visitors to
stand in a rather long line in order to sample the meals.
While no formal
voting took place, a packed lunchroom gave proof to the fact that
the cooking talents of both chefs were being enjoyed. Staying true
to the nature of the forum, the chefs cooked with organic foods
brought in from local farmers. Hart said this was an "extremely
positive step" for Elon in the process to helping our schoolwork
towards sustainability, as well as for helping our local economy.
Clash drew enough people to put a smile of the face of Rita Gordish,
one of the Elon/Aramark employees co-coordinating the event. "We
got the turnout we wanted," said Gordish. "It's so great
to see everyone." While she spoke, a bluegrass band, Larry
Vellani and Friends, played in the background to room full of delighted
coordinator of the Forum and the chair of the environmental
studies program at Elon said the forum was successful. "I
was very pleased with the turnout and the interest from the audience
(both students and community members) in the idea of sustainability,"
MacFall said. "Both speakers were inspirational - very well
organized with challenging and thoughtful topics."