E-Net News

Elon senior seminar event included in recent Washington Post article 

The article focused on the impact of tax cuts by the N.C. General Assembly included a mention of a senior seminar at Elon. 

A recent Washington Post article that examined the long-term impact of tax changes by the N.C. General Assembly included a mention of an Environmental Studies senior seminar event focused on how to revive local economies. 

The article, "What happened when North Carolina cut taxes like the GOP plans to for the country" by reporter Todd C. Frankel, used Burlington, N.C., business owner Eric Henry as a central figure to examine what state tax cuts four years ago have meant for business owners and individuals in the state.

Henry is the owner of T-shirt manufacturer TS Designs, which sources materials for its products locally and which retooled itself following the impact of free-trade agreements such as NAFTA. Frankel accompanied Henry during a Dec. 1 visit to Elon, where he was a featured speaker at "Regenerating Local Economies: A Meeting of the Minds," organized by one of the teams of students from the senior seminar which is taught by Michael Strickland, lecturer in environmental studies, and Janet MacFall, professor of environmental studies and biology.

Strickland said Frankel sat in on the morning sessions, held in the Design Thinking lab in Elon Town Center in downtown, as Henry and owners of other local business as well as nonprofits discussed how to revitalize local economies through efforts such as biodiesel production and regenerative agriculture for energy development. 

In the article, Elon gains a mention as Frankel recounts Henry's trip to the "Regenerating Local Economies" event, saying that as part of the group's discussion, Henry asked local business owner Jason Cox about what benefits, if any, he had seen since the state tax changes four years ago. Cox was more concerned about the cost of health insurance and regulations than taxes, which enjoy "an over-exaggerated role in our decision-making," according to the article. 

Henry delivered the keynote address for the event, which brought together 24 community leaders, business owners and university faculty, said Mollie Flowers '18, a member of the seminar involved in organizing the event. The event was sponsored by the Elon Center for Environmental Studies, the N.C. Industrial Hemp Association, Biodiesel4Schools and the Institute for Regenerative Design and Innovation. 

Strickland said the Dec. 1 event was the culmination of the work of one of the teams of students in the seminar who have been partnering with the other sponsors of the event to help them network and look at potential collaborations in Alamance County. Along with Flowers, those in the team were Nicole Carolan, Remy O'Toole, Monique Swirsky, Kate Pearce and Margaret Fleming, all members of the Class of 2018.

"Eric Henry made an excellent choice as a keynote speaker because he's someone who is really concerned with sustainability and with jobs here in the local economy," Strickland said. 

The visit by Frankel was a surprise, but helped enhance the discussion as Frankel offered some of his own insights into tax policy and its impact on business owners, Strickland said. 

Strickland said he's hoping Elon students will continue to work with the N.C. Industrial Hemp Association, Biodiesel4Schools and the Institute for Regenerative Design and Innovation, and that the Dec. 1 event was a great starting point for ongoing discussions. 

Owen Covington,
12/8/2017 1:30 PM