2023 Family Weekend Acorn Talks

Saturday, September 30 – 11:15 a.m.-Noon


Environmental Racism, Environmental Violence and Social Justice: Unveiling the Intersection

Vanessa Drew-Branch, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Human Services Studies & Interim Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

2023 Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Mentoring Award

Location: Lambert Academic Village, Lindner Hall 208

This enlightening lecture will explore the complex and pressing issue of environmental racism and its profound implications for social justice. Environmental racism is a stark manifestation of structural inequality, where marginalized communities, often predominantly composed of BIPOC folks, bear the brunt of environmental violence and injustices. “Sacrifice zones” are areas where environmental degradation and pollution are disproportionately concentrated, often at the expense of marginalized communities. This lecture will delve deep into the intersection of environmental issues and social justice, shedding light on the historical roots, current realities, and potential solutions surrounding this critical topic.


A Question Is… ?

Stephen Bloch-Schulman, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy

2018 Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching

Location: Richard W. Sankey Hall 308

The questions we ask, and those we don’t ask, can lead to great wonder, to awesome innovation, to deeper understanding. They can also lead to ignorance and harm. As important as questions are, it is wonder we rarely ask about them; in this session, that is exactly what we will do.


Good vibrations: How and why animals communicate by shaking things up!

Jennifer “Jen” Hamel, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology and Associate Director of Undergraduate Research

2021 Japheth E. Rawls Professorship of Undergraduate Research in Science

Location: Moseley Center, Lakeside Meeting Room 212

Animals communicate about things that are central to their survival and reproduction! There is a robust body of research about how and why animals use sounds, visual signals, and odors to communicate with each other. Less is known about how animals use substrate-borne vibrations, although we estimate that over 200,000 animal species shake to communicate! Professor Hamel studies vibrational communication with insects. She will provide an overview of animal communication and vibrational signaling, invite you to identify which animals produced some recorded vibrational signals, and summarize some of the current questions of interest to researchers in this field.


The Ethics of Journalism

Amanda Sturgill, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Journalism

2020 School of Communications Excellence in Teaching Award

Location: Moseley Center 215

Anyone with a blog can ask someone questions and publish the results. So why still have professional journalism? In this interactive session, learn why journalism ethics make the difference in information audiences can trust. __________________________________________________________________________________________

Understanding the World through the Lens of the Ancient Maya

Rissa Trachman, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology

2022 Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Mentoring Award

Location: Moseley Center, Lakeside Meeting Room 214

This session will explore the world of the ancient Maya as viewed from an ancient city in northwestern Belize. Maya artifacts and architecture can be evaluated to understand trade or market activity, ritual, social life, and so much more. In this example economic productivity and its integration with aspects of ritual and social expression are critical perspectives in understanding the nature of life in the ancient city.