Gannon dives in to year with new event series


After the large success from the traveling exhibit, “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race,” Gannon University has decided to host another series of events, this time centered around climate change, its resulting culture changes, how it relates to Catholic Tradition and what it means for our society.
“Culture and Climate Change” is the university’s yearlong theme and will kick off with the keynote address, “Science and Human Dignity: The View From Space,” given by Philip J. Sakimoto, Ph.D., an astrophysicist from the University of Notre Dame and previous manager of NASA’s Space Science Education and Public Outreach Program.
The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, in Room 104 of the Zurn Science Center.
In his lecture, Sakimoto will explain the science behind climate change—what causes it and how it drives short-term issues such as extreme storms, floods, droughts and fires as well as long-term issues such as global warming, rising ocean levels, deep ocean heating and ocean acidification.
In his lecture abstract, Sakimoto said he will also relate his lecture back to Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato si’.
“Pope Francis has made it very clear that climate change is one of the most critical global problems facing humanity today,” Sakimoto said.
“Finding solutions challenges us, as Pope Francis has said, to look deeply at our own responsibilities as people of faith.”
The theme of culture and climate change was decided on by a committee of faculty members who expressed interest in exposing students to more globally involved topics after last year’s “Deadly Medicine” exhibit.
The next event in the series is a showing of the film “Chasing Ice” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in Room 104 of the Zurn Science Center.
“Chasing Ice” is an Emmy Award-winning film that showcases breathtaking images of a multi-year record of the world’s disappearing glaciers.
The film originally debuted on the National Geographic channel and has since been viewed all over the world. Now, the film will be displayed at Gannon to allow the community to explore the Earth’s changing climate through this documentary.
Other events that are a part of “Culture and Climate Change” include five sessions of an interfaith discussion group where faculty, staff, students and community members from all faith and philosophical perspectives are invited to focus on climate solutions. The sessions will take place from 4:30-6 p.m. Sept. 22, Oct. 6 and 20, Nov. 3 and 17 in the Recreation and Wellness Center.
The group will use “Change is Our Choice: Creating Climate Solutions,” a five-session interactive e-book from the Northwest Earth Institute to reflect together on the problems surrounding climate change, our obligation to care better for the earth and imagine possible solutions. Those who are interested are encouraged to email Laura Goble at [email protected] to register by Sept. 15.
“The Climate Change Debate: Making Fact Into Fiction,” a panel discussion focused on the so-called controversy of global warming, will touch on all angles with Chris Dempsey, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the biology department at Gannon, who will speak on the science of global warming; Penny Smith, an assistant professor in the English department, who will give a rhetorical analysis; Will McAndrew, Ph.D., an assistant professor of finance and economics, who will speak about economic impacts; and Anjali Sahay, Ph.D., an associate professor of the political science program, who will speak about political implications.
The event will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 in Room 219 of the Waldron Campus Center.
“Chasing Water in a Rapidly Changing World,” with Chief Scientist Brian Richter, will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 in the Yehl Ballroom of the Waldron Campus Center. This presentation will highlight some of the most promising strategies for moving toward a more sustainable future for our water. Water scarcity has been spreading and intensifying globally, presenting growing challenges for communities, businesses and ecosystem protection.
The Schuster Art Gallery will host “Our Changing (Culture) Climate,” a part of International Education Week, from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays beginning Nov. 8. in the Center for Communication and the Arts. This international education photo competition is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.
With nearly 15 years of experience as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, former U.S. Congressman Phil English will give a lecture titled “Science, Culture and Climate Change” at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 in the Yehl Ballroom of the Waldron Campus Center.
Inspired by the Rwandan genocide, an East African public debate team will tell its stories as part of its U.S.A. Tour, iDebate Rwanda. The debate will allow survivors and descendants to discuss the relationship between the Rwandan Genocide and climate change at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Yehl Ballroom in the Waldron Campus Center.
Finally, an evening reception with Gannon’s Schuster Art Gallery will be held in conjunction with the Erie Art Museum’s Gallery Night from 7–9 p.m. Dec. 2. in the Schuster Art Gallery in the Center for Communication and the Arts. The art displayed in the Schuster Gallery will consist of the submissions gathered as a part of Gannon’s International Education Photo Competition.
“Culture and Climate Change” is sponsored by the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences and will feature events throughout the 2016-17 academic year. All events are free and open to the public.
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