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The Reeder Scholars invite the campus community to a discussion on environmentalism in Africa 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15 in the back room of Gilbert’s. Dessert will be provided.

The discussion will focus on how the issues of environmentalism and subsistence clash in Africa. Civil engineering majors Christa Kelleher ’08 (Tigard, Ore.) and Bailey Simone ’08 (Westfield, Mass.), who traveled to Uganda this past summer, will lead the conversation and talk about their experiences.

Roger Ruggles, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, will join the discussion. Ruggles, who has worked on wetlands research with counterparts in Uganda since 2000, led a team of five Lafayette students that included Kelleher and Simone in EXCEL Scholars research this past summer. They worked closely with a team of five professors and students from Makerere University in Kampala to collect data on how agricultural intrusion is affecting local wetlands.

“A lot of what we encountered over the summer dealing with wetlands were regulations that would impede farming for poor individuals and families who lived off the land,” explains Kelleher. “At the same time, the distribution of wealth is so skewed that those in power, who are often in possession of these large environmental areas, are also breaking the environmental sanctions that have been established. We’re hoping to talk about the political structure and what a third world country’s responsibility is to environmentalism. Under what terms do people have an obligation to be environmentally conscious?”

Kelleher and Simone were inspired by their research experiences to host a campus-wide discussion on the topic. In addition to addressing the issues surrounding environmentalism in Africa, they also will talk about the cultural education they received.

“I’m hoping other students will take away a greater understanding of not only the differences but also the similarities between life in Africa and life in the U.S.,” says Kelleher. “I think that we have so many stigmas attached to what we view as life in a third world country, yet they are implementing many policies that are quite similarly-minded when compared to our own.”

Now in its second year as an off campus intellectual community, the Reeder Scholars program is experimenting with a new format. Reeder Scholars host events with professionals, visiting artists, college professors, and religious leaders.

Previous events this semester:

Categorized in: Academic News