Greetings from San Francisco…

Greetings from San Francisco!  I’m here in CA at the largest meeting of geoscientists in the world:  The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting.  It’s an incredible experience to be surrounded by so many people all thinking and discussing what is happening with our planet!

 

The presentations that have been offered at AGU cover all aspects of Earth Science: there are amazing conversations happening about oceanography, geology, hydrology, climate change and many others.  However, one of my favorite conversations happening out here this week is a conversation surrounding climate literacy.  In other words, we’re discussing how to effectively teach about climate change in a meaningful way that will have real impacts on the way that our students live their lives.

 

Working at the farm this semester has allowed my colleague, Sue Mooney, and I to think deeply about climate literacy.  For the past few years, we have been teaching a learning community (LC) entitled “The Ethics and Science of Climate Change” which has attempted to teach undergraduates about climate change in a way that goes beyond just filing their heads with facts.  As participants in our LC, students enroll in courses on environmental science, environmental ethics, and a seminar that uses community based learning to empower students to make real change in the carbon footprints of local community partners.  So far, the results have been encouraging- but I look forward to spending more time at the farm this spring as we continue our quest to understand the best ways to teach about climate change!

 

~ Kristin Burkholder, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science

Memories in the Landscape

Hi everyone! My name is Jon Green and I am Stonehill’s Assistant Archivist and Digital Assets Manager. I also work closely with History and Anthropology faculty in developing coursework on environmental history, history of the Atlantic world, public history, and museum studies.

It was both exciting and comforting being accepted as a Farmhouse Writing Fellow this semester. Apart from having a quiet space away from my office where I can write (NOTE: “away from the office” is key), being part of the Farmhouse Writing Fellow program keeps me focused and pushes me to meet deadlines for research and writing. Credit is due to Bridget Meigs and the other writing fellows for creating a welcoming and engaging environment. It helps feeling like you are part of a cohort of individuals working toward similar goals: getting to the writing while the getting is good.

My project, “Memories in the Landscape,” is concerned with Stonehill’s environmental history. For thousands of years, human hands—let alone the claws, paws, beaks, and feet of other animals, as well as meteorological and geological processes—continuously shaped and reshaped the area we now know as Stonehill. These processes ultimately made a space into a place.

“Space” and “place” are at the heart of this project. To some, the words space and place may be interchangeable. To others, myself included, these two words hold specific and altogether separate meanings. For simplicity’s sake, spaces are strictly physical whereas places are a potent concoction of the tangible and intangible. More specifically, a place is brought into being by the confluence of environment (space) and memory, which collectively shape identity.

As a Stonehill graduate I can speak from experience when I say the campus is a place, filled with memory. The meaning I find in the Stonehill campus, however, is relative to my memories. This certainly is true for other students and alumni who reflect on their time at Stonehill with varying degrees of fondness. However, how many Stonehill students, I wonder, are cognizant of the countless memories locked in the college’s landscape? Over six decades of students lived, worked, played, and attended class on Stonehill’s campus. But what about before that? What about before the college’s founding in 1948?

“Memories in the Landscape” is an attempt to determine the ways in which environment and memory interweave to form distinctive identities specific to Stonehill’s campus. From selling dirt and constructing sewer systems, to fighting forest fires, damming rivers, raising cranberries, colonial homesteading, and American Indian encampments, the campus’s memory runs deep. In the case of Stonehill’s former mascot, the Chieftain, or the college’s name, “Stonehill,” identity is linked directly to the landscape and its memories.

How fitting it is and how fortunate I am to be part of the Farmhouse Writing Fellows, a program made possible thanks to The Farm where work is quite literally rooted in the landscape and further enriches Stonehill and its neighboring communities.

-Jon Green

Farmhouse Writing Fellow

Assistant Archivist

My Semester at The Farmhouse

My name is Kirsten Whitten. I am an Adjunct Lecturer of Public Relations for the Communication Department here at Stonehill. This semester, I had the privilege of being accepted as a Farmhouse Writing Fellow and I must say it’s been a great experience for me. Not only did I make a new friend (Bridget) and get to know some “fellow” colleagues, but the commitment required me to set aside time each week to make progress on my research project in a quiet, serene setting. Committing to a set schedule to use this designated quiet area for a few hours before class – twice a week – allowed me to gain substantial progress on my dissertation. As a busy mom and adjunct lecturer teaching at three different colleges, my time is stretched very thin. Honestly, finding enough time to simply meet the needs of my daily duties is hard enough; if I had not left my house early on these two days – as if I had a set appointment – I would never have found time to progress on my dissertation. Thanks to the Farmhouse Writing Fellows program, I was able to revise the first three chapters of my dissertation AND complete all pre-testing of my survey instrument… allowing me to go into the full testing stage. I know I would not be at this point if I had not designated this time each week… and for that, I am very grateful. I know that by staying on as a Farmhouse Writing Fellow for one more semester that I will be able to finish my dissertation in time to graduate with my Ph.D. this spring – or summer at the latest. I am thankful for this time, space and opportunity.
In addition, getting to know Bridget and feeling as a part of the community at The Farmhouse has provided me with a deeper connection to Stonehill College. As an adjunct that pops on and off campus regularly, it is nice to have this quiet, comfortable space to call home. Coming in and seeing Bridget, who has her office in The Farmhouse, other fellows, students volunteering at The Farm and occasionally being greeted by a friendly hound, all makes me feel a bit more welcome in the Stonehill Community. It is for this reason that I wanted the students in “COM 311A – Introduction to Public Relations” to take on The Farmhouse as their publicity project for the semester… I wanted more people to know about this great opportunity and the rewards of being a Farmhouse Writing Fellow.
–   Kirsten Whitten
Farmhouse Writing Fellow
Lecturer
, Communication/PR