Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wildman Jesse's Final Thoughts on University Colloquium

Altogether I think that the University Colloquium class did a good and comprehensive job in inculcating ideas about sustainability and the environment. Though I don't mean to say that other things couldn't have been done. In many ways it was perfect, because it managed to cover most of the issues related to sustainability and was not too demanding. Having said that, it still could have been a little less demanding! I also see a few things that it could be lacking, and I have also discussed these in the last paper that was due in the class.

This blog unto itself could do with a few less entries I believe. The concepts to be dealt with in entries such as "packaging," "The Earth Charter," and "State of the World Impressions" were either practically pointless (as with "packaging") or already addressed sufficiently in class (as with the other two). The blog would not be so bad, though, if it were not for the papers...

Four papers seemed a little excessive in my opinion, perhaps two or three would have been better. I didn't mind the topics, and they seemed important, but they really interfered with doing work in other classes. Still, maybe they were beneficial (I at least was able to fine tune my writing ability which had been lying dormant for some time), maybe there was a problem with the readings...

The writings of John Dewey and Marjory Stoneman Douglas stand out to me as particularly dull, heavy-worded, outdated, and not lending to memory. I could not tell you more than two things that Stoneman Douglas wrote in her twenty page essay that was in the University Colloquium reader. As for Dewey, I just thought there might have been many other authors to choose from for a class focused on environmental issues. If you want to talk about learning, give me Socrates, if you want to talk about the environment, let me read Rachel Carson. The writings of Richard Louv were assigned first along with Dewey, and I had hoped that more articles like his would have been presented. Leopold, Orr, even The Earth Charter, were all fine, but an article like "Endgame" seemed a little out of place. I will say though that the assigned books State of the World 2009 and A Land Remembered were excellent choices for this course.

So, ok, a few reading issues, let's get down to brass tacks here. Some of the field trips were unnecessary. That's right, I said it. I like a good field trip, ECHO made sense, and the canoe trip was fun, but, and despite what I wrote about them in my blog, Corkscrew and Matanzas Pass were probably expendable. Maybe keep one, lose the other. As I said in paper 4, I would rather see a water treatment plant or the waste management facility. Maybe saying that I'd rather go to a waste management facility over going to a nature trail sounds idiotic, but I think that would give more variety and deal with the real issues of this course.

But again, it was all acceptable and I don't regret my experience in the course. The former were all suggestions. I could say that the three or four presentations in the class were undesirable, but I probably needed that practice too (I actually gave more speeches in front of this class than in the speech class I took!). Keep up the good work Mrs. Davis and the other University Colloquium staff!

That's what I'm talkin' about! Image courtesy of

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