KU offering opportunity to learn about ‘ecosphere studies’

Friday, April 07, 2017

LAWRENCE — In partnership with the Land Institute, the KU Environmental Studies Program, the KU Center for Sustainability and The Commons have developed a day of activities to introduce “ecosphere studies,” an alternate approach to the current model for higher education.

As part of the Future University programming at The Commons, this series of three events on Thursday, April 13, will offer attendees a chance to explore their capacity to observe, think critically, make decisions and learn through direct engagement with their natural surroundings. The day includes three separate events, which can be attended individually or as a full day.

As a way of introducing ecosphere studies, the first opportunity features an offsite excursion to the historic Gorrill Farmstead, just west of Lawrence. This land is jointly stewarded by the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation and the Land Institute and will be the site for lunch and exploration. Interested participants should register by emailing thecommons@ku.edu for space on the bus and a box lunch. This event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., including travel time.

Next, attendees have chance to practice conscious observation in guided exercises at the Spencer Museum of Art Goddard Study Center or in Marvin Grove. These events begin at 2 p.m. in front of the Spencer Museum of Art and require registration to thecommons@ku.edu.

Finally, the day concludes with a panel discussion at The Commons at 3:30 p.m., featuring the leaders of the ecosphere studies movement: Chris Brown, KU geography & atmospheric sciences and environmental studies program; Matt Burke, KU visual art; John Head, KU law and environmental studies program; Aubrey Streit Krug, English, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Bill Vitek, philosophy, Clarkson University, and Wes Jackson, The Land Institute. This discussion will further explore the motivation and capacity for an ecosphere model, with ample time for audience engagement.

These events are open to the public, and anyone needing accommodation may contact thecommons@ku.edu with questions.