Earth Week Brings Jim Farrell, Ph.D., to the U of M, Crookston on Thursday, Apr. 19, 2012, to speak on "The Nature of Our Lives: How College Culture Degrades Nature and How it Might be Different"

farrell2010.jpgJim Farrell, Ph.D. (at left), a professor of history at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., will highlight Earth Week at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. On Thursday, April 19, 2012, he will speak on "The Nature of Our Lives: How College Culture Degrades Nature and How it Might be Different" beginning at 12:15 p.m. in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

His presentation explores the intersections of college culture, consumer culture and the environment by looking at the social construction of common sense and at the emerging uncommon sense of sustainability that's increasingly a part of campus cultures.

As background for his presentation, Farrell includes these important considerations: College students study cultures all the time, in history and the Humanities, sociology and anthropology, languages and literature.  But students don't often study their own culture, which just seems "natural" to them.  Waking up to an alarm, going to the bathroom, sorting through the clothes in their closets, eating in the cafeteria, watching TV and playing video games, using computers and iPods, driving cars and hooking up and hanging out, having fun and partying, practicing religion and politics (or not), students teach each other the cultural scripts of college culture, few of which are good for the planet we inhabit.

Farrell, a professor of history, American studies, environmental studies and American conversations, is an innovative teacher and St. Olaf's first Boldt Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities. As a member of the college's Sustainability Task Force, he's had a hand in the greening of St. Olaf. With colleagues at Carleton College, he's facilitated a series of sustainability workshops on "Cows, Colleges and Curriculum."  Most recently, he served as a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's Summit on Sustainability in the Curriculum, held February 2010 in San Diego, CA. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola University in Chicago (1971), and both an M.A. in History (1972) and a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Illinois (1980). For more information, visit  

The program is co-sponsored by U of M, Crookston Concerts and Lectures, Crookston Students for Sustainable Development (CSSD), Institute on Environment - U of MN, and UMC Center for Sustainability.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

Contact: Dan Svedarsky, director, Center for Sustainability, 218-281-8129 (; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (