North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central hosts symposium about water usage and conservation

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The public is invited to hear national, regional, state, local and Canadian officials discuss water usage and conservation during a symposium April 15 at North Central College.

The symposium is designed to raise awareness of issues surrounding water use and conservation in North America. Beginning with a review of actions being taken on the campus of North Central College and continuing through a look at what's being done in Naperville, Chicago and other North American cities, the symposium will focus on many dimensions of water usage, an issue actor Robert Redford calls "the sleeping giant issue of the 21st century."

"The Ripple Effect," a communitywide symposium, takes place from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 15, in Heininger Auditorium in the College's Larrance Academic Center, 309 E. School St., Naperville. From 4 to 6 p.m. the public is invited to participate in three sessions on various topics. The sessions resume from 7 to 9 p.m., along with a panel discussion at 7 p.m. A waste-free vegetarian supper will be served from 6 to 7 p.m. in the College's Oesterle Library, 320 E. School St., with water served in plant-based bioplastic recyclable and compostable bottles from Green Planet Bottling.

The event is presented by the College's Office of International Programs and culminates the yearlong residency at North Central by Radha Rajagopalan, the College's fifth Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence. Rajagopalan is a senior research analyst in Toronto's Environment Office.

In addition to Rajagopalan, panelists and presenters include Joe Deal, director of external affairs for the City of Chicago Mayor's Office; Justine Gembala, a civil engineer with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Jennifer Hensley, a grassroots organizer with the Sierra Club; and Alan Poole, City of Naperville director of public utilities.

The 7 p.m. panel, "Water Flows: How Water Moves in Cities," will feature Rajagopalan, Poole, Deal and Ann Durkin Keating, Dr. C. Frederick Toenniges Professor of History at North Central College and chair of the History Department. The documentary films "Blue Gold" and "Flow" about water usage and conservation will be shown continuously, and North Central College biology students will present results of DuPage River water testing.

Other North Central participants include philosophy professor Tim Morris and biology professor John Zenchak, who will discuss their course "Water, Food, and Sex" and results of water usage testing by their students. Abby Hahne, the College's sustainability coordinator and Mike Hudson, assistant vice president for business operations will discuss water conservation efforts on campus and other environmental initiatives.

Prior to the symposium, groups of North Central students will compete to see who can use the least amount of water in one week.

In addition, on Monday, April 19, North Central College will screen the film "River of Renewal" at 7 p.m. in the College's Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville. Director Stephen Most will be on campus to present his award-winning documentary about the conflict over the resources of California and Oregon's Klamath Basin.

This is the third film screening in North Central's year-long series of documentaries focusing on water issues that directly affect Native Americans. "River of Renewal" follows the story of Jack Kohler, a Yurok/Karuk Indian on a journey of self-discovery in the land of his ancestors. The film documents the protests of Indian tribes, farmers, and commercial fishermen as they defend their ways of life.

As part of its academic mission, North Central College turns its attention to a particular global issue in order to examine it in the cultures of particular regions of the world. This year, the College continues a three-year-long series on global environmental change, focusing on North America. Several classes across the curriculum are devoting attention to this focus, while co-curricular events-including lectures, films, concerts and art exhibits-take place each term.