The Glasgow Greentoppers, a new student organization at WKU-Glasgow, sponsored the Awakening the Dreamer symposium on Feb. 8 in Barren County.
The Glasgow Greentoppers organization reached out to a diverse constituency on campus and in the community and recruited 50 participants, including students from the Glasgow and Bowling Green campuses, faculty and staff from across the University, as well as community members from local churches and organizations such as Sustainable Glasgow, Mammoth Cave and many more.
Building on a thought-provoking documentary, the workshop attempts to raise community awareness about environmental degradation, but also to inform people about social inequities, such as racism, as well as problems linked to the mindset of unchecked economic growth and overconsumption. The symposium then focuses on solutions to these problems and helps community members identify how they can work together to make a difference.
The Awakening the Dreamer symposium was facilitated by Sister Claire McGowan, founder of the New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future in Washington County, and Dr. Ron Hustedde, Extension Professor of Community & Leadership Development at UK. The event was funded by WKU-Glasgow, WKU Sociology Department and the WKU Greentoppers. The multimedia presentation was developed by the Pachamama Alliance and participants have attended this workshop around the world.
Participants had various degrees of familiarity with the issues at hand, although many were already involved with related issues such as permaculture design, farmers markets, prison injustice, and creating local events to promote environmental, economic and social sustainability.
The workshop began with a free, locally sourced lunch prepared by the Stellar House with ingredients from area producers, including potatoes from Paul Wiediger, eggs from Ron Ward, vegetables from Joe Trigg, cheddar from Kenny’s Cheese, and mini-cupcakes from Angela Briggs’ baking company. Thanks to participant Josh Johnson, all the compostable dinnerware and table scraps from the meal were used as inputs on his organic farm.
Participants had a variety of responses to the symposium. One student said she realized during the symposium that the Glasgow Greentoppers did not just focus on environment, but also things like buying local, recycling and building connections in the community.
Simon Funge, assistant professor of Social Work at WKU-Glasgow, said: “This symposium is helpful since it resonates with my personal and professional worldview and it’s in line with a class I’m teaching this semester (macro-practice that emphasizes environmental sustainability).”
North Jackson Elementary School teacher Kellie Long described her experience s “both mind-boggling and enlightening. So glad I attended the symposium.”
Justin Woods of the Glasgow Christian Academy noted: “It was a great experience overall and networking was a big key.”
WKU-Glasgow student Dawn Angermeier said, “the experience was very enjoyable and enlightening and not at all what I expected.”
“The symposium took me to the core of existence,” student Betty Richter said.
The Glasgow Greentoppers organization was formed by students in Dr. Nicole Breazeale’s Sociology of Community, Environment, & Development class and is co-advised by Dr. Breazeale and Amy Nemon, an Environmental Geography instructor who worked to bring this group to the Glasgow campus for many years.
Contact: Nicole Breazeale, (270) 659-6982.