October 19, 2017 at 10:41 am

Sustainability Film Series Brings ‘Power of Film to Transform and Educate’

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Many students, staff, and Athens residents take pleasure in seeing free films the Sustainability Film Series puts on every other Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Athena Cinema. However, very few know the work that Ohio University Libraries, Environmental Studies Department, and the Athena Cinema put into making these events such a success.

Formerly known as the Common Experience Project on Sustainability, the film series—now in its fifth year—originally was supported by University College. The Sustainability Studies theme has been an important co-sponsor of the series as well.

Each showing requires a quick turnaround time to promote the next film, assemble guest speakers for panel discussions, and have the film available at Alden Library. By combining efforts, Lorraine Wochna and Loraine McCosker make it look effortless.

Wochna says that Athens is an ideal town to have a film series dedicated to environmental sustainability. With environmental issues always being timely, Wochna believes it’s important to provide students and faculty the opportunity to learn from these films and discuss solutions to local problems with other community members.

“I believe in the power of film to transform and educate,” Wochna says. “I don’t think I’ve ever left the theater without hearing at least one student say, ‘“I never knew that.’” That’s what we want. A big thing we learned is finding films that are about what’s being done, grassroots efforts, and films that illustrate that people have power.”

Wochna, subject librarian for the School of Film, explained she does a lot of preparation for the film series with McCosker, who is the Outreach Coordinator and an instructor for the Environmental Studies program at OHIO. Both women get together to discuss what films they would like to see shown at the Athena and who they would like to invite as panelists for discussions after the film.

“Loraine knows so many people, she is very involved in the community,” Wochna said. “I try and focus my outreach to faculty from other disciplines.  For example this year we are working with faculty from Classics & World Religions, English, and the Division of Film.”

Both women also promote the films by posting information and updates on the Sustainability Film Series Facebook page as well as having a feature story on Alden Library’s website. Creating a Twitter account to help promote the films is something that Wochna hopes to set up in the future.

Wachna and McCosker both want to stress that the film series doesn’t end once the film is shown at the Athena. Educational rights of the films are purchased which allows the films to be screened again anywhere on campus. All film titles can be found at Alden Library. The film series is tagged under its original name, the Common Experience Project on Sustainability 2012-2017 on Alden’s website.

About the Sustainability Studies Theme

The Sustainability Studies theme integrates knowledge from many diverse disciplines to explore the complexity of global sustainability issues. Sustainability Studies asks students to think critically about the economic, social, political, cultural and scientific assumptions about humans’ relationships to the environment. Sustainability Studies invites critical exploration of a multitude of complex issues from the local to the global levels by engaging students in visionary conversation and collaborative, real-world problem solving. Sustainability Studies also invites students to explore their own personal values, and envision a meaningful, sustainable future. Sustainability Studies is a strong complement to a wide variety of majors, minors and certificates in the College of Arts & Sciences as well as across Ohio University.

Save the Date!

Climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann comes to Ohio University this March.

Mann is a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University and the director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. Among his many honors, in June 2017 he received the seventh annual Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communications from Climate One at the Commonwealth Club.

Mann was one of the authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Mann will be giving a public lecture on March 28, 2018, in the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

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