Jane Goodall Joins Westminster Students
Jane Goodall Joins Westminster Students
When college officials arranged to have Dr. Jane Goodall travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, to spend three days promoting Westminster’s soon-to-be-established Intermountain West Regional Center for Roots & Shoots, one of their first considerations was how to maximize the amount of quality time Dr. Goodall would spend interacting with Westminster students.
A day was planned to allow Dr. Goodall to experience some of Utah’s unique local ecology and to spend time in the field with students interested in the Roots & Shoots mission of helping the environment, animals, and the human community through service projects. More than 20 Westminster students, staff, and faculty accompanied her to the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve, operated by The Nature Conservancy in Layton, Utah.
The atmosphere was casual and relaxed as Dr. Goodall and the Westminster students went for a long walk along the wooden path that hovers above the marshland and gives visitors a spectacular view of the natural scenery. In the intimate, gazebolike setting, students could visit with Dr. Goodall and get to know her personally. Several students remarked that this memory would be one of the highlights of their Westminster experience.
Westminster biology professor Bonnie Baxter was one of the faculty members who accompanied Dr. Goodall and the students to the Great Salt Lake that day. Looking back on the experience, Dr. Baxter remarked, “Meeting Jane Goodall was literally transforming for our students. I am astounded by the amount of time she has dedicated to young people, really listening to their ideas.”
After taking the walk with Dr. Goodall, the Westminster students were joined by other young people, representing elementary, junior high, and high schools from around Utah, who, like their counterparts at Westminster, are involved in Roots & Shoots–related projects. Together they spent several hours giving Dr. Goodall oral presentations on their clubs’ activities and projects.
Phyllis Hockett, Assistant Vice President of Development at Westminster College and the organizer of Dr. Goodall’s visit to Westminster, remarked “Jane’s visit to the Shorelands Preserve with the Escalante Elementary school children, The Nature Conservancy, Judge Memorial Catholic High School students, Bosnian refugees,Westminster students and faculty, and a few fortunate visitors who just happened to be at the Preserve was a perfect example of her ability to bring diverse populations together to discuss common issues. Through Roots & Shoots, each of them not only addressed problems in our community but took the initiative to discover and implement solutions. Everyone was touched by the opportunity to talk with her about their projects and listen to her powerful message.”
As part of our commitment to global awareness and experiential learning, the Associated Students of Westminster College (ASWC) has partnered with several clubs and organizations to promote new environmental initiatives both on campus and in the community.
ASWC and the Office of the President partnered with Chris Brinkerhoff, president of the Westminster Action Network, in an effort to increase recycling at the college. In addition to providing more recycling bins on campus, the project will also include re-educating the college community about materials that are currently recyclable on-campus, as well as alternative recycling facilities. Initially, the program will target residence halls and the Shaw Student Center, but plans to incorporate all parts of the campus including classrooms and offices are already under consideration.
At the suggestion of Asia Ferrin, president of the Westminster Philosophy Club, ASWC and several other clubs have adopted a stretch of the I-80 highway in Parley’s Canyon. The two-year agreement will help reduce litter and pollution in the forested areas between Park City and the Salt Lake Valley. Students have already organized several trips to the site and plans are in place to resume in the fall.
Over the course of this year, ASWC hopes to continue these initiatives with the possibility of adding even more. The student senate will work with staff and administrators to investigate energy efficiency on campus and will suggest possible improvements and alternatives to current situations. Student leaders are also excited to get involved with the development of an Environmental Center as part of the Westminster College strategic plan and the Center for Strategic Initiatives. Once the semester begins, ASWC representatives will also meet with faculty and staff from our new environmental studies program to brainstorm the possibility of coordinating service learning activities outside of the classroom.