Colloquium helps raise awareness

Katrina Sargent

Katrina Sargent

Students involved in the Honors Colloquium will give a public presentation on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. in the South Dakota Art Museum auditorium. The topic for the presentation is Global Environmental Change and Ecosystems.

This presentation will be the third and final installment in a series about environmental change on a global scale, put on by students enrolled in the Honors Colloquium.

The topic of the colloquium this semester is global environmental change. The topic changes each semester and guest speakers are brought in to discuss issues within the topic, according to Amanda Johnson, a senior French and history major who is a part of the colloquium.

“We are focusing on global warming, human population issues and ecosystem issues,” said Robert Burns, dean of the SDSU Honors College.

The first presentation was held on Oct. 23 and covered global warming. The second presentation, on Oct. 30, discussed the ways in which population effects global environmental change.

The second presentation covered the ways in which overpopulation can cause environmental degradation. They covered the ways in which population has become a global environmental issue, the health concerns created by the increase in population and social conflict caused by stress from oenviornmental degredation because of the increase of global population.

According to the SDSU Web site, the honors colloquium is a requirement to graduate with Honors College Distinction. The curriculum includes reading lists, discussions, presentations, exams, papers, and lectures.

Approximately 20 students are involved in the colloquium this semester. Most of them are enrolled in the Honors College, but there are a few global studies students who are not part of the Honors College, Burns said.

“Colloquium is important because going to college is not just about getting a degree,” Johnson said. “It’s also about coming together to discuss larger issues and trying to come up with some answers.

According to Burns, for each case, students discuss the issue, why it is an issue, the causes behind it and what can be done about it in the private and public sectors.

Johnson likes the class because it brings together students from different majors and colleges who have a variety of opinions and views about the different topics discussed.

This semester the students are focusing on three books. The main book is Lester Brown’s Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble. There are also two other books that have opposing views, Johnson said.

According to a synopsis on the Barnes & Noble Web site, Brown’s book covers “numerous environmental trends of disruption and decline such as rising temperatures, falling water tables, shrinking forests, melting glaciers, collapsing fisheries and rising sea levels.”

The class meets for three hours every Tuesday in the NFA. The colloquium is similar to a graduate seminar, and students do independent research and make both group and individual oral presentations, said Burns.

“I’ve learned a lot from taking this class,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a lot of guest lecturers which always makes class different and interesting.”

“It has been a worthwhile investigation,” said Burns.

All students, professors and community members are invited to attend the Nov. 6 presentation to learn more about the effects of environmental change on the world’s ecosystems.