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Critical Issue Forum

Calvin College is focusing attention on the many aspects of water during 2009–2010. Water is essential to life, and clean water is a critical issue in all parts of the world: Sub-Sahara Africa faces water shortages while other regions boast of abundance, and there’s growing awareness of the importance of fresh water as a resource for the social and economic vitality of our own Great Lakes region.

Particular focus will be drawn to the critical issue of water during a two-day forum at the beginning of spring semester on February 3-4, 2010. Plans are underway for on-campus speakers, films, residence hall activities (see the Kill-a-Watt program website), and community events in Grand Rapids. Additional events and activities are being planned throughout the academic year, and your suggestions and ideas are welcome.

The scheduled events for February 3-4 are listed below. Click here for a printable schedule.

If you missed any of the events, please visit the forum's archive page to sample some of the presentations.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Re-Gathering: “Water:  For the Least of These”

9:45 AM @ Van Noord Arena

Speaker: Mike Mantel, Director of Living Water International

Film: Flow    (

3:30 PM @ Commons Lecture Hall

Speaker: Jamie Skillen (Geography)  

Thursday, February 4, 2010

“Water Issues as experienced during Interim 2010: Belize, Cambodia, Costa Rica”

9:00-9:50 AM @ DeVos Forum

Panel: Dave Warners (Biology), Ryan Walter Rooks (HPERDS), Glenn Remelts (Library), David Dornbos (Biology), and Leonard DeRooy (Engineering)

“Managing Water in an Urban Setting”

9:00-9:50 AM @ Library Lobby

Speakers: Bill Byl (Kent County Drain Commissioner) and David Wunder (Engineering)

“Living Water"

10:00 AM @ Chapel

“Caring for our local Watershed—Plaster Creek”

10:30-11:30 AM @ Library Lobby

Speakers: Wendy Ogilvie (Water quality specialist with Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber) and Peter Hiskes (project manager, Plaster Creek Stewards)

“Water and Personal Choices for Sustainability”

10:30-11:30 AM @ DeVos Forum

Speakers: Erin Felak (Residence Life intern) and Paul Chaplin (student leader of Environmental Stewardship Coalition)

“Challenges to Great Lakes Ecology: What’s the fuss about Asian Carp and other exotic creatures?"

11:30-12:30 AM @ Library Lobby

Speakers: Randy Van Dragt (Biology), and Keith Grasman (Biology)

“Food, Fiber and Water”

11:30-12:30 AM @ DeVos Forum

Speakers: Uko Zylstra (Biology) and Marta Swain (owner of Clothing Matters)

“Role of Water in Different Faiths”

12:30-1:30 PM @ DeVos Forum

Speakers: Diane Obenchain (Religion) and Gerry Van Kooten (Geology)

“Impacts of Climate Change on Water:  More Developed Countries and Less Developed Countries”

12:30-1:30 PM @ Library Lobby

Speakers: Bob Hoeksema (Engineering), Johnathan Bascom (Geography) and Mary VanderWal (Nursing)

“Making Water Accessible: Calvin Engineering Senior Design Projects”

1:30-2:30 PM @ Library Lobby

Presenters: David Nyenhuis & Jason VanKampen; Aaron Raak, Aaron VanderHill & Jeff Van Laar; and
Andrew Rescorla & Katrina Denny

FILM: Water First    (

1:30-2:30 PM @ Bytwerk Theater

Speaker: Mwenda Ntarangwi (Sociology)

“Using Water on Campus”

2:30-3:30 PM @ DeVos Forum

Speakers: Phil Beezhold (Calvin’s Director of Physical Plant) and Rick Balfour (Creative Dining Services)

“Water, Health, and Development”

2:30-3:30 PM @ Library Lobby

Speakers: Amy Patterson (Political Science) and Matt Heun (Engineering)

FILM:  Mysteries of the Great Lakes    (

6:30 PM @ Celebration Cinema North—IMAX Theatre

Admission $5.50 (special showing for Calvin only — bring your Calvin ID and your families!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

FILM:  Tapped    (

 7:00 PM @ Wealthy Theater (1130 Wealthy Street)

Sponsored by the West Michigan Environmental Action Council in partnership with Calvin College