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Calvin to Participate in Focus the Nation
January 28, 2008

Calvin College will be one of almost 1,500 colleges and universities across the country participating in a national initiative called Focus the Nation.

Billed as a "nationwide teach-in," Focus the Nation will be held January 31 and is intended to raise awareness of and encourage action on global warming.

Locally Aquinas and Grand Valley will join Calvin in the day's events.

Calvin's participation in Focus the Nation actually will begin on Tuesday, January 29 with an 8 pm kick-off event in the Commons Lecture Hall to view the newly released film, King Corn.

On Wednesday, January 30 the college will host its annual Re-Gathering (which marks the start of second semester) in the Fine Arts Center at 9:50 am and there Dr. Elaine Storkey will speak on Climate Change and the Global Poor. That evening Calvin will host a webcast at 8 pm in Science Building 010 of "The 2% Solution," a discussion of global warming with Stanford University climate scientist Stephen Schneider and others. At 9 pm that evening the college will host a Snow Festival on the Commons Lawn with a snowman contest, snow tunnels, the opportunity to build an igloo and sleep outside and much more.

On Thursday, January 31, Calvin will host teach-in activies all day around the campus and the Chapel speaker will be Peter Illyn, director of Restoring Eden.

There also will be a round table discussion from 3:30 to 5 pm in the Bunker Interpretive Center called "Institutional Responses to Global Climate Change: What Can Calvin College Do?" That will be moderated by Calvin provost Claudia Beversluis and will include Calvin representatives from food services, physical plant, the provost's office and residence life.

That evening at 8 pm in the Fine Arts Center there will be a panel with elected officials called "Solutions for Global Climate Change: Ideas from Policymakers," including Congressman Vern Ehlers, City Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss and others.

Following that panel discussion, at 9 pm, there will be a concert in the FAC by Anathallo, which is Greek and means to renew, grow and bloom.

Toting horns, piano, bells, guitars, chains, pipes, and "found object" percussion (like scissors, Velcro, and balloons), the seven members have won over even the most jaded hipster audiences with their energetic shows and distinctive musical style. Tickets are $10.

At Calvin the Focus the Nation activities are sponsored by the Provost's Office, the Environmental Stewardship Committee, the student-led Environmental Stewardship Coalition (ESC) and the Calvin Environmental Assessment Program.

Calvin's programming takes a decidely faith-based approach to the day.

Indeed the college Web site created for Focus the Nation states simply that: "As confessional Christians within the Reformed tradition, we believe God's dominion extends over all aspects of creation and that he has endowed humankind with the responsibility to care for this creation which he deeply loves and daily sustains. We believe God created all things good and through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, has provided the means for all things to be reconciled to him, the culmination of which will occur with Christ's second coming."

Focus the Nation is called an opportunity for university faculty members to hold a discussion with their students on how global climate change not only affects the world at large, but how their professional discipline is interrelated with this issue.

"The idea," says the Focus the Nation Web site, "is to spark conversation and critical thinking amongst students, faculty and their communities in the hopes of increasing their knowledge of this topic."

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