Tom Wessels, core faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies, will deliver this year’s commencement address. Tom’s talk will examine the power a cultural story holds for a populace that embraces it. He will present our current cultural story as one that is focused on the importance of the individual and the need to consume. This story is reinforced continuously through advertising, the media, and even our political leaders as they rarely address us as citizens these days but more frequently as The Consumer. Tom will develop the point that we will never be able to embrace serious environmental stewardship or major gains in social justice as a culture unless we change this story. But we don’t need to invent a new story, we only need to restore the original story under which this nation was founded. That story is expressed in the first three words of the United States Constitution—We The People. Another important aspect of that original story was the civic importance of frugality.
Embedded in the talk will be a short historical chronology of how our original founding story was intentionally transformed into the current story.
For more details about commencement, go here.