James Pennebaker, chair of the psychology department, and John Daly, communications studies professor, will discuss the language of sustainability in an inaugural lecture titled “Sustainability: What Does it Mean? What Does it Matter?” The lecture fulfills the spring 2012 Signature Course University Lecture Series requirement, and it is free and open to the public.
The pursuit of sustainability is evident on college campuses as students’ expectations and optimism fuel the need for change. Pennebaker and Daly will address the word “sustainability” as it has become both ubiquitous and often meaningless in our culture. “Sustainability” has been used to create identity and purpose, rally support for and against global causes, and affect national policy and personal behavior. Pennebaker and Daly will launch a conversation about how we use language around sustainability to get us moving past the word itself and exploring its intersection with advocacy. The lecture emphasizes how we approach understanding and solving problems through our speaking and writing as well as how to better listen and read to understand our own attitudes on sustainability.