On April 7th, 2016, The Rachael Carson award was presented at the Honors Convocation to Summer Lee, a sophomore who covered the topic of the ripple effect.
St. Thomas Aquinas College prides itself on its constant efforts to educate students on the desperate need for sustainability awareness. This environmental writing award is one more opportunity for students to educate themselves and others on the topic of environmental sustainability.
Summer Lee, award winner, says, “I’m currently a sophomore, class of 2018, and a Biology Major. The subject for this year’s Environmental Writing Contest was water, and more specifically, the ripple effect. I’m passionate about ecology and environmental science, and the ripple effect is a perfect analogy for the never-ending consequences of human activities on the biosphere. For the purpose of this essay, I wrote about three water-related problems we are facing today, and how their effects reach far beyond what most may realize.”
Rachel Golland, Instructor of English, says, “First of all, credit for our ability to offer the Environmental Writing Award in Honor of Rachel Carson really goes to Dr. Barbara Ward Klein, Dr. Robert Murray, and Dr. Fitzpatrick. Dr. Klein initiated conversations and arranged for permission from the Rachel Carson family and publishers to host this writing contest and to offer an award to the annual winner.
Why is environmental writing and the mindfulness it can bring with it so important to our local and global communities? I believe that this generation of thinkers possesses a heightened sense of environmental ethics that far surpasses that of previous generations. Ecocriticism (“the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment”) is a genre of writing that has facilitated academic institutions in becoming sites of inquiry where students are invited to develop sensitivity to the historical and physical environments that exist in their and other worlds.Writing about the environment enables students and their readers to consider the impact that the environment has had on humans, and the impact that humans have had on the
environment. Through environmental literature, at minimum, we can create an awareness of our complex relationship with the environment; at best, we can inspire action to improve those relationships and to envision possibilities for how to do so.
Our ability to offer this writing contest at St. Thomas Aquinas College is consistent with the many other environmental opportunities and activities throughout the campus. Last year’s theme for the writing contest was sustainability; this year, since the Honors Program had already successfully undertaken their Water Project, I felt it would merge the arts and sciences nicely if students were invited to create literature around the theme of “ripple effects”. We had many wonderful entries this and last year, making it difficult to choose among them. This year’s winner, Summer Lee, wrote an incredibly informative, compelling and thought-provoking piece on water toxicity. She is really to be commended for her efforts and her work! I am continually amazed by the talent of our student writers who deserve immense praise for their innovative and significant contributions to these communal conversations.”