The key to future abundant renewable energy is finding a way to generate and distribute that energy in a profitable and sustainable way, scholar and author Jeffrey Ball told an audience at Allegheny College on Tuesday night.
Ball, a former newspaper reporter, said his experience reporting on and researching renewable energy policy has shown him that if environmental progress is to be made, its stakeholders need to find out how to make sustainability profitable. He also said that the future of climate change and worldwide sustainability of resources are in the hands of young people.
“I just turned 50 years old. The people in this room who I really want to talk to are the people less than half my age,” Ball said. “This is maybe the mother of all mega-issues, and if you want to make a difference in the world, you should dig into this, and if you don’t care too much about making a difference in the world but you just want to make a lot of money, you should dig into this.”
Ball, currently a lecturer at Stanford Law School and scholar-in-residence at Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy, spoke at the Tippie Alumni Center as part of a two-day visit to campus where he also was addressing academic forums.
“Not only is it not the case that renewable energy is a silver bullet, but I’m sorry to tell you that there isn’t a silver bullet, period,” he said, “Not only am I not going to give you easy answers, I don’t think I’m going to give you any answers. What I am going to do is to encourage you to try to ask deeper questions” about climate change, said Ball.
Ball spent 15 years at the Wall Street Journal as both a reporter focusing on energy and the environment and an editor of the paper’s environment section.
In his discussion of global climate change, Ball drew information from his experiences traveling around the globe to report on the evolving nature of energy policy in more than 15 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Germany and China. He told the audience that the key actors in the race toward competitive renewable energy are countries in the developing world, including China and India.
Allegheny sophomore Emily Kauchak encouraged her fellow students to explore the Environmental Law and Policy programs which Allegheny has made available. She said it is also important to share the importance of sustainability with her peers.
“The environment relates to everything that we study here in the world, and on this campus. Every student at Allegheny is an environmental scientist,” she said.
Ball’s lecture on Tuesday, entitled “Sharp Fights and Hard Lessons in the Global Race for Clean Energy,” was organized by Allegheny’s Law and Policy program, and was the start of a short course entitled “The Future of Energy Policy,” which also will incorporate lectures from two other scholars, Robert Glennon, one of the nation’s thought leaders and commentators on the fresh-water supply, and Dr. Julie Sze, professor of American studies at the University of California-Davis.
Photo Credit: Aubrey Hall ’22. Photo Caption: Lecturer Jeffrey Ball, right, discusses a point about profitable sustainability with first-year student Sebastian McRae.
Anthony Ray Hinton was released from Jefferson County (Alabama) Jail in 2015 after serving one of the longest sentences on death row among those later exonerated — and since then he has been traveling the country telling his story.
Hinton spoke at Allegheny College on Thursday, Sept. 20, as part of a program sponsored by the national Equal Justice Initiative and Allegheny’s Student Alliance for Prison Reform.
Hinton wrote “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” a New York Times bestseller, about his experience.
“I wish I could look you in the eye and tell you that the state of Alabama made an honest mistake,” Hinton told a roomful of Allegheny students and other community members. “I wish I could look you in the eye and tell you that race had nothing to do with me going to death row for 30 years, but the truth of the matter is the state of Alabama didn’t make an honest mistake, and race had everything to do with me going to death row.”
In the summer of 1985, two Birmingham-area fast-food restaurants were robbed and their managers fatally shot. In July, there was a robbery at a restaurant in Bessemer, Alabama, where the manager was shot but not seriously injured.
Though a 29-year-old Anthony Hinton was working at a locked warehouse 15 miles away at the time of the second crime, and although there were no eyewitness accounts of the first incident, he was arrested one evening while cutting the grass outside of his mother’s house. He matched a vague description of the perpetrator, and after being brought into the police station, was identified from a photo lineup.
Hinton was told by the detective handling his case that it didn’t matter whether he did or didn’t commit the crimes. The officer “was going to make sure that [Hinton] was found guilty.”
After illegal seizure of a firearm that had been in Hinton’s mother’s possession, the state of Alabama claimed that the gun matched the one used in all three crimes, and lacking an expert who could sufficiently refute the state’s claims, Hinton was convicted and sentenced to death row. It was here that he spent 30 years steadfastly maintaining that he was innocent, and after more than 12 years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned his conviction, and Hinton was allowed to walk free.
Hinton’s entire family died while he was on death row, and the state of Alabama has yet to issue him an apology or pay him the $3 million he is legally due, he said.
“I go around the country telling this story because I truly don’t want any of you young people to get caught up in a system that is flawed,” Hinton said, emphasizing the importance of young people mobilizing in favor of prison reform, “Your children’s children will inherit this judicial system that we have if you don’t stand up and do something about it.”
Student involvement in seeking improved justice was a frequent theme on Thursday evening, touched on by Hinton himself, by audience members who voiced their questions, and by student organizers of the event. The local Student Alliance for Prison Reform, which is a relatively new group on campus, is part of a larger alliance, spearheaded by Princeton University, which seeks to get students involved in political processes and open dialogue about injustice.
“Mr. Hinton’s story was one that we all found especially compelling,” said the student club’s vice president, Brian A. Hill ’19, “We figured that getting someone who works hand-in-hand with the Equal Justice Initiative would not only serve the purpose of our club, but also have a broader appeal to the campus. Getting Mr. Hinton was a challenge, but it’s a challenge that we’re really proud that we took on.”
The evening concluded with a round of questions, as well as an opportunity for students to talk with Hinton one-on-one. Hinton’s book is being adapted into a movie scheduled to be released in the United States in 2020.
Departing for Chautauqua, New York, on the morning of August 28, a group of 22 Allegheny students attended the 12th International Humanitarian Law Dialogs on a trip sponsored by the college’s Law and Policy Program.
Held at the esteemed Chautauqua Institution, this event focused on cultural approaches to international justice by posing the question, “Is the Justice We Seek the Justice They Want?” This question was heavily debated at the dialogs, as international lawyers face many challenges in their careers.
During presentations at the event, renowned international war crimes tribunal prosecutors and legal experts spoke of their careers and experiences. They later joined to form a panel, during which Allegheny students and other audience members could share their questions and insights.
The law dialogs also featured author Ishmael Beah, and a copy of his national bestselling memoir, “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” was given to each of the students and autographed upon request.
The trip was “memorable, insightful, and 100 percent worth attending,” said first-year student Kathryn Phillippe.
“I was awestruck and inspired by the many people I had met at this event,” Phillippe added, “but one in particular stood out for me: Mohamedou Ould Salahi, an engineer from Mauritania who was detained by the United States without criminal charges and subjected to interrogation and torture before ending up in Guantanamo Bay.”
Salahi wrote “Guantanamo Diary,” a detailed narrative of his years in detention before his 2016 release. The audience had the opportunity to Skype and speak with Salahi from Mauritania, and he told the audience that he kept his spirit through all his years in detention by being positive.
Salahi’s next published work, “Portable Happiness,” addresses why it is important to have this positive outlook on life, despite what the situation may be, Phillippe said. “This message really resonated with me,” she added, “and I often think of how I can contain my own ‘portable happiness’ as Ould Salahi did.”
The Law and Policy Program offered by Allegheny provides students with opportunities and experience in law and policy in both domestic and international contexts. This is the first year of a new Global Affairs focus within the Law and Policy Program. This trip to the Law Dialogues, with faculty and students from political science and international studies, reflects that new focus within the Law and Policy Program.
Allegheny students have attended the International Humanitarian Law Dialogs for the past six years through the Law and Policy Program and the college’s Center for Political Participation. Both programs plan to continue to provide students with the opportunity to attend this annual event.
Allegheny College student Mia Cota-Robles Rossi attended the National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership Pennsylvania institute in summer 2018, earning a certificate of distinction — an honor granted to only one student by the program’s coordinators.
Rossi, a sophomore from Erie, Pennsylvania, received the certificate for her work on a social action project. As part of the experience, she delivered a presentation on the issue of gentrification from the perspective of a community activist.
NEW Leadership Pennsylvania is a weeklong “leadership and public policy institute designed to educate and empower young women.” Allegheny trustee and alumna Jennifer Daurora and the college’s Center for Political Participation helped to fund Rossi’s attendance.
“This was a really valuable experience, and now I feel motivated to get involved in local politics,” said Rossi, who plans to major in history and political science and minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies.
Throughout the week, students at the institute learned about the lack of female representation in politics. In doing so, participants had opportunities to meet with representatives in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, attend a networking event at the governor’s residence, and hear from notable speakers such as Dr. Rachel Levine, the state secretary of health.
Attendees of the program also met with Kristen Houser, the lead spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. In addition, they completed policy briefs on pressing issues facing society.
The NEW Leadership Pennsylvania institute is hosted by the Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics at Chatham University. Allegheny graduate Dana Brown, Ph.D., serves as the center’s executive director and an assistant professor of political science at Chatham.
Allegheny College students Carlos Sanchez and Jesse Tomkiewicz joined scores of college students from across Pennsylvania for Student Aid Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) in Harrisburg in April.
The annual event gives students from AICUP-member institutions a chance to meet legislators and encourage them to support private colleges and universities. Allegheny has been sending student representatives for at least the past six years, and Sanchez and Tomkiewicz have participated for two consecutive years. Sanchez is an economics major from Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Tomkiewicz is a philosophy and political science major from Freeport, Pennsylvania.
This year’s Student Aid Advocacy Day focused primarily on opposing a proposed $705 reduction to the maximum grant from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). On May 24, the agency’s board agreed to increase its contribution to the Student Grant Program in 2018–19 from its originally proposed $50 million to $100 million. The decision eliminated the need for any cuts in grant awards for the 2018–19 school year.
The Endeavor Foundation has awarded a $248,070 grant to Allegheny College to support the college’s Law & Policy Program, which provides opportunities for students to explore law and policy from theory to practice.
The Law & Policy Program blends students’ academic goals and preparation in international and domestic law and policy with on-going opportunities in career education, internships, study away, civic learning, and community programming. Through integrated courses and collaborative learning experiences, students engage and seek to address the critically important and complex issues confronting our communities.
“We are delighted to support the Law & Policy Program at Allegheny College,” said Julie J. Kidd, president of The Endeavor Foundation. “Through its emphasis on inter- and cross-disciplinary inquiry, learning outside of the classroom, intellectual risk-taking and deep reflection on diverse educational experiences, the program fosters students’ academic, personal, professional and civic development. This whole-person approach to education is critical for cultivating global citizens capable of ethically addressing society’s most pressing issues.”
Learning experiences offered through the Law & Policy Program include campus and community workshops, internships and other off-campus opportunities. For example, a contingent of Allegheny faculty, staff and students annually attends the International Humanitarian Law Dialogues, meeting with current and former international war crimes tribunal prosecutors at the Chautauqua Institution.
The Law & Policy Program also invites an array of leading regional, national and international scholars and other professionals to campus to present lectures and work directly with students each semester. In addition, these experts often contribute to one- to two-week “short courses” that give students new perspective on important topics such as the federal budget, criminal justice, energy policy and international humanitarian law.
Established in 2016, the Law & Policy Program is co-directed by Kristin Black, assistant director of career education and pre-law advisor in the Allegheny Gateway, and Brian M. Harward, Robert G. Seddig Chair in Law and Policy and director of the Center for Political Participation.
“We are most appreciative of The Endeavor Foundation’s support of the work by the faculty, staff and students affiliated with the Law & Policy Program, and we are delighted to know that the foundation shares our vision for the program,” Harward said. “We are confident that, with Endeavor’s support, the Law & Policy Program will continue to provide an important set of engaged learning experiences that enable students not only to explore academic and career goals, but also challenge them to put their ideas and energies into action.”
Founded in 1952 by Christian A. Johnson, The Endeavor Foundation is dedicated to efforts that foster independent thought, ethical understanding, deep appreciation of the arts and reverence for the natural world. The Endeavor Foundation has pursued these objectives primarily by supporting and catalyzing excellence in liberal arts education and related fields, and has supported the curricular and pedagogical development of a significant number of liberal arts colleges in the United States. The Foundation has also made major contributions to the arts, to projects that assist independent states in the formerly Soviet-dominated region of Central and Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, Estonia, Poland, Rumania, Slovakia and Ukraine, to Native American projects and to efforts that promote environmental awareness. Endeavor was instrumental in the creation of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and ECLA European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, Germany. Currently, the Foundation is planning an expansion into new areas of interest demanded by the challenges of an ever-more-complex world.
About Allegheny College
One of the nation’s oldest liberal arts colleges, Allegheny College celebrated its bicentennial in 2015. A selective residential college in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Allegheny is one of 40 colleges featured in Loren Pope’s “Colleges That Change Lives.” Allegheny College is known nationally as a place where students with unusual combinations of interests, skills and talents excel. In its 2018 rankings, U.S. News & World Report recognized Allegheny among the top six most innovative national liberal arts colleges in the country.
During the summer of 2018, Allegheny College graduating senior Leah Franzluebbers will be working among the high peaks in the Mountain West.
She is looking ahead to her summer job as a research assistant at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado. This will be Franzluebbers’ second summer in Colorado working at the world-renowned high elevation field station.
This year, she will lead the undergraduate research team assisting on a project designed to understand how shifts in the distribution of species associated with climate warming will affect the way an ecosystem functions. The study is funded by the National Science Foundation.
Franzluebbers’ responsibilities will include a mix of lab work, such as running water chemistry and processing caddisfly (aquatic insects) samples, and field work, including helping survey aquatic macroinvertebrate populations in study ponds, setting up and taking down experiments, and collecting insect and water chemistry samples from the study sites.
Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Scott Wissinger will help to oversee Franzluebbers’ work in Colorado. He also served as a faculty co-advisor for her Senior Comprehensive Project at Allegheny. “Her senior project in political science and environmental science focuses on how moral foundations theory might provide insight into finding common ground between the political left and right on environmental issues such as climate change,” Wissinger says.
“In addition to her interests in understanding the human part of the sustainability question, she is fascinated with understanding how natural systems work, which is the other side of the equation,” Wissinger says. “For example, it helps to understand how the machinery of nature works so if we need to fix it — goals of restoration and conservation ecology — or make sustainable the services nature provides — clean air, water, and food — we understand how the machinery works.
Franzluebbers will be among the more than 350 graduates receiving diplomas at Allegheny’s Commencement on May 12. She has double-majored in environmental science and political science, all while managing to play Division III women’s volleyball for four years and devote hundreds of hours to community service.
A circuitous — but fulfilling — path
It took Franzluebbers a couple of years at Allegheny to settle on her unusual combination of studies, however.
“I took a circuitous route to get to where I am today,” says Franzluebbers, who is from Wethersfield, Connecticut. “When I declared my major sophomore year, I was a biology major and a political science and German double minor. At a certain point, I realized that I wasn’t satisfied with just a minor in political science, and that I wanted to pursue a major in it. My time at Allegheny has been following my interests wherever they took me, and I am incredibly thankful that it has worked out so well.”
In early April, Franzluebbers presented her senior project at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago. “My research focused on finding the right way to reframe the argument for climate action in order to appeal to a broader audience,” she says. “The project merged my interests in political science and environmental science, and the conference was a great opportunity to gain experience presenting research to others and to see professional political science research.”
Franzluebbers also spent a year as a Center for Political Participation Fellow at Allegheny. “College students today are more politically engaged and knowledgeable than they have been in decades, and through our programming, the CPP gives students ample opportunity to engage in topics of local, national and international relevance,” she says.
Being a student-athlete helped her academically, Franzluebbers adds. “During the season, my schedule was essentially the same five days a week: class, work, practice, and then homework. This often helped because it provided a structure that cultivated good academic habits. Being an athlete also teaches the relentless pursuit of a goal — that it takes practice, planning, and conscientious work to achieve anything truly worthwhile.”
Franzluebbers is a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, including a year as its scholarship director. She also joined numerous honor societies, including Pi Sigma Alpha (political science) and Phi Sigma Iota (foreign language). In May, she will be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society.
Commitment to the community
Franzluebbers is proud of her four years of community service with E=MC2, a STEM-education program for Crawford County elementary school pupils. “I originally volunteered because friends of mine were also volunteering, but I soon volunteered more consistently and became the lead coordinator in my senior year,” she says. “Along with administrative duties, I help develop and teach the weekly lessons. The lessons engage the students, getting them excited about science while teaching them key scientific principles.”
One event that stands out in Franzluebbers’ Allegheny experience, she says, was the Battle for Bridget women’s volleyball match in October 2016. At the event, the team raised money for the Meadville Medical Center’s Yolanda Barco Oncology Center in honor of Coach Bridget Sheehan, who died in October 2017.
“Allegheny volleyball alumnae from all over came back to support Coach,” Franzluebbers recalls. “After the game we spent time with alumnae talking about lessons we learned from Coach Sheehan and swapping stories about preseason conditioning and long bus rides to games. It was a wonderful reminder that the community of Allegheny volleyball never leaves you and extends beyond the women you played volleyball with for four years.”
Her overall time at Allegheny also will be memorable, Franzluebbers says.
“I decided to come to Allegheny because I saw how the students here were not solely focused on academics, but on every aspect of their lives,” she says. “They were committed to excellence not only in the classroom, but also in extracurricular activities, in athletics, and in service. Students here are dedicated to cultivating their whole person, not just to getting the best grades — a quality unique to Allegheny compared with some of the other colleges I had considered.”
Franzluebbers’ advice to incoming first-year students: “Take every opportunity you can get to pursue what excites you, whether that be classes, clubs, or internships. Be relentless in your pursuit of your passions.”
Allegheny College junior Dalia Wellens came away from the recent Ready to Run Pittsburgh campaign training program not only with knowledge about seeking elected office, but also newfound confidence.
“Knowing that there are women who are pursuing careers in politics despite the male-dominated atmosphere is incredibly inspiring and helped me to see where I want to be in 10 to 15 years,” said Wellens, an environmental studies and political science double major from Seattle.
Ready to Run Pittsburgh is a bipartisan training program to encourage women to seek government leadership positions. Wellens and fellow Allegheny students Hayley Diemer, Dakotah Manson and Sarah Shapley attended the daylong program this winter at Chatham University. They received financial support to participate in the event primarily from Allegheny College trustee and alumna Jennifer Daurora, with supplemental funding from the College’s Center for Political Participation.
Shapley, a sophomore from Fairport, New York, attended Ready to Run to explore her own interest in politics and ways she could support other women running for office.
“I think being involved in politics is a crucial and necessary duty,” said Shapley, an international studies major who is minoring in women’s, gender and sexuality studies. “I particularly think that more women should get involved in politics and take a leading role.”
Shapley said Ready to Run gave her insight into how local politics work in Pennsylvania and how women are addressing the specific challenges they face while running for and serving in public office.
Wellens recommends the program to other women at Allegheny who are considering careers in public service. It’s a short time commitment and very educational, she said. “You also meet a lot of amazing women who have a wide range of experiences that you can connect with,” Wellens added.
Ready to Run Pittsburgh is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University. Allegheny graduate Dana Brown, Ph.D., serves as the center’s executive director and an assistant professor of political science at Chatham.
Shannan Mattiace, professor and chair of the Political Science Department at Allegheny College, has received a 2018–19 Fulbright Award to teach and conduct research in the South American nation of Chile.
Mattiace said she plans to live in Chile for five months beginning in February 2019.
“It has been my dream for decades to receive a Fulbright Award,” Mattiace said. “Almost 30 years ago I lived in Santiago, Chile, for three months as a State Department student intern and have longed to return. I will be returning as a scholar of Mexican politics and hope to share my interest and experience on Mexican politics with Chilean students and professors at the Catholic University of Chile in Santiago.”
The Fulbright Program, which increases mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Only about 500 teaching and/or research Fulbrights are awarded each year.
“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen by the Fulbright Commission to be a cultural ambassador to Latin America, representing the long-standing ties between North and South America. I so appreciate Allegheny College’s support of me in this project, which has been unfailing,” Mattiace said.
“The money that funds Fulbright awards is carved out of the State Department’s budget, so folks in Washington definitely think of the program as an effort at soft diplomacy,” said Patrick Jackson, Allegheny’s director of fellowship advising. “One of the reasons I think Shannan’s project was chosen is the way that she was able to successfully and convincingly draw a connection between the work she plans to do on the Chilean frontier with Bolivia and Argentina with interests that the United States has with regard to our own border with Mexico. Chile is trying to solve many of the same complex problems with indigenous communities and migrant workers that the United States and Mexico are trying to address. As an American specialist on Mexican politics, Shannan is in a unique position to study what is going on in Chile.”
Part of her time will be spent teaching and lecturing on immigration, Latin American indigenous and social movements, and Mexican politics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), Mattiace said. The other time will be spent doing research, comparing indigenous communities in a border region of Mexico with indigenous communities on the western Bolivian border with Chile, she said. Mattiace also plans to establish contact with Chilean indigenous colleagues in Santiago for a future book project, she said.
“Latin Americans know far less about their neighbors and their region than many of them know about the United States and the rest of the world,” Mattiace said. “As a U.S. scholar of Mexico and of Latin America, I hope to bring a distinct perspective on Latin American politics to Chilean students. The research project on indigenous communities is explicitly comparative, examining indigenous communities in two border regions — Chile/Bolivia and Mexico/U.S. — that have been successful in keeping violence low through self-governance and autonomy in contexts of illicit activity. As Latin America is the most violent region of the world, understanding how to reduce levels of violence and crime is of intense interest to a host of actors, including U.S. policy makers.”
Mattiace becomes the 14th Allegheny faculty member to receive a Fulbright Award in the past 20 years.
It’s one thing to have classroom discussions about the challenges facing democracy.
It’s quite another to have those same discussions in the country where democracy was born.
Allegheny College sophomore Jesse Tomkiewicz was one of 23 students representing 11 different countries who participated in the Athens Democracy Forum in Athens, Greece, in September. The goal of the annual forum, hosted by The New York Times, is to bring students together from around the globe at the American College of Greece to discuss the challenges facing democracy that year. Students work together in teams to write a white paper on the chosen challenges, this year, climate change and inequality.
The different backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints and ideologies of the participants — and how those differences shaped the discussions — was eye-opening, said Tomkiewicz, a political science and philosophy double major from rural Freeport, Pennsylvania.
“It was an incredibly diverse group,” he said. “That was probably the most valuable part of the experience, talking to people from all over the world.”
Being with like-minded students interested in talking about and shaping the future of democracy — in Athens, of all places — was exhilarating, he said.
“This is about going to a place where I’m with a dream team,” of fellow participants, Tomkiewicz said. “These individuals are not just really bright; these are some of the best students I’ve been around. It was truly intellectually challenging.
“I benefitted more than anyone at the conference because I (had) never left the U.S. Here I focus on the judicial process and political theory. I had no experience in international politics. … I learned more in those nine days (in Athens) than I would have taking a semester’s worth of classes.”
The trip was one of many firsts, including Tomkiewicz’s first plane ride out of the country. He swam in the Aegean Sea, attended a speech by former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and stood at the top of the Acropolis.
“It was enchanting being on top of the Acropolis, knowing that people like Socrates had physically been there,” he said. “I’m from a country where our history is a few centuries. We’re talking about a place that goes thousands of years back. Being in a place with that kind of history, that was really something.”
Tomkiewicz is already heavily involved in campus and local politics — he’s the vice president of Allegheny’s College Democrats and a field director for the Crawford County Democratic Party — but left the conference wanting to do more to further democracy, particularly for voters in rural places like his hometown.
“There has to be grassroots, bottom-up efforts” to address the challenges facing rural voters, Tomkiewicz said.