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The Common Experience Sustainability Film Series is back!

M.C. Tilton
January 29, 2016

Students who are interested in exploring environmental issues are in luck: The Common Experience Sustainability Film Series, hosted at the Athena Cinema, is returning for the spring semester to inspire greater environmental awareness. On selected Wednesday evenings this spring, bring a friend to watch documentaries and discuss their impact in earth’s shifting ecosystems.

The seed for the Sustainability Film Series was planted in meetings with the Common Experience Project on Sustainability and the Kanawha Project, a faculty and student program working to improve campus-wide environmental literacy.  The film series was born in 2012 when the University College, under the direction of David Descutner, utilized the Common Experience Project to focus on climate change.

“We want to reach all students on campus expanding their educational experience to understand the many complexities of sustainability, emphasizing the solutions as well as the challenges,” said Loraine McCosker, environmental studies outreach coordinator. “We want to foster them into impacting the world in an environmentally positive way.”

Film screenings are paired with panel discussions — usually including at least one faculty member, one student, and one community member who break down the local effects the film topics.  One of last year’s films on greening the public school diet was followed by a forum with a local seventh grade student, the Athens County superintendent of schools, the leader of the Food Studies theme in Ohio University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and others.

“We make it really diverse,” McCosker said. “This year, two filmmakers and an academic from South Carolina will be among our panelists. We want to gather as many focuses on the many aspects of sustainability as we can.”

Last year’s film series attracted more than 800 attendees to 13 films, with even greater turnout expected this year.

The series is funded through a collaborative effort among the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, University College, Athena Cinema, Alden Library, the College of Arts and Sciences Sustainability Studies and Food Studies themes, and the OHIO Office of Sustainability.

McCosker said the support of each entity is invaluable. “Athena Cinema has done a wonderful job promoting the series, and Alden Library has been great with making the films available after they’ve been screened,” McCosker said. “We’re delighted to work with them and receive their support.”

The films will be screened for free,at the Athena Cinema, located at 20 S. Court St. in Athens. Topics in this year’s film series will include in-depth analyses of food waste, seeds, cotton, coal and more.


Films in the Spring 2016 series include:

Bag It - Is Your Life Too Plastic? (Feb. 10)
Bikes v. Cars (Feb. 24)
Inhabit - A Permaculture Perspective (March 9)
Seeds of Time (March 30)
Angel Azul (April 13)

For full descriptions, click on the films in the Voinovich School calendar.