Visit to a Classroom

Bioethics 505: Water as an Ethical Medium

By Mary Loftus

Arri Eisen

Bryan Meltz

Professor’s CV: Arri Eisen (above) has a PhD in biochemistry from University of Washington Seattle and is professor of pedagogy in biology for Emory’s Center for Ethics and in the Graduate Institute for Liberal Arts. He is coeditor of Science, Religion, and Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Cultures, and Controversy. “I want students to work across disciplines on real-world, ongoing problems and to present results that could be applied on water projects around the world,” Eisen says.

Today’s Lecture: Assistant Professor of Organization and Management Wesley Longhofer—a sociologist who specializes in nonprofits, philanthropy, and corporate responsibility—consults with students on their class assignments evaluating water projects of The Coca-Cola Company in China, Kenya, and Indonesia.

Quotes to Note: “Environment impact is embedded in social constructs,” Longhofer told the class. “You can’t disentangle the social from the natural.”

“What are the financial returns of corporate social responsibility? Improved reputation? Employee retention? Given all the research, it’s amazing how many questions are left unanswered.”

“When I was in India to assess a water project there, they thought I was the sponsor and brought me a soda and flowers and proudly showed me a running tap. But when I said I was doing a study, they showed me the other four hundred taps with no running water.”

Students say: “I’ve learned a lot about the importance of water as it affects all aspects of life—public health, international relations, the economy, energy, and pretty much any sector or industry imaginable,” says Simon Mettler 12C.

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