Emory Report
March 21, 2005
Volume 57, Number 23


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March 21 , 2005
Water, water everywhere

BY katherine baust

The two-day symposium, “Water in Our Lives,” will be held Thursday, March 31, and Friday, April 1 in the third floor ballroom of Cox Hall, where scholars from Emory, Georgia Tech, and other Atlanta scholars and citizen activists will examine local and international water issues and how science and society can effectively interact to address such issues.

“We are holding the symposium to highlight Emory’s commitment to sustainability, encourage collaboration with Georgia Tech, and for the University to serve as a neutral ground to discuss local and global issues,” said Arri Eisen, biology senior lecturer and director of the Program of Science and Society.

The symposium’s first day will focus on local water issues, concluding with a 6:30 p.m. reception featuring keynote speaker Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough. There also will be a panel discussion with representatives from the Sierra Club, the Clean Streams Task Force and the DeKalb Soil and Water Conservation District.

Clough was chosen to keynote the event because of his hands-on experience with local water issues, according to Eisen. Clough previously served on Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s Clean Water Advisory Panel and has been particularly involved with the city’s hotly debated combined sewer overflow issues. He has been recognized for his teaching and research, and has a total of nine national awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Clough to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and in 2004 he was named to the National Science Board.
“On Friday, the symposium will move into a more academic context, and global water issues will be examined by philosophers, theologians, public health professionals and academicians, historians, and locally active political persons, in order to get all perspectives on water issues,” Eisen said. Beginning with a breakfast at 9:15 a.m., there will be multiple sessions throughout the day, led by several Emory scholars and faculty members.

In addition to this being the first water symposium held at Emory, this academic year also is the first time an undergraduate course has been taught on the topic of water in Emory College. The interdisciplinary course, “Water: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on a Vital Element,” is taught by environmental studies’ Anne Hall, a geologist, and philosophy’s Jack Zupko, and they will conduct a session on the “Teaching of Water.” Other discussion topics include “Water as Sacred,” “Water and Disease,” and “Water and Politics,” followed by a summary by Eisen. Lunch will be provided and there will be a discussion led by the session leaders.

The symposium is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. For the full schedule and to register, visit the symposium website at www.emory.edu/water.