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Students Pledge to Educate Others through Nature Experience

April 1, 2011

By Sister Mary P.

Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, held “Awakening the Dreamer/Changing the Dream” as a one-credit course last weekend. Twenty five students participated in the Symposium and squarely faced the issues of our day on the environment, spiritual fulfillment and social justice.

The students then self-selected a project for bringing awareness to middle and high school students, to the Salve Regina Community or to any group through an Outward Bound-type of experience in nature.

Sisters Nancy and Mary created the coursework and facilitated the Symposium experience. After taking a global footprint test, students were shocked to find that if everyone lived like they do, it would take 4, 5 and even 6 Earths to support their lifestyle. Many students commented that they were not aware that things are so serious and pledged to rethink many common actions and to educate others about the urgency of the crisis.

One student gifted the presenters with a link to a video by singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan. As she sings about theneeds of the world and trying to do her part, the screen fills with images of people eeking out lives under extreme poverty and how the costs associated with a commercial music video could be directed instead to providing food, water, housing, health care and education. The student realized these questions of priorities were exactly what we were talking about in the Awakening the Dreamer symposium.

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