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The Ultimate Global Harmony

Second annual Sustainability in the Arts festival at South East Technological University features Georgia Southern students

The second Sustainability in the Arts Festival took place last month across the Waterford, Carlow, and Wexford campuses following the launch by President of South East Technological University (SETU), Veronica Campbell, Ph.D. Several Georgia Southern University Honors Global Scholars were able to participate, showcasing their research and ideas about sustainability.

The annual Sustainability in the Arts festival at SETU is a celebration of creativity and environmental consciousness. Students and faculty come together to showcase their artistic talents while promoting sustainability practices. The event aimed to raise awareness about the importance of incorporating eco-friendly solutions in the field of arts and culture. Attendees enjoyed art exhibitions, live performances, and interactive workshops that highlighted the connection between art, innovation, and sustainability.

10/04/2024. Sustainability in the Arts Festival launch in SETU Waterford Campus.

As part of their background research before leaving for Ireland, Georgia Southern’s Honors Global Scholars visited a farm in Brooklet, GA, toured the Savannah Farmers’ Market with its founder Kristin Russell, and visited the Bland Cottage in the Georgia Southern Botanical Garden.  While in Ireland they visited three different farms with Jer O’Mahony, chair of the Wexford Irish Farmer Association.  It was lambing season, so the students were with sheep as they gave birth, and they watched as the cattle that produce Kerrygold butter walked in from the pasture. This kind of experiential learning shows how the Honors College uses real-world research, networking, and leadership from the very beginning of the educational journey of these students.

Throughout the festival itself, participants engaged in meaningful discussions on how the arts can contribute to a more sustainable future. Students presented on issues like water runoff capture, algal blooms, rural “food deserts,” zero waste food solutions, and other topics designed to highlight best practices.  By emphasizing the use of recycled materials, energy-efficient technologies, and eco-conscious techniques, the festival itself encourages a more environmentally friendly approach to artistic expression.

Robert Batchelor, Ph.D., professor of history in the College of Arts and Humanities, coordinated this particular project as the capstone for his Spring 2024 honors class and gave further insight on students’ accomplishments.

“In their outstanding public presentations in Ireland, the first year Honors College Global Scholars revealed how Georgia Southern is successfully pioneering a new kind of research and public-oriented education from day one,” he said. “As part of their broader Irish experience, students showcased their own research on sustainable farming in a poster session, in short presentations, in an interactive map exhibition, with a board game, and even in an origami workshop attended by over 100 students who learned about diabetes and other health issues related to corn syrup.”

Amy Potter, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Geography in Georgia Southern’s College of Science and Mathematics and was the leader of the Honors Global Scholars group in Wexford.

“We are so proud of these students. In addition to watching our students present on an international stage, a highlight for me personally was chatting with the former Irish Ambassador to the United Nations and co-author of the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she said.

The event fosters a sense of community and collaboration among artists, educators, and environmental advocates.

10/04/2024. Sustainability in the Arts Festival launch in SETU Waterford Campus. Photograph: Patrick Browne

“It’s terrific that the intensive build of the Wexford Campus and the Wexford network is yielding such positive results. We’re invigorated by walking the walk of high-impact pedagogy in this international venue. Our commitment is simple: To deliver evidence that going deep with teaching, research, and internships by means of Wexford contributes to our ambitions of student success and the enhancement of Georgia Southern’s profile,” said Howard Keeley, Ph.D., director of the Center for Irish Research and Teaching (CIRT). “As we acknowledge what our Honors Global Scholars delivered at SETU over the past two days, we are, in addition, celebrating our Waters College students. They’re also on the Wexford Campus, studying population health science under Dr. McKinley Thomas. For them, a central focus has been the data-driven Healthy Wexford Initiative, an important aspect of Ireland’s reform of its national healthcare system. This morning, the students engaged in the third in a highly interactive series of workshops with Healthy Wexford personnel. Specifically, they examined several community-driven, inter-agency programs that target disadvantaged communities. Our Eagles can take these examples back to their studies and careers in Georgia.”

Students are encouraged to think critically about how their creative endeavors can support environmental stewardship. By promoting sustainable practices within the arts, the festival inspires participants to become agents of change in building a more environmentally conscious society. Through this annual event, SETU and now Georgia Southern will be able to highlight the transformative power of the arts and humanities in driving positive environmental impact.

This international participation would not have been possible without the efforts of Hazel Ferrell, Ph.D. of SETU including Georgia Southern students in this event that she organized.

See the photo gallery below.

Last updated: 5/1/2024