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Through the spring of 2024, the College of the Liberal Arts’ theme, “Moments of Change: Creating a Livable Planet,” is focusing on the ongoing work of Liberal Arts students, faculty, staff and alumni in support of sustainable futures.


On the afternoon of Tuesday, April 11, the College of the Liberal Arts will host “Historical Contexts of Humans Shaping Their Environment,” an event for students, faculty, staff and community members to learn more about the theme and various perspectives related to sustainability.

A pop-up exhibit curated by members of Penn State Eco Action will be hosted by the Eberly Family Special Collections Library from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Mann Assembly Room of Paterno Library. Participants can view items from Eco Action’s archives — a collection of documents highlighting student activism at Penn State dating back to 1973, including Earth Day activities, protests and actions taken by students to further environmentalism on campus. Student leaders from sustainability-related student organizations will talk about their work and tell students how to get involved.

From 3 to 4:30 p.m. guests will be invited into Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, to hear a series of short presentations by Liberal Arts faculty who will examine sustainability throughout human history. The audience will have time to ask their own follow-up questions and converse with the presenters. The presentations will be moderated by Kathryn Salzer, associate professor of history and Gorman-McCourtney Early Career Professor in Medieval History, and Laurel Pearson, associate teaching professor of anthropology.

— Douglas Bird, associate professor of anthropology

— Jennifer Boittin, associate professor of French, Francophone studies, and history

— Sophie De Schaepdrijver, Walter L. and Helen P. Ferree Professor of Modern European History

— Kirk French, teaching professor of anthropology

— Faisal Husain, assistant professor of history

— Ann Killebrew, associate professor of classics and ancient Mediterranean studies, Jewish studies and anthropology

— Jacob Lee, assistant professor of history

— Richard Mbih, assistant teaching professor of African studies

The event is free and open to all.