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Water Conference Discusses Most Pressing Issues in the World Today

Quick Facts

 Register by Oct. 15 for early bird rates: $15 for students, $25 for faculty/staff. After Oct. 15, registration goes up to $25 for students, and $35 for faculty/staff.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – In a special issue dedicated to water, “National Geographic Magazine” estimated that by 2050 a third of the people on Earth would lack a clean and secure water source.

Not surprising: Winthrop University Professor of History Ginger Williams said that issues surrounding water—such as its uses, conservation and scarcity—are some of the most pressing issues we face in the world today.

These issues prompted Williams to help organize Winthrop’s first interdisciplinary conference, “Water in the World: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Access and Sustainability” Nov. 7 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on campus. It will begin with a keynote address from Sam Perkins, Catawba Riverkeeper.

More than 75 students, faculty, staff and researchers in the water field will “make it rain” with knowledge through lectures, performances, posters and discussions focusing on topics such as water quality, water scarcity, water as it depicted and used in the arts, water shortages in South Carolina, the rise of sea levels, and much more.

Topics cover virtually everything and appeal to those in the fields of history, the arts, sustainability, science, geography, architecture and more.

Here’s a sample of presentation topics and titles to “quench your thirst” for knowledge:

*"Water Quality and Biomonitoring in the Rio Lagarto in Costa Rica,” led by Peter Phillips, professor emeritus of biology
*"Healing, Livelihood, Frozen Lakes, Direction, Mutability: Water in Poetry,” led by Dustin Hoffman, associate professor of English
*"Water & Rome – From Aqueducts to Fountains,” led by Laura Dufresne, professor of fine arts
*"Local Government and the Great Drought: How Two South Carolina Cities Addressed the Water Shortage, 2002-2011” led by Professor of History Eddie Lee ‘83
*"Use of Water on Alexander the Great’s Campaign,” led by Catherine Chang, assistant professor of history

For a complete listing of events, visit the conference website.

The conference will also incorporate events across campus, particularly in the Winthrop Galleries.

The Rutledge and Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick galleries have featured exhibits focusing on water issues throughout the semester.
In the Rutledge Gallery, Man + Land + Water incorporates multiple artists

Meanwhile, artists Jared Charzewski and Colleen Ludwig transformed the upstairs gallery into a “plastic sea” with a dolphin’s skeleton perched above this apocalyptic vision. “LAST FISH ON EARTH: Our Happy Re-Granulated Future” is meant to represent the devastating effects pollution have on the ocean and its wildlife. In the future, the oceans have been replaced with the pile-up of plastic. The last remaining ocean creature is so rare that it’s on display above the ocean.

Other events include two documentary screenings followed by discussion on Nov. 4 and Nov. 11 in Dina’s Place.

“Watermark” uses high-definition video and aerial shots to point out how water terraforms the land and how far it reaches. Matt Heard, assistant professor of biology, will lead the discussion afterward.

“A Sea Change,” led by Marsha Bollinger, chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, follows history teacher Sven Huseby as he seeks to discover what’s happening in the oceans.

A whopping 18 colleges and departments are co-sponsoring the conference: the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Visual and Performing Arts; the Departments of Biology, History, Human Nutrition, Interdisciplinary Studies, Mass Communication, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Political Science, Social Work, Sociology and Anthropology; the environmental sciences, family and consumer sciences, and peace, justice and conflict resolution studies programs; the Office of Career and Civic Engagement; the Global Learning Initiative; the John C. West Forum; and Winthrop Galleries.

Early registration is $15 for students and $25 for faculty/community members through Oct. 15. After that date, registration is $25 for students and $35 for faculty/community members.

Tickets can be purchased online.

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