Westies Full blown, Friday, April 4
Hello Prospective, Admitted and would-be-Westy Students,
The Admissions Office has told me that I can write about one of my favorite topics – the Westies! In your reading about F&ES, hopefully you have come across the wide array of Student Interest Groups (aka “SIGs”) that we have here at the school. SIGs span the spectrum of interests from energy to water to religion, to name a very few of the 29 active SIGs. If you can find two other people who share your interest, there is probably a SIG for that; they are as diverse as the student body itself. Don’t think there’s a SIG for your area of interest? Don’t worry! This academic year alone, students at F&ES started three new SIGs (Conservation Investing, Built Environment and the Environment, and Geosciences) to cater to the changing interests of our students.
While I am a member of several SIGs (CAFÉ, ConBio, Conservation Investing… I’m a joiner!), I am a co-head of the Westies, making it especially near and dear to me. Westies is interested in Western issues and the Western lifestyle – a description that is intentionally broad. Our members identify with the West in any number of ways. Some were born and raised in Arizona, California or Utah. Others have had the opportunity to work or intern with federal agencies, non-profits or organizations based in the West. Still others just feel the West to be their spiritual home – whether on the Colorado ski slopes or the wilds of Alaska. Our group’s academic interests are as diverse as their origins. We have folks that study fire ecology, National Park management, wildlife conservation, the role of the recreation community in climate change management, and more. Personally, I study ranching and sustainable beef, so I was thrilled to find a natural fit for my work within the F&ES community.
Westies is equal parts academic, professional and social. We are passionate about the West as a geography and the issues that affect it, but more often than not, it is the Western culture and lifestyle that really draws us. We try to recognize this in the events that we organize and sponsor. This is especially obvious this week in the amazing array of programs that we have scheduled!
Today, as part of an on-going speaker series on Beef and Grazing, we hosted Avery Anderson Sponholtz, the Executive Director of the Quivira Coaltion. Avery shared her experiences over lunch around engaging with the ranching community to build stewardship and facilitate conservation. Sorry you missed it – it was an excellent talk!
Friday (April 4), however, during the Admitted Students Open House, we have a whole suite of events scheduled! At 4:30 in Burke Auditorium, Doug Peacock will be speaking on “Global Warming & the Endangered Species Act: Delisting the Yellowstone Grizzly.” If you know Edward Abbey’s “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” then you are familiar with Peacock – he served at the inspiration for the character of Hayduke. His talk will cover his experiences living in grizzly country, the current political fire burning through their protection, and how climate change is changing the game.
Immediately after the talk, Westies is hosting our annual “East vs West Tug-o-War & Chili Cook-off.” During TGIF (“Thank God I’m a Forester!”) at 5:30 on the 3rd floor of Kroon, F&ES students from around the world will put their chili to the test, with prizes awarded for the best vegetarian and meat chilis. When the eating’s done, it’s time for tuggin’! We will head down to the Kroon Lawn with our giant rope to pit Easties vs Westies for the ultimate bragging rights. Come tug with the team that you identify with most – you could be a girl from Connecticut with an unreasonable affinity for cowboy boots and we’ll count you as a Westy (I am speaking from experience here).
We look forward to meeting all of the admitted students joining us this week – Easties and Westies alike! If there is a SIG that has caught your eye, don’t hesitate to reach out to the leadership. We love hearing from potential new members and always welcome ideas for future events that you’re excited about.