An old adage states, “You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself.” The 2008-09 academic theme takes that message to heart. We seek to strike the “balance” between the needs of the individual and the demands of the community.

We live in paradoxical times. Environmental problems such as global climate change threaten the very existence of life on Earth, while humankind faces threats from international conflict, economic uncertainty, political hostility, and public health pandemics. Yet for many of us, our day-to-day lives remain largely unchanged. Perhaps the time has come to examine the true costs of sustaining our way of life.

Sustainability requires a search for balance within ourselves, in our relationships with other people, and in our interactions with the natural world. To sustain ourselves, we must harmonize mind, body, and spirit; pair activity and rest; address physical and mental challenges; and devote appropriate time to both work and play. To sustain our communities, we must take our place as active, informed, and engaged citizens participating in decisions that impact our collective quality of life.

The “Balance” theme will cultivate civic engagement, examine the prospects for creating sustainable communities, and support groups that foster physical and emotional stability. We also will address issues embedded in the creation of a just, equitable, and sustainable world for all people, and integrating human aspirations with the wellness of the environment. The theme will be explored through academic courses, student life activities, lectures and presentations, museum exhibitions and activities, connections with programs at Pine Lake, and joint projects with a variety of campus and community groups.

Five key areas of the theme are fun and wellness, spirituality, work and life, civic engagement, and sustainability. Activities and events within these subthemes will be centered on work and play, study and reflection, as we engage the Hartwick community in a broad examination of three questions:

  • How do we, as individuals in a living/learning community, maintain our intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical health?
  •  In what ways can we embrace diversity and form vibrant societies capable of promoting the sustainable future of our local and global communities?
  • How can an active and civically engaged college community contribute to solving campus, local, regional, national, and global problems?

Theme Coordinator:
Brian Hagenbuch, Pine Lake Institute Director

Theme Authors:
Donna Anderson, Coordinator of Yager Museum of Art & Culture
Jessica Henson ’10, History/Museum Studies
Lori Collins-Hall,  Associate Professor of Sociology, Department Chair

Additional Committee Members:
Edythe Quinn, Associate Professor of History, Department Chair
Jeanne-Marie Havener, Associate Professor of Nursing, Department Chair
Peter Blue, Pine Lake Resident Manager
Dan Morse, Pine Lake Program Coordinator