Hartwick to Host Lecture, Response on Local Environmental Questions

March 31, 2011

Hartwick College will host the inaugural Dr. Arthur E. Rasmussen H'95 President's Lecture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5 in the Anderson Center for the Arts Theatre on the Hartwick College campus.

The keynote lecture will be delivered by Kate Watters, co-founder and executive director of Crude Accountability, and is titled "Thinking Globally and Living Locally: Communities and Corporate Social Responsibility." Following her presentation, guest respondents Orville Cole, president of Gastem USA; Dr. Mark Davies, Chair of the Department of Education at Hartwick College and Chair of the Oneonta 2030 Taskforce; and Rich Murphy, Otsego County Representative and member of the Natural Gas Advisory Committee, will reply.

The lecture and discussion will be moderated by Amy Forster Rothbart, Hartwick College Assistant Professor of Political Science. It is free and open to the public.

Watters' talk will discuss a number of environmental justice and human rights campaigns that have tried to address the inherent inequities of local communities attempting to demand justice and fairness from internationally financed projects impacting their environments, economies, and ways of life.  In Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, activists have struggled to make their voices heard internationally, and to understand and impact the multinational structures threatening their communities and ways of life.  Working in partnership with these local communities, Crude Accountability has put together a tool kit of strategies for empowering local activists to engage in meaningful ways with international corporations, financial institutions, and the governments that encourage and support globalization as an economic tool for "progress."

Cole will be asked to speak about the challenge to a corporation to act responsibly when being invited into a community by one segment of its members while encountering resistance from another segment. How does a corporation demonstrate a balance between their investor goals and the interests of the community? 

Dr. Davies will speak about the concept of pseudo-choice, the fact that neither choice in natural gas drilling is beneficial to the entire community. He will attempt to reconceptualize the issue as one of community sustainability through the development of a shared long-term vision and personal accountability.  

Murphy will speak from the perspective of government; what is its role in determining what is in the best interest of a community and, once determined, how does government protect a community's interest as well as what are the benefits and limitations of protectionism. 

Through the presentation of a comprehensive menu of perspectives, accompanied by robust and civil debate, audience members will think deeply about their answers to the following questions:

  • How does a community make a decision about what is in its best interest?
  • What, if any, is the role of government in protecting a community?
  • When a corporation partners well with a community, what are the benefits and limitations?
  • What, if any, are the costs of protectionism?

For additional information, contact Alicia Fish, Director of Donor Relations, at 607-431-4021 or

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.


Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030