In a time when “affluenza” seems to have peaked, authors John de Graaf and David Wann will share the dangers of the affliction with the Bearkat community during a series of presentations on Nov. 13-14.
“Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic” was the inaugural selection for the First Year Experience’s Bearkats Read to Succeed program, read by freshman students and integrated into their classroom experience.
The Affluenza Authors’ Forum is the main event for the Bearkats Read to Succeed program, according to Keri Rogers, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs for Student Success Initiatives.
“The events and dialogues with the authors will not only put the problem of affluenza into concrete terms, but will also share solutions and help members of the university community to envision solutions to the pressing social problems caused by unbridled overconsumption,” she said.
In the “Affluenza” book and documentaries, the authors argue that society’s rampant overconsumption and materialism is not just a problem but an infectious disease that is gripping our nation.
“They define the disease of affluenza as ‘a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more,’” Rogers said. “Affluenza, the epidemic of overconsumption, is particularly important at this time as we all consider our current lifestyles and what we need to do to conserve our time, monetary, and environmental resources.”
On Thursday (Nov. 13), the authors’ forum will kick off with a meet-and-greet, four presentations and a showing of two documentaries on affluenza.
From 8-9:30 a.m., students and faculty and staff members will have the opportunity to discuss the book with de Graaf and Wann during a “Meet the Authors Coffee,” in the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery. Participants can also have their books autographed during this time, Rogers said.
At 9:30 a.m., Wann will discuss the environmental, social, and health benefits of mid- and small-scale farming, as opposed to industrial agriculture, “which often depletes the soil, concentrates wastes, and delivers food that is evaluated by quantity rather than quality,” according to Wann.
“Alternatives in Agriculture” will be held in LSC Room 320.
At 11 a.m., both authors will discuss “The All-Consuming Epidemic” during a keynote lecture and book signing in the LSC Theater.
At 2 p.m., participants can choose between de Graff’s address of the role of consumer behavior on the recent Wall Street crisis and other “Consumer Behavior” or de Graaf’s discussion on the importance of having strong neighborhoods, which will be presented simultaneously.
“Consumer Behavior” will be held in LSC Room 320, and “Neighborhoods on Purpose and Revitalizing Communities,” will be held in LSC Room 304.
De Graaf and Wann will show the documentaries upon which the book is based from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the LSC Theater.
After the two videos are presented, the authors will answer questions and sign books for attendees.
Friday (Nov. 14) events include two lectures for radio-television students on “Making Television Documentaries,” discussions on the economy and wealth and a lunchtime lecture.
From 10-10:50 a.m., de Graaf will use a humorous approach in comparing American and European economic policies from 1972 until today “in terms of their effect on the quality of life, social equity, and long-term sustainability” during “What’s the Economy for Anyway?” in LSC Room 304, while Wann will focus on how Americans can reinvent their lifestyles to meet needs more directly with “Finding Real Wealth” in LSC Room 320.
Finally, a discussion about time famine and overwork in America and its effect on its citizens will round out the authors’ forum, from noon to 1 p.m. in LSC Room 320.
During the “Take Back Your Time Brown Bag,” participants are encouraged to bring and eat their lunches.
Initiated over the summer, the Bearkats Read To Succeed program is designed to introduce freshmen to “the power and joys of reading” while encouraging interaction with each other and SHSU faculty and staff members by serving as a common academic experience.
Members of the university and local community are invited to attend any of the sessions.
For more information or a detailed schedule of events, visit http://www.shsu.edu/~fye_www/events.html.
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