Hannah P., a sophomore at Millikin University, wakes up to her phone alarm at 7:30 A.M. She pulls on some leggings, a graphic t-shirt, some converse, and grabs her keys on the way out the door. She works, every morning, as an office assistant in the honors office. Her mornings are pretty laid back, she spends them intermittently filing documents and working on her schoolwork.
At 11:00, she clocks out of work and heads to her first class of the day. It is Philosophy of Law and fulfills a requirement for one of her majors, Pre-Law. This class explores the different philosophical approaches when considering court cases. Hannah chose to major in law because it is a concrete way in which she can change the world for the better. Her other major, Environmental Studies, is how she wants to focus her legal efforts. When I asked her what she hopes to achieve with her liberal education, she stated, “I plan on moving onto environmental law and working with different environmental organizations to decrease the impact that human functions have on the environment.”
After her philosophy class, Hannah goes to Logic and Critical thinking, which counts towards her Environmental Studies major.
When both her classes are finished, Hannah heads back to her apartment to work on some schoolwork. She gets a little bit of homework done and spends some time eating and relaxing. She is also taking an asynchronous class this semester, Written Business Communication, which is demanding because it requires her to schedule out when she will be completing her assignments. Hannah tries to get a start on her asynchronous schoolwork on Monday so that she is on track for the week.
Once recharged, Hannah heads out again for Moot Court with Dr. Robert Money. It is a curricular organization where students explore hypothetical court cases and their different approaches. Currently, the class is preparing for a competition where students argue both sides of the same case. Hannah particularly enjoys this class, because it gives her hands-on experience with legal cases. The Moot Court setting is an opportunity for her to critically look at legal procedures.
After Moot Court, Hannah heads back to her apartment to cook herself some dinner. This is her time to herself for the day, and she spends it unwinding. She listens to music, works on some homework, and heads to bed. Her day is busy, but she feels satisfaction in all that she has accomplished.
When I asked Hannah why she believed it was important that she was studying what she is, she said that “understanding how the way you’re living […] is crucial to healing the environment and solving the climate change crisis.” Mine and Hannah’s mutual advisor, Professor Roslyn O’Conner, also reiterated how students such as Hannah are key to solving the environmental tragedies our planet faces. “Our environment is suffering severely […] things are only getting better because we have students that want to step up and fix things.”
Studying how we can make the planet a better, more environmentally sound place is how we ensure a brighter future. A balanced planet where natural resources are available to those who need them and where wildlife can live without constant threat is where a truly peaceful society is born. However, the first step to reaching it is educating ourselves. When speaking about the larger implications of her work, Professor O’Conner said, “imparting the knowledge on how we can save the world and seeing that others are as passionate as myself about saving the world, it really gives me hope for the future.”
Maria Holloway-Racine – Student at Millikin University majoring in Acting and Environmental Studies. By studying two very different disciplines, I practice both my academic and artistic skills. When I am not rehearsing a scene, I am either creating captions for video lectures or sewing in the university costume shop. I am an eager person that hopes to explore all of my interests, creative or otherwise, at some point in my life. Nothing brings me greater joy than being outside.