Friday, January 22, 2010

GW's Evening with Friedman

Last night, acclaimed New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Friedman hosted "An Evening with Thomas Friedman" in GW's own Lisner Auditorium to discuss his latest book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded...and that's exactly what the auditorium was: hot and crowded. Friedman began the evening off on a light note, jokingly apologizing to GW's Class of 2013 for their assigned summer reading (his book) and making it clear that there's a reason "why Bear Stearns and the polar bear both went extinct at the same time."

He discussed the difference between sustainable and situational values and attributed his motivation for writing Hot, Flat, and Crowded to America losing its groove.

Friedman reminded the audience that ExxonMobil doesn't operate through Facebook but right in the faces of those it needs to influence--and that's what we, the audience, needs to do if we want to save our planet and start a green revolution. The author challenged that there has not been revolution without people getting killed and encouraged us to become invested in producing solutions because energy resource development will be the IT of our generation.

However, as a GW student, I can't help but notice the irony of his visit. Though student organizations are dedicated in turning GW green, the university has a historically poor record. Our 2009 College Sustainability Report Card gave GW a C+ overall and F's in both categories of endowment transparancy and shareholder engagement.

Hopefully, Friedman's visit has lit a fire in students to change our university's habits and begin our own collegiate green revolution.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check the 2010 report card for an update (, which features an overall grade of B, with A grades for administration, food & recycling, student involvement, transportation, and investment priorities. Sure, endowment transparency and shareholder engagement are still at F (which might be hard to improve as a private institution), but nonetheless that's still a lot of progress.