W&M Digest for Feb. 10

The Virginia Gazette
William and Mary news digest — Feb. 10

NASA head gives 2016 Charter Day keynote speech

William and Mary graduate Ellen Stofan served as the keynote speaker at William and Mary's 2016 Charter Day ceremony, an event that celebrated the university's 323nd birthday. The public ivy in Williamsburg was chartered in 1693.

Stofan told the crowd of thousands that work NASA does in space can help address some of the most pressing challenges facing Earth, and science needs the talents and contributions of a diverse group of people to help tackle those issues.

"NASA isn't just about space exploration and humans on Mars," NASA's chief scientist said. "We're about making life better here at home through endeavoring to do great and challenging things."

Stofan – who shares her alma mater with her husband, two children and a nephew (who's a current student) – said William and Mary nurtured her love of learning and will be part of the fabric of her life for "all time coming," using a phrase from the university's charter.

In addition to speaking, Stofan received an honorary degree along with professor of government emeritus Jack Edwards, university officials said.

William and Mary Chancellor and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, a 1965 graduate, also participated in the celebration. Gates said Charter Day marks a time when two monarchs united with colonists around the belief that higher education could do "great good in the New World."

Business professor wins grant to study 'consumer wisdom'

For the last six months, associate marketing professor Michael Luchs has traveled the country conducting fieldwork on "consumer wisdom."

Thirty-five scholars from across the globe were selected to study how the human desire for a better life can be achieved as part of a two-year "Enhancing Life" project, in collaboration with the University of Chicago and Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.

As part of the project, Luchs — the only business school professor in the group — will adapt two of his current courses to reflect themes about the life enhancement as it relates to wise consumption. He will also collaborate with other scholars in three residency seminars and develop a series of articles related to his work, university officials said.

"Sustainable consumption is the purchase of goods and services that are more environmentally or socially benign," said Luchs. "But there is a growing recognition that it's not enough to merely buy products that are less harmful."

According to Luchs, "wise consumers" are able to make purposeful decisions about sustainability that they believe will not just help the planet, but will actually enhance the quality of their own lives.

Community groups meet, talk about collaborative work

The Office of Community Engagement hosted its first "Collaborate to Educate" conference, which included students from a variety of local educational and aid programs.

Speakers and students alike gathered at the William and Mary School of Education Saturday, all with a shared passion for exceptional students who deserve additional educational opportunities.

Students from Lafayette Kids, Project Phoenix, Pineapple Kids, College Partnership for Kids, Merrimac Mentors, Campus Kitchen and Head Start united to learn and share ideas on how to help the low-income families they serve.

"Our hopes for C2E were two-fold. First, we wanted members of different education programs to learn more about each other's organizations and explore possibilities for collaboration," said Sherry McKinney, coordinator of education programs for OCE.

In addition to finding ways to collaborate, students had the opportunity to hear from dedicated educational professionals from the area.

The event, which featured opening sessions, two different breakout sessions and a group reflection, brought together 40 students from the several on campus education-based clubs.

Compiled by Education Reporter Michele Canty, who can be reached at (757) 345-2341.

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