Feet to the Fire

Feet to the Fire is a major undertaking on Wesleyan’s campus to examine critical environmental issues through multiple lenses, from science to art with the goal of stimulating innovative thinking, promote collaboration and galvanizing campus and community participation.

Since it's conception in 2008, there have been 17 artist commissions by both visiting artists and Wesleyan faculty, which includes Asphalt Orchestra, Ann Carlson, Leigh Fondakowski, Alvin Lucier and Jill Sigman. The program has also supported five projects and commissions by Wesleyan students, five co-taught arts and environment courses and seven modules. The project has had a major impact in changing the beliefs, values and behaviors of our campus community. Student involvement in environmental groups is at an all time high, the College of the Environment is thriving, and the newly established Sustainability Office has expanded Wesleyan’s sustainability efforts.

As the program evolves to address the most urgent environmental concerns of our time, we are striving to catalyze creativity that will experiment with ways to address behavior change. We know that actionable changes are the only way that we can address the environmental challenges that are already upon us and are yet to come and that this can only happen as a mix of both prevention and adaptation. By inciting our campus and regional community, we plan to develop and support multidisciplinary projects that question boundaries, promote action and engage the community.

Our 2014-2015 Feet to the Fire programming includes:

  • A talk by playwright Leigh Fondakowski about her piece SPILL, commissioned as part of Feet to the Fire and inspired by the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on October 30, 2014.
  • The Nile Project, on April 10, 2015, features a dozen musicians performing collaboratively composed songs drawn from the diverse styles and instruments of the countries along the Nile Basin—including Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda—exploring themes of identity, regional solidarity, intercultural relationships both between and within their respective homelands, local music scenes, and living in the diaspora.
  • Riverfront Encounters festival, a community festival celebrating the Connecticut River on May 9, 2015 in Harbor Park, Middletown, CT
  • Kate Weiner ’15 and Wesleyan’s Environmental Organizers Network is creating a cookbook that will utilize the herbs planted in the Wild Walls, a vertical pallet gardens.

Two spring semester 2015 courses (Wesleyan undergraduate courses):

Have a project idea? What to know more or be part of Feet to the Fire? Contact Campus and Community Engagement Manager Erinn Roos-Brown at eroosbrown@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-5925 or Feet to the Fire Intern Becca Wilton at rwilton@wesleyan.edu.


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