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Global Seminar on Water

By Brendon Deal '15
Horace Mann Fellows

November 4, 2011 – Water. What exactly is water? I didn't really know, not before this class at least. When I sat down in the first seminar at Antioch, I had a general wishy-washy, well-disposed feeling towards the stuff. It was good to drink and sail on, and you needed it to shower and grow stuff, and that was about it. I was almost half expecting a chemistry course, or maybe a lecture course, given the setup of the room and seminar format.

There's more to it than that.

I was soon swept up into information that I never could have imagined. Not only was the underlying nature of how water interacts with all our society explained in detail, (where exactly does all that runoff and waste water go?), but the importance of how it interacts with us on a personal and societal level.

That's not all either, in addition to learning about the chemical properties of water in the classroom, the class was taken out to areas to see where it was important that these properties exist, water treatment plants and the rivers that we effect.

Beyond even that we talked to experts in related fields about their work, people brought in to explain why what they did was important. These people brought to our attention real life issues and individual case examples of how water and waste are distributed and the kind of problems that come up when the process encounters difficulties or the people involved don't have a firm grasp on what they're doing.

So what will we do with this information? The seminar, right from the get go, told us that our final assignment was to create some plan, apply a plan or raise awareness of these issues. Then they've put the information and resources necessary at our disposal so we can apply what we've learned in a practical and impacting way.

In all my time of learning, I can never think of a class I've taken that gives me impacting, real-world information in a practical, applicable way and has me apply it in an effective way by the end of class. That's something unique to Antioch College.