It is a comforting feeling to know that Furman is a liberal arts institution which cares about the environment outside of our own beautifully manicured backyard. Showing interest in other countries’ environmental hardships only impresses on the fact that Furman is a single entity trying to use its resources to make an impact and contribute to the international community. This past month, Furman sponsored the Chinese Environmental Film Festival. Eight films were featured, each in a different yet intentional format. There were over 400 in attendance, and collaboration within multiple departments on campus. I was surprised to see how such a large portion of the campus seemed to be involved in putting together the event.
As a freshman in the seminar “Debunking the Myths of China”, I felt especially connected to the Festival since part of my class included researching, advertising, and responding to the Festival. In addition being in the seminar centered on the Film Festival, my sister was also one of the contributing film makers for Food and Sustainability in China: Documentary Shorts from Davidson College. I was struck by how connected I seemed to be to this Film Festival. For a class project in my seminar, I used my video editing experience from working at the Shi Center as an AVD Fellow to edit the commercial meant to advertise the Festival to the student body.
I know that I was not the only student who felt connected to the Film Festival. Entire science classes, Asian Culture department heads, along with generally interested students attended the Festival, and together, learned something new about the environmental problems in China. I think all those involved with planning, organizing, and facilitating the Festival did a wonderful job of creating an interesting learning environment where people with varying degrees of knowledge could come together and interact without feeling unprepared or misinformed. It was an educational experience that I enjoyed because it allowed me the chance to learn about environmental issues, but also see different filming and documentary techniques, which I can apply to my Fellowship at the Shi Center.
The Film Festival seemed to connect many people and ideas. This may be most clearly visible from my perspective, but the Film Festival is the single organized event that I have felt very connected to while at Furman. I think the Sustainability, Asian Cultures, and all other departments involved worked together to provide an interesting and entertaining event for Furman students, our surrounding community, and the world at large.
By Kate Stevens