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Presentations

Fourteen English department faculty members, graduate students and alumni presented at the fourth annual Writing Across the Peninsula (WAP) Conference at Michigan Technological University. The theme of the conference was “Revolutionary ‘Riting: Working-class Perspectives and the 1913-1914 Michigan Copper Strike.” Presenters and their titles were:

John Miner, “Sandburg’s Legacy”; Linda Sirois, “Striking It Rich: Academic Service Learning Yields Wealth for Community Partners and for Students”; Josh Brewer, “Representing Craft-labor and Laborers in Creative Non-Fiction”; Erica Mead, “Revolting Against Reluctance: Supporting Students and Fostering Community during Bay College’s Long Night Against Procrastination”; Brooke Boulton, “How Deep Do We Dig to Hear You, Winona?: A Poetic Interpretation of the Effects of Paternalism in Winona, Michigan, 1913-1918”; Rebecca Pelky, “We are Desire: The Comodification of Labor in Cristina Rivera-Garza’s Terzo”; Zarah Moeggenberg, “Mining Ekphrastic Community in the Composition Classroom”; Laura Soldner, “Mining Text: Facilitating Students’ Access to Complex Readings”; Amber Kinonen and Caitlin Kirchenwitz, “Working to Keep Up: Supplemental Instruction in English Classrooms”; and Heidi Stevenson, Cameron Contois, Lynne Johnson and Jamie Kuehnl, “Blue Collars in Ivory Towers: Working Conditions of Composition Faculty in Higher Education.”

Rebecca Budesky, an undergraduate student in Communication and Performance Studies, presented a paper she co-authored with Jessica Thompson (CAPS) at this week’s National Communication Association Convention in Washington, D.C. The paper is titled "How do you talk to your friends about climate change?" It explores how Americans understand and talk about climate change with their peers, particularly friends and family. These interpersonal sources have historically been trusted more than scientists and politicians when it comes to climate change information.

To explore the accuracy with which friends talk about climate change, Budesky and Thompson conducted nearly 360 interviews across the country and coded more than 175 of the responses. As expected from the literature, most of the respondents knew very little about climate change (1.88 on a 5 point scale) and were only slightly better equipped to talk about climate change (1.93 on a 5 point scale). Most interviewees talked about climate change in terms of weather and environmental change. Less than 15 percent of respondents talked about climate change as being human-caused (14.5 percent), suggested that they had noticed manifestations of a changing climate (11.71 percent) or noted the importance of the topic (6.6 percent). They concluded that communication practitioners need to enhance the fodder for interpersonal conversations about climate change by providing audiences with accurate, relatable sound bites and meaningful frames to help people speak with friends and family about climate change causes, consequences and opportunities for social change.