Office of Diversity Initiatives to host film screening

Administrators, clubs to take on Standing Rock, Dakota Access Pipeline debate on Nov. 7

Toni Pennello, Editor-in-Chief

Wilkes University and the Office of Diversity Initiatives, in partnership with the Environmental Club and Air & Waste Management Association, will host a screening of “Beyond Standing Rock” at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Miller Room.

The documentary details both sides of the issue surrounding the installation of the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The pipeline is an underground oil pipeline running from Northwest North Dakota to Nederland, Texas.

While cost-effective for oil companies, the pipeline is controversial due to the concerns of some regarding its potential environmental effects, and because of several Native American tribes’ assertions that the pipeline would damage their sacred burial grounds and water quality.

The screening will be followed by a discussion about the film led by Associate Dean and Professor of Environmental Engineering, Earth Science and Geology, Dr. Prahlad Murthy, and Professor of Political Science Dr. Thomas Baldino.

“I think it is important that students attend due to the differing views being offered,” said Kelly Egan, senior environmental engineering major and president of the Environmental Engineering Club. “There will be discussions of the environmental issues, political issues, and how they interact.”

Erica Acosta, the associate director of Diversity at Wilkes, says she hopes the screening will raise awareness among students about things taking place off campus.

“I feel is important for students to know what is going on beyond their surroundings,” Acosta said. “This protest (against the pipeline) and conversation has grown and I feel that this conversation has been lacking on our campus.

“I think students should expand their awareness and be able to engage in conversations of social justice issues,” she added.

“As professional entering into their prospective fields, it is important to understand that your knowledge must be balanced against the public’s right to have a say about what happens in their community,” Egan said. “Standing Rock is not the only place where professionals and citizens have clashed, but it is one of the most observed and documented in many years.

“It also shows that there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer. While one tribe strongly opposed having any oil products transported through their land, another tribe actually runs its own refinery,” Egan added.

Admission to the screening is free, and free snacks will be provided.

For more information, contact Erica Acosta at [email protected]