Campus FLC

Beneath the Green

Editor’s Note: This column was contributed by the Environmental Center. The Indy is not responsible for any views stated in this piece and the Indy content department is open to suggestions and requests for column space from other campus organizations. For more information contact or

Column by Angela Lewis

Greenwashing, a not so recent strategy by the advertising industry, has gained momentum since its arrival during the environmental movement of the late 60s. In line with the recent wave of environmental responsiveness to global climate change and the benefits of local food systems, ad agencies are back at it again, working to appeal to consumer sentiment. Greenwashing has been defined many times but its most broad explanation has been described as a superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is shown by an organization. Environmental groups also include the general idea that greenwashing is when a company appears to be green in order to receive benefits such as higher stock prices, more customers, or favored partnerships with green organizations.

It’s not uncommon to turn on the television or flip through a magazine and be bombarded with multiple ads that employ buzz-words like, green, eco-friendly, or all natural. These types of advertising campaigns often include broad claims that are unclear as to their exact meaning. There is no mention of whether the products are produced in a manner that emits little or no greenhouse gases, contains no harmful chemicals, or is packaged in biodegradable material. The use of wide-ranging terms that do not have an exact meaning is confusing and many times is misunderstood by consumers according to a survey conducted by the Federal Trade Commission.

Participants of this survey expressed a need for clarification.

One individual exclaimed a need for “clear, understandable, prominently displayed, and indicate an actual environmental benefit… not the wider general benefit included in the ad’s message, by such phrases as ‘environmentally friendly’.”

The study also documented that, “Of respondents viewing an “eco-friendly” claim, 57 percent believed the product is recyclable; 56 percent believed the product is made from recycled materials; 55 percent believed it is biodegradable; 51 percent believed it is made with renewable materials; 47 percent believed it is non-toxic; 43 percent believed it is compostable; and 36 percent believed it is made with renewable energy. The average value was 49 percent.”

This statistic makes it abundantly clear that there is definite customer confusion.

Further adding to the problem is the advent of the internet and other recent media advances allowing advertising deception to be more readily available to consumers, which have been denoted as “false claim interaction,” by the FTC. The FTC also struggles to monitor the high volume of ads that are produced, which in turn creates another obstacle in an already problematic system.

Currently definite regulations are still in the developing stages, yet there are many systems in place that are not comprehensive and do not take into consideration all of the indeterminate environmental obstructions.

Sadly, the FTC recommends that “To address the potential for consumer deception, and based on the comments by the Commission’s consumer perception study, the Commission proposes advising marketers not to make unqualified general environmental benefit claims.”

Due to this breach in the FTC’s ability to regulate current claims, it is up to consumers to take an active role to fully understand product declarations and their true impact on the environment.

For more information on the FTC survey visit .

Student Profiles: Jesse Gordon-Blake

Jesse Gordon-Blake

Jesse Gordon-Blake

Age: 22

Major: Biochemistry

Status: Senior

Jesse Gordon-Blake, a 22-year-old senior, is studying biochemistry and enjoys spending his time making his own music.

As a DJ, Gordon-Blake has been creating his own music for three years and pulls his inspiration from all genres of music, he said.

“I try to combine genres in order to create something new and unique—something that is not the norm,” he said.

When asked what he would describe his music as Gordon-Blake replied, “glitch-dub-break-step-bass music,” which pays homage to his interest in diverse genres of music.

Because biochemistry is a demanding major, Gordon-Blake tends to divide his time between school and music, he said.

After four years of taking advantage of the party scene at FLC, Gordon-Blake has decided to stop drinking for the busy semester ahead of him, as school is much easier with a clear mind, he said.

He loves meeting new people and helping people through problems, an attribute that is easily identifiable through his four years working in the computer labs around campus.

“I love meeting new people, talking to people and helping people, and I am down to chill,” he said.

Indy on The Street

Name: Twila Begay

Major:  Sociology

Hometown:  Gallup, NM

Q:  What have you learned from your living experiences through college so far?

A: I’ve learned not to live with a couple.  It gets too complicated.  I would try to at least live with

a friend or by myself next time.

Name:  Ali Bramley

Major:  Public Health and Gender and Women Studies

Hometown:  Centennial, CO

Q:  What have you learned from your living experiences in college so far?

A:  I live in Hermosa, and I shouldn’t have chosen to live so far away!

Name:  Charlotte Hough

Major:  Sociology

Hometown:  Paris, France

Q:  What have you learned from your living experiences in college so far?

A:  I’ve learned that the relationship that you have with your roommate is like no other relationship you’ll have in your life.  I’ve been very fortunate and all three of my roommates are three of my closest friends in the world.

Name:  James Gardiner

Major:  Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Hometown:  Ireland

Q:  What have you learned from your living experiences in college so far?

A:  As my first year in an American living situation I love having roommates and being able to roll out of bed and go to class.

Name: Nathan Villatoro

Major:  Philosophy

Hometown:  Arvada, CO

Q:  What have you learned from your living experiences in college so far?

A:  I’ve learned that location can make or break the situation with regards with money.  As long as you live near a bus stop, you’re golden.

FLC Has New Requirements For Graduation

By Tracy Jones

Changes have been made to the graduation requirements for seniors.

One of the changes is the form that seniors fill out for graduation. Previously, seniors filled out a petition for candidacy for a degree form, which is now an application for graduation, according to the instructional document provided by the Registration Office.

“Students no longer need to declare their graduation dates far in advance of the actual date,” said the new instructions.

“Instead, a new form, the Application for Graduation, will be due by Census Date of the student’s final fall or winter semester.”

“The form is available on the Registrar’s website and the Registrar’s Office on campus, Miller Student Services, room 160.”

It is vital that students are aware of this change in graduation requirements.

Fort Lewis College Senior Michelle Moore is about to start the new graduation requirements.

Moore was not aware of the old requirements, but was told by her advisor about the new steps she would take in order to graduate.

After she registers for her last semester she can began the application process, Moore states.

She will have to have the application completed within the first week of her last semester, said Moore.

Fort Lewis College Senior Rio Rogers says he’s known about the new rules for graduation petitioning seniors because he was sent emails first.

“In my senior seminar, my teacher constantly talked about it so couldn’t miss it, and they had a table outside for people to see which helped even more,” said Rogers.

Rogers immediately went to the Registrars Office to fill out the form after speaking with his advisor.

“The form you fill out is pretty simple,” said Rogers.
He applied before the new rules were made, his email let him know he had to do it another way, and then had to re-apply, claims Rogers.

All the students who applied the semester before as he did under the old rules, had to apply for the second time, stated Rogers.

“I just had to pay once; they said that if you did it the old way you didn’t have to pay again,” said Rogers.

The instructional documents are set out for students at the registrar’s Office in Miller.

On the bookmarks Registration has sitting on their counter, the title reads in big bold letters: “NEW RULES FOR FORT LEWIS COLLEGE SENIORS” and on the back side it reads: “WHAT DO I DO BEFORE I APPLY?”

“For an overview of the Application process and to access the Application for graduation form, go to the Registrar’s Office website and click on the Apply to Graduate link:,” according to the Registrar’s instructions for the New Rules for Seniors.

Dream Circles and Colin Smith

By Jessica Fairchild

“Dreams are the perfect therapy tool,” said Fort Lewis College counselor Colin Smith, who has been working at FLC and with dream circles for about thirty years. Prior to this, Smith worked as an English and Psychology professor at an alternative high school, as well as taught dream psychology classes in the early 80’s at FLC. I met with Smith to discuss the importance and effects of the exclusive dream circles he facilitates weekly on campus.

Q: What are dream circles?

A: Most importantly, they are a safe environment for students to come partake in group therapy. Since dreams tell us where we are at present, as well as what’s coming up, they are group meetings designed to assist interpersonal growth.

Q: Why are dreams the perfect therapy tool?

A: Dreams tell stories, our personal narratives, helping us confront conflict in the unconscious and solve problems to make us interested and interactive in our lives.

Q: What purpose do they serve?

A: Generally speaking, people don’t have good social and emotional education systems. The dream circles help students get cognitive insight for social and emotional development. They are a laboratory for people to practice and understand symbols, which are vital to use because they tell us what we feel. In a culture that is outer world oriented, rather than interpersonal, the groups address this shortcoming.

Q: How do students get involved?

A: Most of the time, students hear about the dream circles and come find me or are referred to me by faculty who are familiar with the therapy tool. But it is also a very serendipitous endeavor.

Q: How often are the dream circles held?

A: We host two different group sessions, one on Tuesdays and the other Fridays. There are eight students per group plus myself and one graduate student (the counseling center is also a training facility). Every student is screened to maintain a safe group setting.

Q: Are the circles successful?

A: Yes very! They are tested and researched by the graduate students who are involved. We also teach students how to interpret, record, and retain their dreams for future life assistance.

A big thanks to Colin Smith for his time and help.

  • FLC Student Opportunity Summit

By Ayla Quinn

The third annual Student Opportunity Summit (SOS) was held Tuesday Oct. 11th.

The ASFLC Student Government holds this event to give students a chance to speak to their senators.

The goal of the SOS is for the Fort Lewis College community to vote on their priorities as a student body.

The ASFLC Student Government has put together a Strategic Planning Committee, which assembles goals for the next five years at FLC.

Issues addressed at the SOS will then go to the committee,which is made up of faculty, staff, students and community members of Durango.

The committee meets Nov. 4th and 5th.

Mark Mastalski, the director of the leadership center, views the SOS as a tangible, big picture idea that we can do something about.

The SOS is not about the outcomes, but the process within the next five years at FLC, Mastalski said.

The SOS has accomplished getting the Rocket Compost System, which will help FLC become a more environmentally friendly campus.

Student Body President Natalie Janes and Vice President Mike Kelly directed the SOS, by displaying questions on a power point and allowing members of the audience to voice their priorities.

Janes posed the question, “What can we improve on within the next five years?”

The issues discussed at the forum ranged from, what FLC should look like in five years, to strategic strengths and weaknesses the college has, and recommendations to enhance the learning experiences of students.

For two hours the Vallecito Room was alive with conversation, ideas and hopes for FLC’s future.

Suggestions were made regarding improving FLC workshops, mentoring and internships focusing on real world training, sustainability as part of the curriculum and college operations, and encouraging student involvement through teachers, advising and advertisement.

Students shared their concerns about the money the college is spending and expressed their opinions to make sure FLC was using funds and resources properly.

The SOS was also filled with expressions of strategic advantages from the FLC community, such as small class sizes, location, cultural diversity and the size of the college.

The SOS is an opportunity for students of FLC to voice their priorities to the ASFLC Student Government.

Reader’s Perspective Disclaimer: The Acerbic Critic has views expressed solely by the author and are not the views of The Independent.

  • The Acerbic Critic

By: Nicholas Kanelos

Teachers Without Borders recently hosted documentary film Director and Durango local, John Sheedy to show his latest film, The Tijuana Project, at Fort Lewis College.  Filmed on location in Fausto Gonzales, a decrepit neighborhood sprouted within the Tijuana Municipal Trash Dump.  Sheedy portrays life amidst the mountains of garbage through the eyes and voices of the inhabitants and children.  The film is produced in the typical indie filmmaker style of handheld cameras that captures the gritty smelting of visual engagement and emotional intimacy.  His narrative is appropriately unbiased, but relies heavily on the Q&A of the local children or their parents.  Sheedy produced the film over two years after meeting an American teacher, David Lynch, who devoted his life to building Fausto Gonzales’ first community school.   When asked what was the greatest obstacle to filming, Sheedy replied that the physical endangerment was by far the most hazardous.  The ever charge of dump trucks, drug-related crime, and the toxic waste within the environment posed a constant and unyielding challenge to filming.  The Tijuana Project can be viewed at the Reed Library’s DVD collection. John Sheedy is currently living in Mexico with his new family and working on creating the Festival Internacional de Cine Álmosa Mágico, the first film festival hosted in Álmosa, Mexico.

  • Engineers Without Borders: Ecuador and Laos

By Shaina April Nez

Fort Lewis College’s student organization the Engineers without Borders (EWB) ventured out to Ecuador and Laos to help villages develop a working water system in their communities this past summer, from July to August.

Don May, director of Engineers without Borders and professor of Engineering, along with Laurie Williams, co-director and also a professor, and a total of 33 student members went on this trip to aid and participate in implementing water systems of these progressing communities.

The Engineers without Borders Village Aid Project at Fort Lewis College is a program that gives students the opportunity to work on engineering related projects in the developing world. Students study, organize, design and assist in the construction of projects that improve the quality of life in poverty stricken communities around the world.

In order for Fort Lewis College’s EWB chapter to help and be a part of the project, they had to be connected with the Engineers without Borders USA national organization.

Laurie Williams, co-director of EWB, speaks on the process of how their chapter first got to work with such a project.

“The communities write proposals to the national organization asking for help, then a college chapter that wants to participate in a trip can look at the list and pick from there based on their expertise or interest they want to work with; that’s how we got our start but every year we would always go back to the same area, so now the people of that community knows we’re coming so we don’t have to go through the same start-up process,” she said.

Williams also mentions that workshops, meetings, and a class of EWB are encouraged to participate in, in order to take part in the trip.

Since the organization is non-profit, a lot of other student organizations like the Rotary club for instance, and community members of Durango donate to the EWB for their trips, and of course the enormous amount of time of EWB fundraising on their own and dishing money from their own pocket.

Ecoli, a bacterium that normally resides in the human colon and in animals can become a serious contaminant when bound in a food or water supply. E coli was recently found in the village’s water supply, which led EWB to implement a new water system by adding a filtration system to their spring and running a pipeline to the community.

John Max Henry, a former member of EWB and a translator during the trip to Ecuador, spoke on the living conditions of Gallrumi, Ecuador, and how the community is still managing to remain tolerable.

“The village is full of waste from livestock and it’s almost cultural to the community to always wear boots to keep from being contaminated from the waste, these people have so little and yet they are the happiest and appreciative people in the world,” he said.

Rachel Medina, President of the Engineering without Borders, also mentions how the trip not a way to venture into another country, but a teamwork to gain knowledge without the need of skills.

“Besides learning to work on a project and gaining skills from it, just having an eye-opening, life changing experience is something words cannot describe on a type of trip like this, we’re there to help and assist a community in need and that is more different than just taking a trip anywhere and spending money,” she said.

This non-profit organization started in 2004 along with the trips to aid helping communities and has been going strong for seven years.


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