NEW GRADUATION REQUIREMENT

You must build a toaster. From scratch.

Wondering if that got your attention.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the Pop!tech meeting last week – blogged about it quite a bit.

One of the best if not THE best talks in my humble opinion was by Thomas Thwaites who spoke of his experience making a toaster from scratch.  It was such a great talk that I did hunt down his book which I have finished (it’s a great, quick read and I’ll gift it to Dru C now).

The talk and the book got me thinking — what a great thing for a human ecologist to know?

Don’t you think? I mean, not a toaster necessarily, but some small appliance or other household accoutrement with unclear origins.

NOTE: This idea has not been discussed with anyone besides my wife who, incidentally, thinks it’s kind of peculiar.  Thoughts?

DC

2 thoughts on “NEW GRADUATION REQUIREMENT

  1. Hey Darron, How about gifting Thomas Thwaite’s book to none other that the Thorndike Library? Best, Jane

  2. Well, I think having to construct SOMETHING like a toaster would be a great graduation requirement, actually. Most senior projects are written, or some sort of independent lab research or compilation, unless they are senior projects in the arts. I feel like a lot of people take the distribution requirements to get them over with, and then focus on what they’re into – which is fine, but it seems like some element of interdisciplinarianism is lost here.

    I tried to be interdisciplinary my idea COA career, culminating my final term with a senior project that was a novel, playing a supporting lead (read large role with monologues and dialogues IN THE NUDE) in an original play that was a friend’s senior project at the same time, as well as working on a review paper on ethnobotany with Nishi that I’m hoping to submit for publication within the next year.

    But one thing I realise I really lacked at the school was hands on BUILDING STUFF. It’s fun to work with tools, and it’s a practical skill that’s very rewarding: to make something, to put together raw materials and create an end product. This September, while in the Atlantic Rainforest of southern Brasil, I got the chance to weave a basket from philodendron roots (an epiphytic rainforest plant that grows throughout South America). The roots were harvested traditionally, a process I got to witness: only the older roots are taken, and the harvest only happens once a month, during the waning gibbous moon, due to some obscure local folk tradition that essentially keeps them from overharvesting the roots. Afterwards, I got to remove the root husks and shaved them down into rounded, usable form, and let them dry for three days before finally weaving them into a basket which I now proudly carry around with me and will take back home to the US. It was an extremely rewarding experience, and now I regret not working more with my hands while in college – building and constructing and going through the process to obtain an end result that can then be used for some purpose.

    At the very least, I feel like it would be cool if in addition to the History Req, the Quantitative Reasoning Req, and the Writing Req, there was a Construction Requirement too. It would be fulfilled usually by an Arts and Design course, but I could see potential Environmental Science courses incorporating construction into their course of study as well.

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