Earth Day at Lehigh, April 22, 1970

Earth Day as we know it owes its creation to former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson. A fitting byproduct of the Environmental Movement in the 1970’s, Earth Day promotes environmental awareness and falls on April 22nd each year.

Nelson took advantage of a political atmosphere ripened by the Teach-in movement, Vietnam War protesting, and the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, which dumped an estimated 80,000 barrels of crude oil into the Pacific. Remarkably, the Day achieved overwhelming support, drawing crowds of thousands all over the country to demonstrate environmental protection and mindfulness. College and university students did not waiver in their support of environmentalism either, sending a wave across the nation.

This wave of support made its way to Lehigh University, with the first Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970 being documented in the Brown and White student newspaper archives. Lecturers and activists visited campus and took a rather drastic tone, the front page reading: “Ecology Ethics Needed for Survival on Earth.” The message was to change our mindset and change our ways of life to accommodate an advancing world.

Humans, unlike most other species on Earth, feel entitled to manipulate and damage the environment for our benefit. “Most animals are born with an inherited wisdom” to not ruin the environment, professor and ecological pioneer Francis Trembley explained. Something needed to change in order for the human race to survive.

The week also featured other significant speakers, but Earth Day was met with some opposition that may still be relevant today. Many argued it was just a day to scare or cast a pessimistic shadow on human development. Still others saw it as mostly symbolic, not achieving any real revolution.

A student writer at the time expressed his opinion of Earth Day in a piece titled, “Earth Day Approach Wrong.” To summarize, pollution is advantageous in a capitalistic society; it’s profitable because being green and environmentally aware doesn’t make money. There’s no incentive. And, all the while students are being informed to change their ways, to take better care of their environment, but the government and large corporations are those who really should be taking notes. The problems of environmental pollution are more ingrained in the way society operates, the way resources are allocated and the way technology is utilized.

As Lehigh celebrates Earth Day again in 2017, it continues a long standing tradition. An Earth Day fair is scheduled to take place on the University front lawn, and the month is filled with other various events, but the questions posed in 1970 remain. And, matters are growing more complex with budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and climate change denial.

That’s no Moon!: The Story of Endor and its Link to Modern Culture

The Endor magazine, published at Lehigh University from 1959 to 1966, has had a profound effect on campus culture into the modern day. It also links Lehigh to some of the biggest names in popular culture. From faculty members who changed their fields to parents of actors, the Endor saw its share of famous names. It started as a publication “to fulfill the need for a literary journal on the Lehigh campus.” The magazine, which focused on more serious art and literature, started a movement for the arts on Lehigh’s campus during a time when the arts were looked down upon by a large majority of engineers on campus.

With its inception in 1959, Endor: A magazine of the arts was created to give students an output for their creativity and avoid the downfalls of the “staff-written” literary magazines of previous years. It also sought to avoid becoming a humor magazine, distinguishing itself from previous Lehigh publications such as the Burr. By the second issue in 1960, it had already gained traction on campus due to its wide variety of writers and represented fields. One article in the Brown and White reported that “When a finance professor (Eli Schwartz) contributes a witty poem, when an authority on 17th century English literature (Ray Armstrong) contributes an excellent short story, and when a music professor (Jonathon Elkus) contributes a provocative essay on contemporary jazz, then, indeed, Endor fulfills a most important function of a university – the extracurricular exchange of creative thinking and artistry.” This began to bring back the mission of a well rounded “gentleman” engineer that Asa Packer had envisioned when he created Lehigh University.

The Endor acts as a reminder of many famous names in Lehigh University history. Mentioned in the above quote, Jonathon Elkus was a music professor at Lehigh who became well known as a concert band composer and director. He eventually won the Edwin Franko Goldman Memorial Citation for his work. Elkus is also remembered for his work as the Director of the Marching 97. Another famous member of Lehigh’s past who is immortalized in the Endor is Professor James R. Frakes, assistant professor of English. In 1961, when the Endor was having a staffing problem, he stepped up as the faculty adviser for the magazine. James Frakes is probably better known to many as the father of actor Jonathan Frakes, who most famously portrayed Commander William T. Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is interesting that he would publish in a magazine named Endor, which is now known as a moon in the Star Wars universe instead of the ancient village in Galilee for which the magazine is named.

The Endor was able to increase the presence of the arts on campus despite its end in 1966. Poetry readings were increasing in attendance and prose reading was becoming more common. Professor Frakes was known for reading “poetry that conveys a ‘beat attitude of revolt and protest'” and believed beat or ‘beatnik’ poetry would be representative of the ’60s and 70’s. This brings us to the modern Lehigh setting, where open mic nights, concerts, and performances of all kinds can be found on campus and in Bethlehem. It is regrettable that the publication of such magazines will never have the appeal it once had due to the rise of the Internet. However, we now live in a world where all ideas and pieces of art can be shared despite there being fewer formal outlets, which may mean that our campus is looking forward to a cultural golden age.

All publications of the Endor are now available alongside Lehigh’s other student publications on the Internet Archive. Endor will also soon be available on the Lehigh Preserve.

 

Origyns and the History of Women at Lehigh

The history of women at Lehigh is one full of stories of struggles and victories, tragedies and comedies, and exclusion and inclusion. This history (which can be found at this link: http://www.lehigh.edu/~in40yrs/history/) tracks the efforts of women on campus to advance the goal of equality between the male and female genders. In 2001, 31 years after the decision to allow women as undergraduates, the Origyns magazine was released. The publication gave a voice to the women on campus to expose the issues impacting them, from rape to racial discrimination to sexuality. It was published yearly from its inception in 2001 to 2012.

T he first issue had a dedication “for those who have endured physical mental or emotional abuse.” This set the publications tone to be one for helping those women who have faced hardship and discrimination and give them a chance to tell their stories. Eleven years of stories, essays, poetry, and art are kept within the volumes which are now kept within the Lehigh Special Collections. It is hoped that the publications can continue to be of use to those in Women’s and Sexuality Studies along with those who wish to learn about the evolution of feminism on Lehigh’s campus.

 

Digital issues of the Origyns are archived in and accessible through the Lehigh Preserve: http://preserve.lehigh.edu/origyns/

Lehigh’s Paisley Magazine, 1966-1970

As you may already know, Lehigh University’s student newspaper, The Brown and White, is one of the most long-running student publications in the country. This is truly an accomplishment, as most student publications ultimately evaporate away as quickly as they come.

Other than The Brown and White, Lehigh has been no exception to this phenomenon. Among the valiant, innovative, and short lived are publications such as The Lehigh Burr (1881-1934), The Lehigh Bachelor (1940-43), The Lehigh Goblet (1946-48), and Paisley (1966-70). All of these publications have been digitized and are now available in their entirety for viewing or download through the Internet Archive

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Pictured: Cover page for the first volume of Paisley

The first installment of Paisley establishes its mission. First, to provide a medium for student expression. Second, to promote a collective class conscience, making students cognizant of “their present and future potential in an impersonal world”. And third, to entertain. (Volume 1. Pg. 4)

Paisley is filled with student editorials, poems, and short stories, amassing an intellectual bank of creativity, comedy, and literary art. Upon its debut, it seemed Paisley could offer only positives to our campus community, so how could a publication with so much going for it crumble to its demise in only 4 short years? The answer, Paisley was no anomaly in student publication. Many have come and gone with the same good intentions, and this example shows just how hard it really is to ignite an idea and even more so to keep that flame burning.

As we’ve learned from The Brown and White, survival requires consistency, more specifically consistent contributors and readers. Engineering themed journals, student magazines, artistic pamphlets you name it, Lehigh has seen them all. Though in the end, no one is left to fill the void created by those students graduating. Simple as that. Then years, perhaps decades later, the same thing will happen again.

However, the point here is not that student publications serve no purpose if they don’t last, but that it takes a certain group of students to bring these ideas to life in the first place. Regardless of how long a publications last, they all become a part of our shared history. What they create contributes to the readers of the time but also to future beholders.

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Pictured: puzzle from volume 1. See if you can solve it!

poemStudent publications also provide insight into the character of the student body at the time of their publication. If the editors of Paisley believed they were writing to invigorate an “impersonal world,” what does that make us now? You guessed it, no different. In fact, we are probably more detached than ever. Sending a snapchat or posting a tweet will undoubtedly be the mode of expression among today’s students; certainly not a deeply thought provoking piece of poetry. Indeed times have changed, however, human nature has not. We continue to ask the same questions as those before us. What is the purpose? Why are we here? What is love? Happiness? And considering college is supposed to be the place where students decide their future and who they want to become, I figure Lehigh is probably swimming with inquiries such as these.

Whether the pen is put to paper this year or not, student publications to come will continue to be a manifestation of beliefs, values as a student body, and a contribution to purposeful existence. The catch is that they won’t write themselves. For there to be things to read, there must be those who write. All it takes is one student with an idea and the diligence to make it happen.