Dr. Olivia Aguilar has been selected as the speaker for the 2021 Daffodil Lecture this spring. The lecture is an annual Commonwealth Honors College event focusing on an environmental issue chosen by the lecturer. It follows the Honors College tradition of the fall semester planting of daffodil bulbs around the Honors campus, and is timed so that the lecture is held when the daffodils are blooming. The subject of this spring's lecture is "Seeking the justice in environmental and sustainability work: How far we've come and where we go."
Dr. Aguilar is the Leslie and Sarah Miller Director of the Miller Worley Center for the Environment and an associate professor of environmental studies at Mount Holyoke College. Her teaching is interdisciplinary by nature, often examining both the science and human dimensions of environmental issues. Her classes are often experiential and community-based, including her most recent course, Food Equity and Empowerment. Similarly, using her background in horticulture, natural resources, and education, her research crosses many fields and areas of study, often falling at the intersection of community, race, and transformative learning in environmental education. Specifically, she examines how and why environmental and science learning communities are exclusive and how they can be more inclusive of groups often marginalized.
With published articles in Environmental Education Research and The Journal of Environmental Education, Aguilar has also written for Truthout, where she recently penned the op-ed, “Are We Prepared for a Climate Crisis in the Middle of a Pandemic?” She has book chapters in Across the Spectrum: Resources for Environmental Educators and in Urban Environmental Education Review. In September 2020, she spoke about food justice and community gardening on a panel hosted by the Women of Color Leadership Network at UMass Amherst. Her current research involves collecting oral histories from people in the Latinx community to re-frame the normative discourse on what it means to be “outdoors” for an upcoming book.
"The late Pricilla Clarkson, former Dean of the Honors College, initiated the Daffodil Lecture on Sustainability and the Environment, which began during the college's tenth anniversary in 2009," said Professor Brion Dulac, Honors senior lecturer and coordinator of the Honors Seminar Series. "The lectures were named after her love for this beautiful flower. The environmental theme of the lectures reflects the campus’s initiatives in the areas of green research and sustainability, including the development of biofuels and wind energy."
The Daffodil Lecture will premiere on March 15, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. Watch our Commonwealth Honors College events webpage for the Daffodil Lecture and other upcoming programs.