Thomas Friedman to visit campus in October

Christina Chaey

Thomas Friedman, columnist for The New York Times and bestselling author of the 2009-10 One Book One Northwestern selection, will be on campus for the inauguration of future University President Morton Schapiro on Oct. 9.

The three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author will speak as part of the ceremony, as well as participating in a symposium titled “Big Ideas and Challenges” earlier in the day.

Appropriately, Friedman’s “Hot, Flat, and Crowded,” focuses on some of the “major” sustainability challenges that face the world today, said Bridget Calendo, coordinator of this year’s One Book project and director of operations and outreach for the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern.

Calendo said she hopes to get students, faculty, staff and the rest of the NU community to “develop passion for getting involved in issues surrounding energy, climate and sustainability through science, policy, technology and education.”

Friedman’s views on the global instability that climate change creates will be taken down to the local level within NU, said Mark Ratner, co-director of ISEN.

“Energy and sustainability together provide perhaps the grand challenge to society at the beginning of the 21st century,” Ratner said. “Northwestern is engaging it forcefully and broadly. This choice of a book will quicken the intellectual and activist pulse at the University throughout next year — and it should be fun.”

Because “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” covers a broad array of accessible topics, Caldeno said she would like to see the One Book Planning Committee organize various projects and activities for engagement.

“We would like students to not simply hear another lecture, but rather ‘experience’ these challenges first-hand,” she said. “We hope to provide an array of opportunities that would pique an interest, and provide an experience that would draw students into a common dialogue and involvement.”

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