Flooding Campus with Environmental Sociology
The beautiful turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy of Dalen Dahl.

Flooding Campus with Environmental Sociology

Could a cold morning swim cure depression? Are people who live near lakes happier than those who live in deserts?

Two  speakers explored the concept of water and mental health as well as the importance of human interaction with water.

On Tuesday, April 4, New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols came to campus to offer a free presentation to discuss his book, “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.”

Nichols discussed the intersection of human society with water in the DUC Alumni Room at 7 p.m.

According to Nichols, water plays a bigger role in human lives than simply being a necessity for biological function. His book explores the sociological and psychological impacts water has on society. One of the topics Nichols is covered  is his concept, the seven ages of water, a parallel to Shakespeare’s seven ages of men.

Another speaker, Andrew Fusek Peters, flew in from the United Kingdom to present on April 5. Fusek Peters spoke to a class in the Collins Classroom Center Room 101. He discussed his book, “Dip: Wild Swims in the Borderlands.” The book covers Fusek Peters’ experience with wild swimming and how it helped him recover from depression.

Eric Olson, director and Lake Specialist of the UW-Extension Lakes, said, “We realize the blue mind idea is pretty multifaceted.”

Taylor Drake takes photos on top of Trempealeau Mountain in Trempealeau, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Dalen Dahl.

Taylor Drake takes photos on top of Trempealeau Mountain in Trempealeau, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Dalen Dahl.

Olson explained that every college on campus can relate to the topics of water science, natural resources, psychology and neural biology which will be presented by the speakers.

Both speakers have been working in conjunction with the UW-Extension Lakes in anticipation for the largest gathering of lake lovers in the nation at the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention.

The convention will be held at the Stevens Point Holiday Inn Convention Center from April 5-7.

Nichols and Fusek Peters will both be keynote speakers at the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention, but the UW-Extension wanted to give UWSP students the opportunity to learn from the speakers.

Historically, student attendance at the Lakes convention has been low and Olson said he wanted to give students the chance to learn about water-human interactions without the time and money commitment of attending the whole conference.


Genevieve Adamski

Environment Editor


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