October 19, 2009
After touring Knox College with an eye toward sustainability, Holter Graham, a co-host of the program "Wa$ted!" on the Planet Green network, told a campus audience that "pretty much across the board, everything was above the bar."
Graham spoke at Knox as part of a two-day visit that included tours of the college's dining services operation, student residences, and meetings with Knox students, faculty and staff.
The program "Wa$ted!" videotapes visits to homes and businesses by Graham and co-host Annabelle Gurwitch as they critique wasteful practices and offer suggestions on how people can mitigate environmental impact. According to network publicity, on a recent program at a university in New Zealand, "the crew wakes a group of university students up to their wasteful habits."
By contrast, Graham said at Knox he found a college campus that is "already engaged."
"You are further along than I thought [a typical American college would be]," Graham said. "This particular student body has the kind of openmindedness and fearlessness that makes great change and great achievement possible, in a way that generations before you didn't necessarily have -- a mixture of hardnosedness and a desire to actually have an effect on the present in which you stand."
At Knox on September 21-22, Graham met senior administrators, including Helmut Mayer, director of dining services, and faculty in several departments. He also toured the Eco House, a student residence that is a showcase for environmental projects, and the Phi Gamma Delta House, a fraternity that has embarked on a number of energy saving initiatives.
After graduating from Skidmore College, Graham worked as an actor. "I had a canvas chair that actually had my name on the back," Graham said. Among the films he's appeared in are Maximum Overdrive, and "it was on the set of Maximum Overdrive that Graham first realized his environmental passions," wrote an article in The Knox Student, the weekly campus newspaper. "It all started with a simple empty Coke can. No trashcan was nearby, and Graham couldn't bring himself to litter," the article said.
Graham's visit to Knox was part of the "EquiKnox" series of events sponsored by the Knox College Presidential Task Force on Sustainability.
Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 47 states and 48 countries. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.