This letter is in response to the September 7th article in the Argus, “Wild Wes Sanctuary Struggles to Preserve Its Legacy”. I’m responding because that beautiful patch of untamed nature represents a great opportunity for Wes to open new worlds for itself and the world we serve. For the record, I went to Wesleyan for three semesters from 1990 to 1991 before transferring to Boston College and graduating from there. However, I never fell out of love with you, and that joyful era is what fuels my desire to contribute to both the permaculture garden and Wes as a whole. Addtionally, I am grateful to Wild Wes for sponsoring me to do a book presentation on “going green” on college campuses for Earth Month in 2015. What informs my response to this poetic opportunity is that I recently published a book, Critical Infrastructure for Children; the Astonishing Potential of New England Schools, (Salem House Press, 2017)in which I did a comparison of many of the ratings of “greenness” of colleges throughout New England. Materials I surveyed included the Princeton Review, coursework at the College of the Atlantic (where the only major is Human Ecology), the Campus Sustainability Best Practices Manual, case studies on the AASHE website and the Wesleyan Sustainabilty Action Plan 2016–2021. I wanted to see how these ratings systems compared and how they might be improved. What I found is that there is huge room for improvement in all of these rating systems, including the Wes Five Year Plan. The main thing I noticed upon review of all of these measures of “sustainability” or “greenness” is not enough conservation talk or mention of reduction of cruelty to animals. Perhaps as Wild Wes develops a vision of their permaculture space, part of the process should be discussing and responding to these failures. I should say that the Wesleyan Five Year plan does include a few excellent paragraphs about reducing meat consumption and better conditions for pigs, but we need to do better. After all, we have no national conservationist vision and billions of animals are still in living hell. One paragraph of the September 7th article reads; “As the group’s full-time workers are set to graduate this spring, though, it remains unclear who will maintain the upkeep.” Should Wild Wes ever get organized and want a pair of experienced hands to help with maximizing the permaculture space, count me in. Additionally, it would be great to see the responses to the state of this permaculture space include utilization of this space to discuss the Wesleyan Plan. The further development of Wild Wes could then coincide with Wesleyan becoming the best version of itself. My final point is that I do want to be part of Wesleyan upping its game. I have to say that during my last visit I experienced some things I didn’t like; harassment while I was eating breakfast, someone pulling the fire alarm at Usdan just before I stepped in the building, slightly rude behavior from student government members and zero attendees at my book presentation. Yes, zero, but I gave the presentation anyway. What I am offering now is to give a presentation on dimensions of “going green” and progressive coursework, with a focus on how it can help Wesleyan best serve the underserved. And yes, that was the sound of the gauntlet being thrown. Message me at if you would like to respond, either through booking a presentation or working together at Wild Wes.

Comments are closed