The Center enjoyed another full and rewarding year in 2017, featuring activities around the West, from the Grand Coulee Dam in eastern Washington to the College of the Northern Border in Tijuana, Mexico. Through our programs and travels, we continue to acquire a deeper appreciation for the region’s culture and history, as well as its profound contemporary policy challenges.
The Bill Lane Center remains strongly committed to undergraduate education in and about the American West though its internships, classes, and research opportunities. This year, we sponsored ten Stanford students to participate in public service and nonprofit internships across the region with such organizations as the San Francisco Estuary Institute, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Yellowstone National Park. In addition, in partnership with the Precourt Institute for Energy and Stanford in Government, the Center placed 12 undergraduate and graduate students in summer energy internships with agencies such as the California Energy Commission and the Western Interstate Energy Board. You can read about their experiences in our Out West blog for students.
Media and Publications
The Center’s year-old ‘... & the West’ blog, led by Felicity Barringer, explores environmental and health topics including water deals on the Colorado River, the underestimated threat of Valley Fever, and land subsidence in the Central Valley. The stories included Geoff McGhee’s creative graphics, such as those showing California’s power plants and the decline of salmon runs in rivers feeding Puget Sound. Three Stanford students worked as editorial assistants, filing in-depth stories on Wyoming’s coal industry and California’s ambitions for green electricity, as well as digests of the best environmental writing elsewhere. The Center also welcomed John Upton of Climate Central as a Western Enterprise Media Fellow. Upton spent two weeks in California reporting on the nexus between wildfires and public health. His story, “Breathing Fire,” was published by Climate Central, PBS NewsHour, Kaiser Health News, KQED, Grist, Pacific Standard, and California Healthline.
In September, we celebrated the publication of Walking the Farm. This book, written by the Stanford alumnus Tom DeMund, details 18 themed walks across campus along with several hikes in the surrounding area. The book was inspired by Director Emeritus David Kennedy’s campus walk for alumni each fall and the Center’s Stanford to the Sea hike each spring. It is available for purchase from the Stanford University Bookstore and direct from the publisher.
Rural West Conference Focuses on Health
In March, we hosted the fifth annual Eccles Family Rural West Conference, which focused on critical issues and possible solutions to create A Healthier Rural West. Partnering with physicians and policymakers, we explored personal, public and population health in New Mexico. Back on campus, student researchers spent the summer investigating links between fracking, fires and respiratory diseases and how mobile technology can promote healthy living in rural communities. This work will continue in 2018 with a campus workshop and the sixth Rural West conference in Yakima, Washington.
World War II and the West
To mark the 75th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War II, the Center hosted a two-day conference “World War II and the West It Wrought,” in May. The war sparked a massive westward movement, ignited a quarter-century economic boom that redefined the West as the nation’s most economically dynamic region, and prompted increased government spending for higher education and infrastructure. The conference convened ten scholars from across the country presenting original research that will eventually become into a book. New York Times columnist Timothy Egan delivered a keynote address on the geography of hope.
Our new ArtsWest initiative continues to flourish, attracting hundreds of members from the Stanford community and general public to celebrate the many Great Writers and Artists of the West. In February, the Center hosted a lecture entitled “The School: Diane Arbus’s Untitled Photographs” with Alexander Nemerov. In the spring, we partnered with former English Department Chair Gavin Jones to highlight one-time Stanford student John Steinbeck in a symposium titled “Great Writers of the West: Steinbeck and the Environment.”
Experience Center Events from 2017
Looking to 2018
On behalf of the entire Center staff, I share my sincere thanks for your ongoing support. We wish you the very best for the coming year, and hope to see you on the Farm soon.
Bruce E. Cain
Spence and Cleone Eccles Family Director
Charles Louis Ducommun Professor in Humanities and Sciences
|Jan 19||Coastal Sage: Peter Douglas and the Fight to Save California’s Shore||Stanford|
|Jan 26||Stanford Rural Health Symposium||Stanford|
|Feb 5||Planning for America’s Water Infrastructure Needs||Stanford|
|Feb 24||ArtsWest Lecture: Women Who Transformed Art in the West||San Francisco|
|Sixth Eccles Family Rural West Conference||Yakima|
|May 18||ArtsWest Symposium: Art and Culture on the US-Mexico Border–2,000 Miles of Imagination that Unite and Divide Us||Stanford|