Dr. Andy Robson and the Earth Charter Summit
Photo by student news intern Katie Holliday
Dr. Andy Robson
By Courtney Rinka
COLS Special Reports Student Reporter
UW Oshkosh Celebrates 10th Anniversary
of Earth Charter Community Summit
This year marks the 10th anniversary of UW Oshkosh’s first Earth Charter Community Summit, an event focused on inspiring others to embrace Earth Charter’s principles for a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society.
The weeklong summit events each year include a discussion and celebration of the Earth Charter’s four principles - respect and care for the community of life; ecological integrity; social and economic justice; nonviolence, democracy, and peace. This year’s summit occurred the week of October 17-23 and included more than 14 events.
UW Oshkosh endorses Earth Charter
UW Oshkosh’s endorsement of the Earth Charter document started in 2001 with a mysterious phone call to Dr. Andy Robson, a professor of English at the University. The woman, who didn’t identify herself, had told Robson to contact Jan Roberts, founder of Earth Charter Community Summits.
“To this day I’ve never known who this person was,” Robson said. “She said you need to contact Jan Roberts, and so I did.”
Conversations with Jan Roberts encouraged Robson to organize one of 12 original Earth Charter Community Summits in 2001 held nationwide. “[Organizing an Earth Charter Community Summit] seemed a natural fit,” Robson said. “Any university should provide fertile ground for the discussion of issues such as those listed in the charter.”
Robson invited Chancellor Richard H. Wells and faculty to attend the first summit in fall 2001 in hopes to securing their support for the Earth Charter. “I wanted to get university endorsement of the principles,” Robson said. “The Chancellor suggested going to each committees that were part of shared governance on campus.”
By May of 2002, UW Oshkosh endorsed the Earth Charter in all areas of Shared Governance; Faculty Senate; Senate of Academic Staff; Classified Staff Advisory Council; Assembly and Senate of the Oshkosh Student Association.
UW Oshkosh became one of eight institutions in the Unites States, and the only institution of higher education in Wisconsin to fully endorse the Earth Charter.