Inspiring the Next Generation

James and Amy presenting at the May 23, 2013 Hanford: Tanks in Trouble public meeting.For my last quarter as an undergrad, I wanted to take a class that will challenge me and teach me something new. The Hanford class definitely accomplished both tasks. I heard about Hanford briefly two years ago and it has never crossed my mind again. I initially wanted to take the class because Professor Holly Barker was teaching it and I have heard so many great things about her teaching style. In the beginning, we learned a lot about the basics of Hanford and to be frank, most of it did not stick in my head for long. The struggle I had with the message that we were given by guest speakers was how to keep young college students engaged with the issue. Even at the end when we all spoke about what is the imagined future for us in terms of nuclear activism, most of the students said that they would not be involved in Hanford directly. There is a risk that if we are not involved directly, we will forget about it soon enough. Hanford is such an interconnected issue that it will be a shame if we all forgot about the things we have learned.

That is why I am proposing and arguing that Hanford should be taught year round and should be made into a multiple parts series. Even though we have proven that we can accomplish many things in a quarter, three months is too little of a time to really dig deep into the issue of Hanford. I struggled with thinking about how to get people more exposed to Hanford and I think the best way to do it is to teach it every quarter and to develop a legacy with the students involved. These days, students are so busy with school, jobs, internships, and family that they do not really have the mental capacity to be active in a social issue. By making Hanford part of the year-round curriculum, we can make sure that more and more students are exposed to Hanford. It will be even better if Professor Holly Barker teaches the class because I believe she is the fearless classroom leader that every student needs to succeed and be challenged.

One way to develop that legacy is to have Hanford students pass on the knowledge to local high school students. They would probably benefit from learning about Hanford because they will be the one also inheriting the problems relating to Hanford. We can partner with the UWʼS Dream Project and be Hanford mentors in a high school classroom.

By: Anh Le

2 thoughts on “Inspiring the Next Generation

  1. What inheritinghanford says is totally spot on the mark! Carrying the information down to the high school level is brilliant. There’s actually no reason why there couldn’t be a Saturday-morning cartoon show, too, which could – very gently – teach the children. TEACH THE CHILDREN!!! Now there’s a plan. A good plan. When the children grow up inherently knowing, they will be in a much better position to do something about it.

  2. Thank you so much for your thoughts on Hanford, Anh Lee. Getting young people involved in Hanford is such an important issue. The history of Hanford, the cleanup era, and public involvement should definitely be a part of the classroom experience in Washington. Best of luck on your efforts.

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