Today was our last full day of class, since tomorrow we will spend the entire morning presenting our Capstone Projects and then get out early. We began the morning with a guest speaker, one of two who would come to talk to us today. The morning speaker was an environmental lawyer, Dr. Sarah Light, who also teaches at UPenn. She came to talk to us about environmental law and policy making. Dr. Light had a good energy from the moment she stepped into the room. She made it clear she was going to engage us by having us put away our electronic devices and asking a lot of questions right away.
Dr. Light touched on topics that you don't usually hear about when discussing the environment. Typically, a speaker would inform us about all the damage that human activity is doing to the earth and why it is important for us to care about global warming. Instead of getting into the technicalities of the environmental problems that the earth is facing, however, Dr. Light focused on the best ways to make environmental reforms. She talked about the different types of environmental regulations, how businesses themselves could facilitate environmentalism, and other factors that went into shaping environmental policy such as the Precautionary Policy and risks vs. uncertainties. I personally found the discussion very interesting, because I want to go into law and this type of material appealed to me more than a traditional talk about global warming would have. I liked the fact that Dr. Light told us about the types of things that could be done to remedy the problem, instead of spending time talking about the problem itself.
Dr. Light's presentation ended at 11:40, and we were dismissed early for lunch. Pleasantly surprised, I proceeded to blow the rest of the money on my PennCard, which I won't need to use in Houston Market anymore. My friends and I sat outside and spent the extra long lunch period enjoying our food (obviously), playing games, and making plans for our final time here.
At 1:00, I headed back to class for my group discussion. The group sessions today were two hours long, and after they were over we went back upstairs for another guest speaker. This time, it was a member of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation. We were supposed to take a field trip to Chinatown at some point, but they decided to come to us instead. The guest speaker spoke about how Chinatown had arisen as the center of Chinese culture in Philadelphia and how they had had to fight over the years to preserve their position. I had no idea that there were so many Chinese in Philadelphia, but I was inspired by the way that the members of the Chinatown community have been able to combat injustice again and again and succeed. These struggles included protesting against the construction of a prison and a highway in their community.
After the speaker from Chinatown left, I rushed back to the quad, still having some serious work to do on my Capstone Project. Of course, this was also one of my last days here, so I wanted to spend as much time with my friends as possible. As such, I worked for a while in my building's lounge before going out with Jana, Lizzy, Jack, Sehar, Reva, and Sam to take pictures. We wanted to capture what would be our last day all together, since Lizzy has to leave early. To do so, we took silly shots all throughout Penn's campus.
Once our inner photographers were satisfied, our group went our separate ways for a bit. However, we reconvened again to go to dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant, Beijing. We've been there before, and it's really tasty, but I had already eaten by the time we went. Still, I sat with my friends and had a good time while they ate their food. Upon returning to the dorms, I went back to the lounge where I had been working earlier to put the finishing touches on my project. My friends joined me, and we all powered through our last assignments together. I believe that everyone got all of their work done, and it was a productive if a bit mellow night.
With the program coming to a close, I am feeling sad. I'm going to miss everyone here so much! If I could do it all over again, I definitely would. However, it's not over yet, and I'm determined to have a great time on the last day, and squeeze as many more good memories as I can into the next 24 hours.