Sustainability: What does it mean? What does it matter?

April 5, 2012, 7 p.m.
KLRU Studio 6A

Please RSVP on Facebook
Park in the San Antonio Garage

The President’s Sustainability Steering Committee and the Office of Sustainability have collaborated with Dean Paul Woodruff and the First-Year Experience Office to develop a new sustainability-focused lecture that will fulfill the spring 2012 Signature Course University Lecture Series requirement.

Dr. James Pennebaker, Chair of the Psychology Department and Dr. John Daly, Communications Studies Professor, will discuss the language of sustainability in this inaugural event entitled Sustainability: What does it mean? What does it matter?

Pennebaker and Daly will address the word ‘sustainability’ as it has become both ubiquitous and oftentimes meaningless in our culture. The term has become a concept used to create identity and purpose, rally support for and against global causes, and effect national policy and personal behavior. The pursuit of sustainability is perhaps most evident on college campuses, as students’ expectations and optimism fuel the need for change. A conversation about how we use language around sustainability will help students move past the word itself and explore the intersection of advocacy – the art of persuasion through speaking and writing toward solving a problem, perhaps even with your own idea; and language – the art of listening and reading such that you better understand those trying to persuade you to an idea, and to also better understand yourself.

The session will be moderated by Jim Walker, Director of Sustainability, in an engaging format where students and audience members will be encouraged to think critically about the topic, share their insights and ask questions. The event will be held in KLRU Studio 6A (CMB Building), the former home to Austin City Limits.

Contact us at for more information or RSVP on Facebook.

About the Presenters

photo of Dr. John Daly

Dr. John Daly
Distinguished Teaching Professor
Department of Communication Studies, College of Communication
Department of Management, Red McCombs School of Business

Dr. John Daly is the Liddell Centennial Professor of Communication, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, TCB Professor of Management, and an Adjunct Professor of Pharmacy. Dr. Daly's interests focus on practical ways of improving the communication skills of individuals. Thus, he has examined topics such as shyness, personality difference in communication, communication difficulties people experience in their personal and professional relationships, and ways people advocate for their ideas. Daly has also consulted with numerous organizations, both public and private, on communication issues. In recent years, he has worked with the White House on issues related to customer service and communication. He has taught classes in interpersonal communication, persuasion and attitude change, and empirical research methods. Professionally, he has served on the Board of Directors of ICA, the International Customer Service Association, and the Administrative Council of the National Communication Association. He has served as President of the National Communication Association and Chair of the Council of Communication Societies.


photo of Dr. James Pennebaker

Dr. James Pennebaker
Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chair
Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts

James W. Pennebaker is the Regents Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts and the Departmental Chair in the Psychology Department at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his Ph.D. in 1977. He has been on the faculty at the University of Virginia, Southern Methodist University, and, since 1997, The University of Texas. He and his students are exploring the links between traumatic experiences, expressive writing, natural language use, and physical and mental health. His studies find that physical health and work performance can improve by simple writing and/or talking exercises. His most recent research focuses on the nature of language and emotion in the real world. The words people use serve as powerful reflections of their personality and social worlds. Author or editor of 9 books and over 250 articles, Pennebaker has received numerous awards and honors.