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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Bridging the gap between community and college

Peter Schwartzman teaches class on environmental matters in municipalities
Professor Shwartzman outside WAC. Photo Courtesy of Knox College

Galesburg Mayor and Knox Professor of Environmental Science Peter Schwartzman is teaching a new course at Knox titled ‘Environmental Matters in Municipalities’ utilizing his 13 years of experience in city government.

Schwartzman has always had a vested interest in how sustainability interacts with city management, but those subjects didn’t really fit in any of the courses he regularly teaches. So, he designed a new course.

“The course allows me to expose students and engage students in discussions related to the function of cities, in particular as it relates to sustainability,” Schwartzman said.

The course focuses on the themes of water treatment, stormwater management, waste management, energy, and transportation. None of them are glamorous topics, Schwartzman says, but they’re all essential in thinking about the sustainability of cities.

About 60% of people in the world now live in cities, and that’s expected to continue to grow over the next 20 years.

“If we look at the future of humanity, our species and our connection and our relationship to the Earth, it’s going to be important that we learn how to live within those types of jurisdictions,” Schwartzman said.

His experience in city government has helped form connections in the city that he is now utilizing to expose his students to the real life workings of his themes. They visited the Galesburg water treatment plant, and Schwartzman has more field trips planned.

He hopes students will become more involved in their communities, both here in Galesburg and in the future.

“I hope that they will take their education… and see opportunities for contributing positively to the development of the various things we’re going to learn about,” Schwartzman said.

Schwartzman is also sharing a shortened version of his class on his YouTube channel, One Human. He feels he often exists in two worlds, and he hopes to “bridge the gap” by sharing what he is teaching with the community.

Schwartzman says that many of the topics discussed in the class are very important to community members, like water quality, stormwater management, and transportation.

“I want them to know what’s going on to some degree in my class and hopefully encourage them, maybe inspire them to be more engaged in the topics that are really important to them,” Schwartzman said.

Schwartzman hasn’t taught a new class in almost a decade and is excited about the experience. A week in, and he says he’s already learned a lot, engaging more deeply with topics than he normally gets to.

“This is kind of a pioneering experience and I think people feel that even though we’re really early on in the process,” Schwartzman said, “I’m definitely going to look to them [the students] for guidance in terms of critique and feedback.”

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About the Contributor
Eleanor Lindenmayer
Eleanor Lindenmayer, Editor-In-Chief
Eleanor Lindenmayer '25 (she/her) is a journalism major. She started working for TKS as a staff writer when she was in her first year. She has also worked as the discourse editor and is now the Editor-in-Chief. Eleanor has also been published at Tri States Public Radio, where she was an intern and a freelancer. Eleanor was born and raised in the pacific northwest and will argue that there is no better place on this earth. Awards Illinois College Press Association 2024
  • 1st Place In Depth Reporting
  • 1st Place News
  • 1st Place Feature
Illinois College Press Association 2023
  • 2nd Place Columns
  • Honorable Mention Columns
Knox College 2023 Ida M. Tarbell Memorial Prize For Investigative Reporting    

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