The David C. Hardesty, Jr. Festival of Ideas returns on Jan. 26 to West Virginia University’s Mountainlair Ballrooms with Dan Fagin, investigative reporter, prize-winning science journalist and the author of Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation, which won the 2014 Pulitzer for General Nonfiction. In partnership with The Charleston Gazette, Fagin will reprise his talk on Jan. 27 at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia in Charleston.

The true story of Toms River, New Jersey, Fagin’s book explores how large chemical companies exploited inadequate government oversight to use Toms River as their private dumping ground for nearly 60 years. Leaky drums of chemicals were buried in open pits and billions of gallons of acid-laced wastewater were discharged into the river, causing a rash of childhood cancers within the community. Toms River is both a cautionary tale for fast-growing industrial towns across the globe and a gripping human drama of lives lost and redemption found.

Festival of Ideas continues on Feb. 3 at the Mountainlair Ballrooms with “I Am The Change,” a panel discussion featuring an esteemed trio of human rights luminaries and legends: Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela; Donisha Rita-Claire Prendergast, Bob and Rita Marley’s granddaughter; and Jasmine Rand, the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family. This thought-provoking event is co-sponsored by WVU’s Center for Black Culture and Research.

“I Am The Change” will explore how the “power of one” can transform the world. Mandela, Prendergast and Rand strive to inspire audiences to pursue meaningful change in their own lives and in the lives of others. This event will equip attendees with the tools and techniques needed to effectively mobilize their own schools and communities to seek equality and justice. Every individual, young or old, rich or poor, has the power to improve society. “I Am The Change” is an engaging event that will inspire you to be the change you want to see in the world.

All events begin at 7:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public. No tickets are required.



CONTACT: Office of University Events,

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