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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Tianhong Yang at 5:19PM
 Dr. Tanya Saunders

Blog posting written by Tianhong Yang, Environmental Sciences, ’18, FLEFF Blogger, Hangzhou, China

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival was launched in 1997 as an outreach project from the Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University. In 2004, the festival moved to Ithaca College, where it is currently located at the Office of Interdisciplinary and International Studies. FLEFF has become one of the most important events on campus for both the faculty and students.

Last Tuesday, I was honored to listen to an introduction of FLEFF given by Dr. Tanya Saunders, who is Assistant Provost of Ithaca College and Executive Producer of FLEFF. Dr. Saunders has been working with International Studies and Special Projects, as well as MLK Scholar Program since its inception.

According to Dr. Saunders, there are many reasons why Ithaca College has FLEFF. Committed to environmental protection, Ithaca College aims to incorporate sustainability into its buildings and curriculums. Following the UNESCO definition of sustainability, FLEFF, explores the interconnection between the land, water, health, education, and cultures. The festival, expanding from the regional to the national and international, has not only advanced the name of the college, but also provides great opportunities for student engagement.  

FLEFF is a constructed intellectual environment in which people gather and make links. Featuring a wide variety of activities, FLEFF provokes collective encounters and encourages meaningful dialogs. Through film screenings, concerts, lectures, and workshops, participants address questions and collaboratively brainstorm answers.

Unlike degree programs, FLEFF collaborates with faculty and students across all the schools and invites guests around the country and all over the world. FLEFF is in no way restricted, allowing us students to do what we are willing and able to do. Students are encouraged to take initiatives and become global citizens who are aware of global issues that all of us share.

Dr. Saunders believes that the word “film” overshadows FLEFF, as FLEFF is heterogeneous from the selected topics to the diversity of formats. Therefore, you need to experience what FLEFF has to offer before you conclude that FLEFF is simply a film collection. 

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