Annabelle Gurwitch, host of a national reality show that encourages green living, will speak at Black Hills State University Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in Meier Recital hall.
Annabelle Gurwitch, host of a national reality show that encourages green living, will speak at Black Hills State University Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in Meier Recital hall. Her presentation is open to the public at no charge. This is the first of several presentations dealing with sustainability that will be sponsored by the Madeline Young Speaker Series at BHSU.

Gurwitch’s newest role is host of the reality show “WA$TED,” launched by the network Planet Green. The show works with a different household every week as they try to make their homes “green” with the added incentive of earning money based on the success of the household’s transition.

Actress and writer Gurwitch (Dinner and a Movie) is such a vibrant advocate for going green that she calls herself a "lime" activist. On “WA$TED” Gurwitch  is comically confrontational with families, utilizing her sassy sense of style and unabashed humor to teach viewers how to play their part in saving the planet one (ecologically smaller) footstep at a time.

Gurwitch is a contributing writer and commentator on Day to Day on National Public Radio and writes comedic essays on politics, pop culture and the environment in her "Fired Up!" column for The Nation.com. Gurwitch has been documenting her attempts to understand climate change and sustainable living in a series of interviews on Day to Day and webisodes entitled "My Big Fat Environmental Crisis" for Hearst Magazines. Her recent book and documentary film Fired! Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized and Dismissed (now in paperback), was deemed a "merry compendium of failure" by The Washington Post, and was #1 on The New York Post Hot List.

Besides her six-year stint on the cult favorite Dinner and a Movie for TBS, she's hosted shows on ABC, HBO, Sci-Fi, The Style Channel, The Game Show Network, and VH1's "I Love the..." series. TV appearances include: State of Mind, The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman, Boston Legal, Seinfeld and her films include: Shaggy Dog and Melvin Goes to Dinner. For her work off-Broadway, The New York Times named her in The Top Ten Performances of the Year in 2002.

Gurwitch attended New York University and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Emmy-Award winning writer Jeff Kahn, and their 10- year-old son in a house lit (dimly) by CFLs. She and her husband are currently at work on a comic memoir entitled, "You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up.”

BHSU has made a commitment to sustainability and to educating students and the community on the topic. Plans are currently being made for the second annual Sustainability Day at BHSU which is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 22. BHSU was the first South Dakota University to join the American College and University President's Climate Commitment, a consortium of 400 universities across the nation dedicated sustainability. The addition and remodeling project currently underway at the Student Union has been designed to include components that will make it a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certified building. The Student Union is expected to become a model for the demonstration of energy efficiencies and an educational tool for BHSU students and others in the community.

About the Madeline A. Young Speaker Series

The Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series at Black Hills State University was established in 1986 by a gift endowment from Madeline Young, a 1924 alumna.

Young, who acquired her teaching certificate at Spearfish Normal School (later know as Black Hills State University), created an endowment for a prominent speakers program to benefit students, faculty, and citizens of the Black Hills area. The nature of selected speakers and topics are calculated to enhance and challenge the artistic, cultural,  civic, educational or intellectual interests of the community.

Young was born in Gettysburg in 1903 and graduated from Faulkton High School in 1921 before embarking on a career as a teacher and a nurse. She completed her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1931 and a master’s degree in rehabilitation at Columbia University in 1951. During World War II she served as an Army nurse, receiving three battle stars during the battles of Normandy, Northern France, and the Rhineland.

The distinguished speaker series was initiated at the university in 1987, with an address by former United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. Other Madeline Young Speakers have included: Terry Waite, former hostage, hostage negotiator and envoy for England's Archbishop of Canterbury; Felix Justice and Danny Glover, actors; Sam Donaldson, television broadcaster; Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize winner; and Lech Walesa, former Polish president.