Geek Speak to address sustainability as more than an environmental issue

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, March 26, 2018/Categories: Events, College of Business and Natural Sciences, Community, Events, Staff, 2018

Black Hills State University sustainability coordinator Petrika Peters believes that a sustainable society is one that thrives between the boundaries of a just social foundation and a healthy environment.

In her Geek Speak, “Sustainability, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Making the Connection,” Peters will discuss how being sustainable means more than recycling and conserving energy—it means pursuing a just and equitable society. Her presentation will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 5 in Jonas 110. All Geek Speaks are free and open to the public.

Peters has a master’s degree in public policy with a focus on environmental policy and sustainability and has experience creating conservation initiatives. She has worked as the sustainability coordinator at BHSU for two years, promoting the social, environmental, and economic aspects of sustainability.

“I’m talking about sustainability, which is what I live and breathe,” Peters says. “But we will be focusing more on diversity and equity issues and how those relate to sustainability. A lot of people, when they think about sustainability, might first think about environmental aspects of sustainability. What people don’t realize is that looking at a sustainable culture encompasses much more than just the environmental aspects.”

Peters will discuss systems of oppression, such as racism and classism, and how those relate to exploiting the earth’s resources. By challenging oppressive, dominant narratives, Peters says society will automatically begin thinking in more sustainable ways.

“Unless we are making those connections,” Peters says, “we are not going to be living in a sustainable future.”

The Geek Speak lecture series, sponsored by the BHSU Honors program, features academic discussion and topics not normally discussed in the traditional classroom. The goal of the weekly lectures is to expose students and the community to diversity within the disciplines. Some Geek Speaks are also presented at the Jacket Zone store located on Main Street in downtown Spearfish. All lectures are free and open to the public.
  • April 12: "Rebel Girl: Celebrating a Century of Exchange Between American Popular Music and Feminism” by Dr. Dan May, assistant professor of mathematics, and Dr. Laura Colmenero-Chilberg, professor of sociology
  • April 19: "Artificial vs. Human Intelligence: The Coming Conflict Over the Definition of Rationality” by Dr. Max Marc, associate professor of management
  • April 26: “From Bach to Braindrill: Exploring the similarities between Metal and Classical music and fandom” by Dr. David Berberick, assistant professor of music
  • University Honors Capstone Defenses. Please join us as our Honors Scholars defend their capstone work to graduate as International University Scholars, University Scholars, and Research Scholars. Refreshments will be served. Please note: these defenses are held at the Joy Center.
    • Tuesday, April 24:  3-5 p.m.
    • Wednesday, April 25:  3-5 p.m.
    • Monday, April 30: 3-5 p.m.
    • Tuesday, May 1:  3-5 p.m.

To read short descriptions of each lecture topic, visit 
For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse Wika, director of the University Honors Program and associate professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email

Number of views (4002)/Comments (0)