Alumni College 2017

Water, Water, Everywhere: An examination of current issues

“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


If Coleridge’s hero lived in Portland, Oregon today, would he have a similar lament? On one hand, we have drinking water that bubbles endlessly from Portland’s fountains. Yet upstream, we have communities who are in a pitched battle over the rights to drinking water. Recent low snowpack have led to concerns about our water supply. Downstate, farmers are requesting more water to nourish their crops, while others are demanding that the water stay in the streams for the fish. Add to that issues of whether or not to add fluoride, whether communities have enough water to handle future development, who owns the water that falls on our roofs, and you have the makings for a stimulating set of programs.

This three-day Alumni College will appeal to participants who want to immerse themselves in the subject with talks, panels, demonstrations, field trips, and workshops. But we have also created a flexible program that allows those who merely want to sip an element or two.  Whatever quenches your thirst, you will be treated to engaging programming that features Reed faculty, alumni, and students who are interested delve further into this important topic. 

Schedule: June 6—9, 2017

Tuesday, June 6

  • 6 p.m. Alumni College welcome reception and Columbia River Gorge preview talk

Wednesday, June 7

  • 9 a.m. Welcome
  • 9:30 a.m. Historical overview
  • 10:30 a.m. Panel discussion: Whose Water is It: A review of water rights and water politics
  • 12—7 p.m. Field Trip: This Gorge was Made for You and Me: an examination of a transportation corridor, an energy source, a drinking water source, and a habitat—among other things
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in the day's activities 

Thursday, June 8

  • 8 a.m. Canyon photography demonstration
  • 9:30 a.m. Water, wildlife habitat, and development pressures in a growing city
  • 11 a.m. The Canyon as a lab. A look at experiments that Reed students and others do
  • Noon—6 p.m. Field Trip: From Bull Run to the Benson Bubblers—We will travel to Mt. Hood, explore the source of Portland’s drinking water, and then trace the flow all the way to the popular bubblers
  • 1:30—4 p.m.: Hands-on workshops: Watercolors, poetry, calligraphy
  • 7:30 p.m. Evening keynote: TBA
  • Breakfast and lunch are included in the day's activities

Friday, June 9

  • 8:30 a.m.—12:45 p.m. Field Trip: Sauvie Island: a look at farms, wildlife, and the water. On the island, we will explore the role that water plays in the farms as well as the habitat for an abundant amount of wildlife
  • 1—3 p.m. Concluding session: Going Global: National and international issues involving water
  • Breakfast and lunch are included in the day's activities

Registration and Cost

  • Full Alumni College Registration: $400 (Tuesday through Friday activities)
    $300 for young alumni in class years 2007—2017

  • Single Day Alumni College Registration:
    • Wednesday only: $200 (Includes Tuesday night Welcome Reception)
      $125 for young alumni in class years 2007—2017
    • Thursday only: $125 
      $100 for young alumni in class years 2007—2017
    • Friday only: $100 
      $75 for young alumni in class years 2007—2017
Please register online at:

Alumni College Presenters:

  • Steven Halpern ’87: Steve is an avid birder and wildlife photographer
  • Jim Jackson ’60: Jim is a geologist and an adjunct professor of geology at Portland State University
  • John Laursen ’67: John is a writer, designer, editor, and typographer. His book, Wild Beauty, which focuses on historic and contemporary photography of the Columbia River Gorge, will be featured in the opening talk
  • Michelle Nijhuis ’91: Michelle is a freelance writer who focuses on environmental issues. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, National Geographic, and other notable publications
  • Zac Perry: Zac is Reed’s canyon specialist, overseeing the revitalization of this special resource for the campus and the city