Title? Still thinking…

Abstract: Solar Fest is an event dedicated to environmental advocacy that attracts a crowd to see live bands- playing through solar power.  The event is designed to send a message, and does so through speakers, displays, and tables set up by different organizations.  The event sends a political message which I have tried to capture while explaining the methods undertaken to make this successful.  By breaking down what each item is as well as its purpose, it is possible to understand the event as a whole.

Purpose Statement: To learn how Keene State College has worked to promote student beliefs of environmentalism through the event of Solar Fest.



What is Solar Fest? 

“We work hard to make Solar Fest an event of arts and entertainment, but at its core it is a time for environmental advocacy.” –President of Campus Ecology

“Solar Fest is an annual, FREE solar powered music festival promoting sustainable habits and environmental education, bringing people together for good music and times.” –http://wkne.com/events/solar-fest-2016/

Solar Fest has the goal to bring light to something in a non-traditional way.  It is a time of awareness and environmental advocacy and sends a message to many people.  It originated in Vermont in 1995 and has evolved into a three day music festival, recently moved to the Southern Vermont Arts Center.  The event has caught on in a few colleges across New England, including University of New Hampshire and Keene State College.


Keene State College’s group Campus Ecology adapted their own version of Solar Fest back in 1996, and it has been a success ever since.  Keene State has seen many years of a Harvest Fest in the fall as well, with a similar concept of Solar Fest, on a smaller scale. 


The inclusion of music draws in a crowd that might not otherwise stop by.  The event is filled with environmental themes, so even those who stop by briefly will be introduced to several concepts.  The most important, of course, being the solar powered truck that allows the bands to play.  Seeing this truck power the music will make people think in a certain way.  It takes something that many people know to be right, and make them mindful about it— even if it is just for a minute.

In recent years, speakers have been invited to present between bands.  The push for environmentalism has been evident in both the speakers and community participation.  In 2016, Solar Fest saw over 1,500 people.  The speakers can range from a variety of positions and all share the same message of environmental advocacy.  In 2017 speakers came from on campus and discussed Fair Trade and Divestment.

A shocking 90% budget cut affected the organizations ability to integrate the community as well as it had the previous year.  As a result, the group opened up Solar Fest to be available to other groups on campus in ways it has not been beforehand.  This founded involvement from groups like the Art Collective who hired a high school student from Brattleboro to perform on the side for a portion of the day.

In 2016, NextGen Climate gave a $2,000 donation.  This environmental lobbyist group then had representatives spend the day at Solar Fest talking to many individuals, some who later became volunteers for the organization during the election season.  These volunteers, made sure people voted for environmentally oriented groups- a core belief of the organization.

Other groups, like the Wormtown Trading Co. have been a part of Solar Fest for years.  This company, also founded in 1996, sells primarily hand made goods from around the world.  They take these products and sell them at places like Solar Fest

Environmental topics:  

  • Solar Power
    • Solar power is electricity that is harvested through the sun’s rays, usually collected in solar panels.
  • Divestment
    • The college puts money that alumni donate into a mutual fund. These funds invest in places such as real estate, banks, and fossil fuels— and the school eventually earns money back on their investment.  Students at Keene State have been petitioning for the college to stop putting money towards fossil fuels, and move towards clean energy or other socially conscious mutual funds.
  • Clothing swap
    • The clothing swap is an indirect way to deal with overproduction. Overproduction of clothing has become a huge crisis, especially as the fast and easy culture has kicked in.  Many clothing industries are producing clothing so quickly, they do not mind creating clothes that will fall apart quickly, as trends are changing as fast as clothes are put out.
    • Plus, there is a surplus of clothing produced that is never actually sold. Whether it was produced wrong, later damaged, or just did not fly off the shelf it is an ongoing problem.

Speakers and groups:

  • Pipeline activists
  • Moms clean air force http://www.momscleanairforce.org/
  • Revision Energy https://www.revisionenergy.com/
  • Monadnock progressive alliance http://www.monadproalliance.org/
  • NextGen Climate https://nextgenclimate.org/

Solar Fest Quotes and Starting Resources


“We work hard to make SolarFest an event of arts and entertainment, but at its core it is a time for environmental advocacy.” –President of Campus Ecology

“Solar Fest is an annual, FREE solar powered music festival promoting sustainable habits and environmental education, bringing people together for good music and times.” –http://wkne.com/events/solar-fest-2016/

Another thing they did to draw students’ attention to sustainability, Asher said, was to display all the recycled water bottles they collected over the course of one weekend

Olson also shared why he believes Solar Fest is so important.

He said that Solar Fest “demonstrates how the things we do for fun, like listening to live music, can be done in a sustainable manner, by using solar energy. He also said “It is also a way to bring the community together both in and outside of the institution and shows how we can be responsible in what we purchase, like having fair trade vendors and all that good stuff.”

 She added, “The concert also brings in a crowd so we can educate people to buy local and learn about living more sustainably.”

Doherty-Dilworth said he would also agree on the importance of Solar Fest.

He said that an aspect of Solar Fest he has always appreciated is that it “spreads new thinking and promotes important things people might not think about everyday.”


“Since 1995, SolarFest connects people, the arts, ideas and technology, fostering partnerships and activism to create a vibrant present and a sustainable future.” – http://www.solarfest.org/


Contemplations of Solar Fest

I finally have found a topic that I don’t think I will mind working with for the rest of the month, and it has a clear connection to art and democracy.  It is not-too-depressing, and substantial enough to work with.  Actually, it has many angles that I can take making the task seem simpler and more daunting all at once.  So of course I wrote a list- where else would you start?  The most important points looked something like this;

  • Solar powered music
  • Local bands
  • Divestment
  • Clothing swap
  • Green bikes parade
  • Environmental Speakers
  • Pipeline
  • Keene State College vs. Originating location

These terms lead to my “key terms,” which are education, awareness, and sustainability.  I am still trying to locate the names and topics of the last years key note speakers, but unfortunately they are not well documented anywhere online.  I am waiting to hear back from the campus ecology organization itself.  Divestment and the pipeline are subjects I know little about, and am beginning the researching stages for.  The clothing swap, as well as its importance with overproduction will also be an interesting topic to cover.  Each has a strong political tie, and documenting the place that each has as well as what our government is currently doing will challenging.

Of course the origins of solar fest are an important part of the discussion.  Beginning in 1995, the event spread to several campuses and still occurs as a three day weekend event.  The message this event brings is powerful, and it brings people together in a unique way.  So with this my thoughts are moving forward.  Research on these environmental issues will be included in my next post!

Key Terms

-If the whole complex lives of many people go on unconsciously, then such lives are as if they had never been.[3] And so life is reckoned as nothing. Habitualization devours work, clothes, furniture, one’s wife, and the fear of war. “If the whole complex lives of many people go on unconsciously, then such lives are as if they had never been.” And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects “unfamiliar,” to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object: the object is not important…

Page 2: Art as Technique

-It is for this reason that all societies have battled with the incorrigible disturber of the peace—the artist. I doubt that future societies will get on with him any better. The entire purpose of society is to create a bulwark against the inner and the outer chaos, in order to make life bearable and to keep the human race alive. And it is absolutely inevitable that when a tradition has been evolved, whatever the tradition is, the people, in general, will suppose it to have existed from before the beginning of time and will be most unwilling and indeed unable to conceive of any changes in it. They do not know how they will live without those traditions that have given them their identity. Their reaction, when it is suggested that they can or that they must, is panic. And we see this panic, I think, everywhere in the world today, from the streets of New Orleans to the grisly battleground of Algeria. And a higher level of consciousness among the people is the only hope we have, now or in the future, of minimizing human damage.

-A society must assume that it is stable, but the artist must know, and he must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven. One cannot possibly build a school, teach a child, or drive a car without taking some things for granted. The artist cannot and must not take anything for granted, but must drive to the heart of every answer and expose the question the answer hides.

James Baldwin: The Creative Process

The scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state, he is, Man Thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men’s thinking.

Each age, it is found, must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding. The books of an older period will not fit this.

The American Scholar

-When I visited Kenya for the first time, as part of the U.N. Decade for Women with many women from the University of Utah, I heard the stories of women in India who, when faced with the cutting down of the forests adjacent to their homes by an international timber company, made the decision together that one woman would wrap herself around the trunk of one tree. “They would have to cut into our own bodies before they would cut into the bark of our trees,” they said. When asked why, they replied simply, “Because the trees are our flesh and our children’s flesh. The roots of our trees hold the soil in place. Their leaves shade our water. Their health is the health of our village.” (This is where the term, “tree huggers” came from. It came to be known as the Chipko Movement and the trees were saved).

-The open space of democracy provides justice for all living things and extends our notion of community to include plants, animals, rocks, and rivers, as well as human beings. It is a landscape that encourages diversity and discourages conformity.

Terry Tempest Williams: “The Open Space of Democracy”

-Deregulation, privatization, rapid industrialization, and urbanization have also accelerated climate change, the depletion of natural resources, and the mass extinction of species.

Why Democracy Needs Arts and Culture

The above quotes fit with the key terms of  awareness, sustainability, and education.  Taken from a sampling of readings from this past semester, these terms and quotes are important in starting an exploration of Solar Fest.  Solar Fest does something, by raising awareness for the environment through music, vendors, and activities.  What are people doing every day?  How does it impact the earths systems around us? Why don’t we make more changes?  What is holding us back?  There are many answers to all of these questions, but no matter what, people need to take the time to learn and to care about what is going on around them.


Realizations of Archives

I never got the rush of exhilaration that many have when entering the archives.  I believe this to be an interesting observation about myself because I have a deep appreciation for history.  I love learning what had happened in the past, what the significance is, how it still impacts us today.  I   live with the belief that history repeats itself, and I am active in watching for examples of this. The archives had all of the things that I like, but it was like stepping into slow motion.

Be careful with what you’re touching.

Do not eat or drink.

When you have a running list of 101 things to do, errands to run, and appointments to attend, the archive can feel like the equivalent of burning money. It is a backwards effort.  But this feeling can reflect today’s world, where it is difficult to slow down and think, and where time is more valuable than it may have ever been.

Working on the Aspect Magazine project was a new experience for me.  Most important about it was that I had never taken a piece of writing and studied it on an outer level.  Usually, when working with a piece, I am scrutinizing, studying, searching for the author’s intent and a deeper meaning. It is a very rare occasion where I actually stop, and look at how something is put together- again a reflection of how I value time, although the components that make up a piece are often as important as the actual material found within.

Twenty-one.  Twenty-one people helped write this magazine that is only fifty-two pages long, cover-to-cover. On top of that, many pages are reviews of other texts by other groups and people.  It is a reminder that you do not have to write a three hundred page novella to be considered a real writer, although it is easy to fall into that trap.  It brings us back to the question, what makes an artist? And beyond, what determines success?

If you produce beautiful canvas art and sell it at a price ranging from $15-$50 are you an artist, or do you have to sell for hundreds, or thousands of dollars?  There are countless examples of this.
When you google Edward J. Hogan, not much shows up. We can learn a little about a track star at Notre Dame and a little more about the Hogan Family Foundation, but there is no reference to Aspect Magazine until Keene State College or Aspect magazine is added to the search. But people bought Aspect Magazine.  It was in print for years, and expanded from a small paper into a full blown magazine.  Decades later, we are archiving it, in the hopes that it will be easier for others to use, and in the process gaining a new found appreciation.

Archiving Aspect

Name of Student Commentator Savannah Robert

DescriptionAspect Magazine vol. 11, issue 62, May-June, 1975

Creators list Edward J. Hogan, Jeff Schwartz, Ellen Schwartz, M. T. Buckley, Christine Smith, Jeffrey Katz, Barbara A. Holland, Sterling Kelly Webb, Andrew Darlington, Doris Wight, Joan Colby, Dennis Nicholas Hoppin, Karen Solstad, and Rick Smith, Marjorie Masel, Roger Camp, Frank J. Jones, Robie Darche, Bettina Barrett, Gudanowska, Jean Segaloff

Contributors Edward J. Hogan, Jeff Schwartz, and Ellen Schwartz.

Date 5-1975

Publisher Aspect/ Zephyr Press

Description This volume of Aspect magazine is titled Aspect: Poetry, Fiction, Politics.  A drawing of a two cylindrical shaped buildings with windmills seem to be set on a rocky shore, on the green front page.  It is edited by Edward J. Hogan, Jeff Schwartz, and Ellen Schwartz and also includes artwork from Jean Segaloff.  This issue contains fifty-two pages, held together by two stapes.  The inside cover contains a table of contents with the type of writing followed by the authors and page numbers associated under that category.

A description and method of treating ­­­­­­“Sore Nipples” from Dr. Willich’s Domestic Encyclopedia is found, and credit is given on page fifty-one.  Also on page fifty-one is credit for the drawings in the review section, which came from the New Masses. As well as a place to order Edcentric Magazine, a place to get news and commentary from the educational reform movement.  Another advertisement for a monthly newsletter about the U.S. Military named Recon, is included on the back page.

This issue contains poetry from M. T. Buckley, Christine Smith, Jeffrey Katz, Barbara A. Holland, Sterling Kelly Webb, Andrew Darlington, Doris Wight, Joan Colby, Dennis Nicholas Hoppin, Karen Solstad, and Rick Smith.  It contains art work from Jean Segaloff, Marjorie Masel, Roger Camp, and one anonymous piece that was with permission from the Manchester Central Library.  This piece is a photograph taken by a freelance photographer in Manchester, England.

This issue has two essays, the first is titled “Corliss, Master of Power” by Frank J. Jones.  This brief piece offers a point of view into mechanical engineer, George H. Corliss’ power and public influence due to his invention, the steam engine in the mid-1800s.  The next essay, “Winning in the Sierras” by Robie Darche, is a bit longer.  It discusses the position of women in casinos as changegirls and cocktail waitresses, with discussion of keymen as well.  Another version of this piece is also found in Canadian Woman’s magazine, Branching Out.

Some brief works of fiction are included such as “Paradise”, by Gudanowska and “Karla in the Dark”, by Bettina Barrett.  Politics include “Bureaucracy, Reform, and Intervention in Czechoslovakia”. This is by George Shaw Wheeler, Lawrence Hill & Co, and focuses on events during 1968, including the goals of Czechoslovakian reformers and economics.

In News titles such as “Granite Suit”, “Montreal Writers’ Cooperative: Imaginative Space”, “100 Flowers Closes”, “Aspect Benefit,” are included prior to a letter-to-the-editor.  Ellen Schwartz reviewed Final Analysis by Lois Gould and Jane by Dee Wells.

The bottom of page forty-four has one of the last sections.  “Poems & Insults!” discussed Charles Bukowski and the impact he has.  He reads his poems and stories for audiences at various locations.  One of his pieces is called Burning in Water Drowning in Flame.  This is followed by Public Testimony by Elizabeth Fenton, and Of Earth by Douglas Worth, which have brief descriptions as well as the price of the book.

This concludes with a section for magazines. Bachy by John Harris, Bob Mehlman, Patricia Washington, and others; Branching Out by New Women’s Magazine Society; Women/Poems III by Women Poems Press are available with price and descriptions as well.

The back page of the magazine is titled, “The People Inside”.  It includes notes on Michael Buckley, Christine Smith, Frank Jones, Jeff Katz, Barbara Holland, Marjorie Masel, Robie Darche’s, Doris Wight, Roger Camp, Bettina Barrett, and Rick Smith.  It states that “Aspect is a member of the New England Small Press Association (NESPA) and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines (CCLM)” and that the magazine is printed by Design Workshop, Inc.  

Subject American Politics | Literature in English, North America | United States History. Each document you create will be indexed in the Digital Commons as part of the American Politics Commons, Literature in English, North America Commons, and the United States History Commons.

Recommended Citation Hogan, Edward J; Barrett, Bettina; Buckley, M.T.; Camp, Roger; Colby, Joan; Darche, Robie; Darlington, Andrew; Holland, Barbara A.; Jones, Frank J.; Gudanowska; Hoppin, Dennis Nicholas; Katz, Jeffrey; Masel, Marjorie; Schwartz, Jeff; Schwartz, Ellen; Segaloff, Jean; Smith, Christine; Smith, Rick; Solstad, Karen; Webb, Sterling Kelly; Wight, Doris; and Robert, Savannah, “Aspect Magazine vol. 11, issue 62, May-June, 1975” (1975). Aspect Magazine.