In the fall of 2013, during a class debate, Prof. Stephanie Wakefield and her urban environment class struck an idea. The topic was the Anthropocene, or the world’s new geological epoch in which humans see themselves as the center of the planet.
“From Hurricane Sandy to the more generalized urban anxiety, we saw that we lacked a lot of the skills and knowledge that would make it possible to begin building new, less catastrophic ways of life,” Wakefield said.
The ideas continued to grow from the topic of Hurricane Sandy. Increased examples of people learning to work together to find means of surviving, such as using Queens College as a shelter during Hurricane Sandy, served as a catalyst for new development.
“It’s a great idea, a club learning from activities and actions instead of someone speaking,” senior, Avi Kopelowitz said.
Growing food locally, treating wounds, knot tying, orienteering, water purification and archery were just a few of the points that were brought about by students. Looking to modern culture and media, the idea of urban survival has become somewhat of a phenomenon. Television shows and movies like “The Walking Dead” and “The Hunger Games” seem to promote these ideas. Additionally, the class attended a demonstration on how to start a fire.
“We want to build a network of like-minded people, with an interest in learning how to survive and fully live in modern times,” club secretary, Katherine Bryson said.
Toward the end of the fall 2013 semester, the club was proposed to the Urban Studies department. It will be presented this month to the student club panel.
“The idea was that re-learning old and new skills could be a great way to empower ourselves now,” Wakefield said. “They are skills all human communities except ours have known and passed down through generations.”