LEWISBURG, Pa. — The following are Bucknell University story ideas that may interest you in December.
CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION — A recent Trump administration report has found overwhelming evidence that the effects of climate change are already manifesting themselves in the United States and the dangerous consequences are only increasing. As more severe hurricanes, and record wildfires and heat waves batter the U.S., there is an increased sense of urgency to act now to reverse these problems. Bucknell psychology professor Michael “Mick” Smyer has written in a recent Huffington Post op-ed that we are not taking enough steps to slow or reverse the effects of climate change. Smyer proposes that we should start with older generations as the leaders of climate action because, “older adults are naturally concerned with their legacy and with the well-being of successive generations.” He admits the challenge of getting older Americans to think about climate change is breaking down those “it’s an after-I’m-gone problem” assumptions. That’s why he created the Graying Green: Climate Action for an Aging World initiative, which aims to raise awareness about climate change to older generations. Bucknell biology professor Ken Field is also putting awareness in full view when he hosts a 24 Hours of Reality Watch Party on Tuesday, Dec. 4 from 5-9 p.m. in room 256 of the Elaine Langone Center. CONTACTS: Smyer, 570-577-1586, firstname.lastname@example.org; Field, 570-577-3814, email@example.com
YOU’RE STILL FIRED — Last week, General Motors came up with a new way to describe being fired: “You’re unallocated.” The automaker announced it would cease production at five plants in the U.S. and Canada and let go up to 14,000 employees. But instead of being straight with them, GM said in a news release that the plants “will be unallocated in 2019.” Kate Suslava, a Bucknell management professor whose dissertation examined the use of euphemisms in earnings conference calls, was among the corporate jargon experts who told CBS News that GM’s word choice was curious. “This is GM trying to camouflage something unpleasant and something sensitive. But it’s a new euphemism. I don’t have it in my dictionary,” Suslava said in the CBS article. She said the move falls in line with other companies’ use of euphemisms to describe shutdowns, everything from “rightsizing” to “optimizing redundancies.” “The idea is to try and find a word that will substitute for a negative word and on its own looks better. They are contributing to the long tradition of corporations dancing around the layoffs and focusing on closing down facilities,” she said. Suslava has her dictionary of corporate euphemisms for “You’re fired!” at the ready when post-holiday layoffs take place. CONTACT: Suslava, 570-577-3385, firstname.lastname@example.org
RETAIL’S HAPPY HOLIDAY START — Reports of the death of retail may be greatly exaggerated based on early holiday sales. Mastercard projected that overall sales totaled $23 billion on Black Friday, up 9 percent from the previous year. And Cyber Monday sales also broke a record, with $7.9 billion spent online. Bucknell management professor Jimmy Chen sees the trend of overlapping online and offline channels contributing to the consumer enthusiasm, making their shopping easier. “More and more, retailers offer creative and convenient delivery or return features, such as ‘buy-online, pick-up-in-store’ and ‘buy-online, return-offline,’ to further stimulate the consumers’ willingness to shop,” Chen said. “Retailers have cast an ever wider net to capture segments of markets in which consumers tend to shop one way or another.” CONTACT: Chen, 570-577-1678, email@example.com