Author, Environmental Activist Naomi Klein Delivers First Year Matters Keynote

Wesleyan’s First Year Matters (FYM) program is designed to help first-year students establish on-campus community connections, engage in shared learning experiences, explore new opinions and ideas, and acquire the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in Wesleyan’s rigorous liberal arts environment. The FYM committee annually selects a “common experience” for the incoming class as an intellectual introduction to Wesleyan.

This year, the Class of 2024 watched and discussed the documentary This Changes Everything, directed by Avi Lewis and based on the award-winning book of the same title by Naomi Klein.

View screenshots below and watch the entire keynote address online here.

FYM

On Aug. 27, author, journalist, syndicated columnist, and environmental activist Naomi Klein delivered Wesleyan’s First Year Matters keynote address, which focused on the disparate impacts of climate change on various communities around the world and highlighted some fundamental conflicts between global economic systems and efforts to combat climate change. Her book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, won the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. The documentary inspired by the book premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Phoebe Landsman '21, an environmental studies and government double major, introduced Klein to the audience. Landsman recalled reading Klein's book as a first-year student at Wesleyan. This Changes Everything "permanently changed my outlook on environmental and social change, and instilled in me a passion to pursue environmentalism at Wesleyan and beyond," she said. 

Phoebe Landsman ’21, an environmental studies and government double-major, introduced Klein to the audience. Landsman recalled reading Klein’s book as a first-year student at Wesleyan. This Changes Everything “permanently changed my outlook on environmental and social change, and instilled in me a passion to pursue environmentalism at Wesleyan and beyond,” she said.

Kevin M. Butler Assistant Dean of Students/ Director of Community Standards

Kevin Butler, assistant dean of students and director of community standards, is chair of the First Year Matters Committee. Butler organized the virtual keynote address.