Macoskey Center documentary honors late professor and the center’s sustainability efforts

Published by adviser, Author: Jocelyne Lemay - Rocket Contributor, Date: October 22, 2014

On Thursday, Oct. 23, a new documentary written, directed, and produced by three Slippery Rock University students was shown at the Robert Smith Student Center titled, “Macoskey’s ALTER: Missionaries of Sustainability.”

Arthur Link III, a sustainable management major at SRU, Benjamin Beers, also a sustainable management and development major and Doug Drew, a communications major all had their hand in creating the documentary, which was taken on as part of their internship with SEA (Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator).

Dr. Robert Macoskey was ahead of his time in the area of sustainability, Link said.

“He brought people together that had interests in ‘hard’ science to work on problems that the solution could only be found by integration of all the people’s thoughts and experiences,” Link said.

During what Link calls “self-exploration” of what Macoskey left behind he said, “I can only imagine the minds and souls that he has influenced and guided during his lifetime and even after. After reading, researching, and interviewing many of the people that have been the heirs to his dream, I wonder if he rests easy knowing that his spirit is still alive in each and every one of us.”

Along with what Link conveys, Benjamin Beers also shares a vision with Macoskey.

“I want to people to see this vision through the documentary,” said Beers. “If this video can make people think about reducing impact on the environment and encourages them to get more involved in sustainability, then that makes me happy and gives a feeling of accomplishment. Now is the time to make a difference and this video should help reinforce that idea. ”

The whole idea for the documentary came about from the research the team did on the Macoskey Center. Beers said, “The team and I decided to create an oral history of how sustainability was brought to Slippery Rock and the people who helped pursue Dr. Robert Macoskey’s futuristic vision of alternative living and energy resources.”

It is intended to show people that Slippery Rock has had its hand in sustainability for 30 years, being one of the first institutions in higher education that did, and that the Macoskey Center is a great resource for that, said Beers.

The documentary highlights the 80 acres located just off campus on Harmony Road of what includes a greenhouse, vegetable plots, orchards, a compost toilet, wind, and solar energy systems that produce clean electricity. It contains interviews with a number of individuals involved in the ALTER (Alternative Living Technology, and Energy Resources) Project such as, Mrs. Macoskey, Ron Gargasz, Ted Kneupper and Paul Scanlon, to name a few.

The film is considered to be a short documentary coming in at approximately 30 minutes, and was created without a budget, with alternate money that was used for print services for posters and refreshments provided for the premiere on Thursday, said Beers.

Although Macoskey has passed on, his vision will live within the documentary itself. All three SRU students, Arthur Link III, Benjamin Beers, and Doug Drew share a passion, and vision that is similar with Macoskey.  The documentary shows how Macoskey’s legacy will continue to live on in the work that he left behind, thanks to the efforts of students and faculty that are determined to see it succeed.


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