Environmentalist, writer speaks to fellow graduates
Chelsea Losh knew satisfying her passion for reading and writing would be no problem when she came to Georgia College & State University.
The student figured, however, fulfilling her interest in protecting the environment would be the challenge.
As it turned out, Losh had no trouble finding the best of both worlds in Milledgeville.
Losh graduates summa cum laude Saturday with a bachelor of arts in English Literature she plans to use to increase awareness of the principles for sustainable living she was exposed to while at Georgia College.
“I feel like I’ve grown so much,” said Losh, who was selected from nine candidates by the faculty and staff of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society to deliver the undergraduate commencement address. “I’m ready to move ahead.”
She credits two of her professors in particular — Dr. Dan Bauer and Dr. Rob Viau — for helping meld her interests. The two served not only as class instructors, but academic advisors and life counselors, Losh said
“They opened my eyes and forced me to think about things differently,” she said, attempting to encapsulate all she had gained from her mentors. “They showed me ways literature connected to the real world. They pushed my limits on views about everything.”
Both sensed something special in Losh from their first contacts with her in freshman level classes. Four years later, they said she would be the ideal person on which to focus a marketing campaign for the school’s liberal arts mission.
“When we at Georgia College envisions the kind of student we want to recruit for the public liberal arts college of Georgia, as well as the kind of student we want to see on stage at the end of four years, Chelsea Losh should perhaps be our model,” Viau said.
Praised Bauer: “Our state and country need the savvy observations, the joyful demeanor, the keen intellect, the profuse energy, the humble attitude, and the unwavering commitment to creativity, social justice, and equality that a fine citizen and graduate like Chelsea offers in abundance.”
As an avid reader all her life, majoring in literature was an obvious choice for Losh.
“I knew I was good at it and loved it,” she said.
Losh was elated when she found her personal interest in the environment didn’t have to be satisfied only during semester and holiday breaks in classes.
“I’ve always had a passion for nature, to be outside and promote living responsibly,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to find anything like that here.”
Losh became involved with the Environmental Science Club on campus and later helped initiate the college’s recycling program. Through conversations, she found a couple of areas nearby practicing sustainable living. The results there have led to the foundation for her immediate career path.
She’ll start this summer with her boyfriend, Bobby Jones, by traveling the country — Hawaii hopefully included — as volunteers with the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms organization. The two have a table at the farmer’s market in Milledgeville where they sell organic bread, yogurt and cheese they made to help fund the upcoming journey.
As a devotee of Barbara Kingsolver, a best-selling author whose works have included the sustainable living the author practices with her family in Virginia, Losh hopes her travels will yield material for her own written efforts to further that cause.
“I hope to find things people don’t know about but are important for them to know and convey that in a creative and interesting way,” said Losh, who favors creative non-fiction when writing.
If Losh’s past is any indication, Viau said that will be a foregone conclusion for the future.
“She is one of the best students I have had the honor of teaching in the past 40 years in higher education, and one of the best persons too,” he said. “I will remember Chelsea many years after her graduation, and I trust she will make a significant mark in the world.”