National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Honors in Practice, Volume 9 (2013)


Copyright 2013 by the National Collegiate Honors Council


The recent explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was a grim reminder of the BP disaster in 2010, from which Gulf Coast residents and workers are still trying to recover. We all must have responded to that disaster with a similar sense of outrage as we watched the live underwater video feed of millions of gallons of oil spewing into the ocean and saw images of oil-soaked wildlife, coastlines, and marshlands. Shared memories of Hurricane Katrina heighten our collective sympathy for the people whose livelihoods this disaster still threatens. At the same time, our individual responses are shaped by personal associations—such as relatives living in the Gulf, memories of a beach vacation, or a fondness for Gulf shrimp. As students and teachers, we also cannot help but view such events through our disciplines, our majors and minors, the books we read, and the courses we take and teach. I imagine the oil spill has already become a reference point in classes ranging from Microbiology and Environmental Studies to Economics and Public Relations.