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Lehigh Professors Walk the Walk

Pondering the next class assignment, audiobooks and music streaming from earbuds, they head to the Lehigh campus. They cross the Lehigh River bridges, trod South Side Bethlehem sidewalks and take in the sights and sounds of the neighborhood.

Typical undergrads? No. They’re Lehigh professors who regularly trek to and from campus, rain or shine.

For April 7, National Walk to Work Day, we asked Lehigh faculty members and leaders who regularly walk to work to share a “selfie” portrait and a few thoughts about walking to work.

For some, the walk provides a chance for reflection and day planning. Others learn a new language, get exercise, stop for coffee or multi-task.

“I get to see, hear, smell and feel the community more intimately,” says Todd Watkins, professor of economics, who enjoys watching wildlife and minimizing his carbon footprint.

“Some of my best thoughts about my scholarship and teaching come from my walks,” adds Heather Johnson, associate professor of sociology.

 

Bruce Whitehouse, associate professor of anthropology, director of Global Studies

1. Where do you live/walk to/from when you walk to Lehigh?
My home is on Bethlehem's West Side, about two miles from campus.
2. Why do you walk to work?
Walking to work is all about multi-tasking. While I'm doing my commute, I'm also getting my exercise in and keeping up with my reading (see below).
3. What do you think about or do while you're walking to work?
I like to listen to audiobooks on my walks. Most days I get an hour of listening in. My favorite read/listen this year was Springsteen's memoir Born to Run. The Boss can really tell a story, and his reading of his own autobiography is outstanding. I even got it for free through the Bethlehem Public Library website.

 

Heather Johnson, associate professor of sociology

1. Where do you live/walk to/from when you walk to Lehigh?
I live on campus as a Faculty in Residence! (I'm the first—and to date only—professor to take part in Lehigh's Residential Fellows Program.) I live with my three kids in Sayre Village, House B! This is our fifth year living at Lehigh, and we love it!
2. Why do you walk to work?
I walk to work because I work where I live, and I live where I work! Lehigh is home, and home is Lehigh!
3. What do you think about or do while you're walking to work?
Just like most Lehigh students, when I'm walking on campus to/from my office, classes, meetings etc., I am often looking at my phone! Scanning my email, texts, Instagram etc. But I try to remember to put the phone away and look around me, because I love our campus, and even though I've been teaching at Lehigh for 15 years, the stunning beauty of this place never gets old for me. I think about my work a lot too. Some of my best thoughts about my scholarship and teaching come from my walks.

 

Todd Watkins, professor of economics, executive director of the Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise

1. Where do you live/walk to/from when you walk to Lehigh?
North Side, Historic Bethlehem. I come across New Street bridge (almost) daily.
2. Why do you walk to work?
I'm close (the option for walking is one key reason we moved there); it provides some exercise daily; I get to see, hear, smell and feel the community far more intimately; it’s a lower carbon footprint; I save hundreds in gas and thousands of miles wear and tear on my car yearly compared to when I lived farther away; plus I simply enjoy being outside and seeing the river and sometimes wildlife, and people watching.
3. What do you think about or do while you're walking to work?
I travel a lot, so sometimes I try to learn basics of new languages.

 

John D. Simon, President

1. Where do you live/walk to/from when you walk to Lehigh?
I usually walk from the President’s House to Saxby's and then to the office.
2. Why do you walk to work?
It's the only quiet time I get during the day.
3. What do you think about or do while you're walking to work?
I get to walk down Leadership Plaza, and I think of what all of our great alums have done for the university over the years.
4. Anything else you'd like to add?
Please don't put any stop signs along my route.

 

Lyndon Dominique, associate professor of English

1. Where do you live/walk to/from when you walk to Lehigh?
I live in Fountain Hill, just over a mile from the university.
2. Why do you walk to work?
I don't have a driver's license or a car, so walking to work is really my only option.
3. What do you think about or do while you're walking to work?
I listen to music. It keeps me going and makes the walk enjoyable.

 

Karen Beck Pooley, professor of practice of political science, director of the Environmental Policy Design program

1. Where do you live/walk to/from when you walk to Lehigh?
I live in West Bethlehem, so make a point of walking over to Lehigh when I need to be on
campus.
2. Why do you walk to work?
It's usually quicker, and it's way more pleasant, and it makes it easier to stop for things like coffee on my way.
3. What do you think about or do while you're walking to work?
I make phone calls or scroll through my inbox, or think about ways to make the neighborhood more walkable.
4. Anything else you'd like to add?
Students in a class of mine are tasked with that exact challenge, and are busy working on a number of things. A prior year's group designed and commissioned the mural that's behind me. This year, students are planning more murals and streetscape and lighting improvements. They'd love your feedback and involvement!

 

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