Tag Archives: Graduate Literature Program

“Triple Divide” Shows in Indiana

CIMG1906A crowd filled the Indiana Theater last Friday night to watch the premier of Triple Divide, a poignant, visually striking, and informative documentary about hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania.  Told through the personal stories of resident Pennsylvanians, the film exposes truths about the Pennsylvania DEP, the consequences of fracking, the important policies and laws that underpin fracking procedures and undermine residents’ rights, and how the careless actions of fracking companies and the state government pose hazards to people, livestock, water sources, and more.

Concerned by the implications of the film, the audience joined in a two-hour group discussion following the screening to ask questions of six panelists.  Joining us for the evening were Triple Divide directors Josh Pribanic and Melissa Troutman, both investigative journalists for the PA-based Public Herald; Sherene Hess, a representative of the League of Women Voters; Gerald Smith, founder and member of the Coalition for a Healthy County; Cindy Rogers of the Evergreen Conservancy; and Gabby Lehigh, an undergraduate student of IUP working towards her BA in Anthropology, who conducted ethnographic research in Diamondville, PA to study the experiences of residents with fracking.

In addition to sharing questions, opinions, and thoughts about the film, many people chose to share

Audience members participated in a group discussion following the premier of "Triple Divide" at the Indiana Theater.
Audience members participated in a group discussion following the premier of “Triple Divide” at the Indiana Theater.

their personal concerns and stories about how hydraulic fracturing impacted their lives.  Panelists responded to each question in turn, and offered their own perspectives, as well as resources and information for audience members to access.  Most of the panelists and audience members agreed that exploring alternative energy sources such as natural gas is necessary and important, but not if it’s done at the expense of the well-being and rights of residents.

“I am very worried about what will happen in ten to fifteen years when Pennsylvania is kind of a wasteland…that’s just terrible.” Said Gerald Smith.  “At the same time…the [gas] industry is here, and they are creating jobs, so I am conflicted personally.”

Melissa Troutman suggested that Indiana establish a community rights bill that establishes local rights and allows residents to make decisions on their own.  Over 100 communities in PA have passed community rights bills.  She also announced that a Triple Divide website will soon be put online, where more information about fracking and the Pennsylvania DEP will be available to the public.

At the end of the evening we asked people to sign a petition from the Coalition for a Healthy County to prohibit all natural gas fracturing.  The petition is available here.

We were struck by how many more stories were left to be told by the very residents present in the room and were honored to be in the presence of our guest speakers for our panel.  We thank our sponsors, the IUP Graduate Literature Program, the IUP Women’s Studies Department, the Coalition for a Healthy County, SAGE, and E.C.O. for making the 2013 Film series possible.  We also thank the Indiana Theater for allowing us to use their venue for our film screening events.  Lastly we want to thank everyone who came to see Triple Divide and participated in the discussion after.  News of follow-up action will be posted soon!

Want to learn more about hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania?  Take a look at our resources page on Fracking to see a list of organizations and websites with information about the effects of gas fracturing on PA.

(Written by Lindsey Quakenbush, edited by Gerald Smith)


Ideas, Inspiration, and Action at the 2013 Film Series

The illuminated sign of the Indiana Theater in Downtown Indiana on the evening of the Center's first film screening.
The illuminated sign of the Indiana Theater in Downtown Indiana on the evening of the Center’s first film screening.

On Friday, February 22, the Center for Community Growth launched the beginning of the 2013 Film Series: A New Economy with The Economics of Happiness (2011) at the newly refurbished Indiana Theater.  The film, written and directed by Helena Norberg-Hodge, calls for the creation of localized economies as a solution to problems caused by globalization and transnational corporations, suggesting that we create a system in which goods and services are produced to fulfill real human needs, rather than to generate more consumption and growth.

Audience at 2013 Film Series: A New Economy - The Economics of Happiness
Panelists speak to over 100 audience members at the Center for Community Growth’s screening of “The Economics of Happiness”.

Over 100 people attended the event. During intermission a short panel was held on how to bring ideas of localization and sustainability to Indiana County and Southwestern PA.  Panelists included Molly Rush of The Thomas Merton Center, Craig Stevens of The Three-Rivers Community Foundation, Ian Haffling of the IUP Environmentally Conscious Organization (E.C.O.), Jane Baumer, and Professor Susan Comfort of the IUP English Department, all spoke at the event.  Audience members responded enthusiastically to Dr. Comfort’s words when she addressed the theater at large:

“I want us to recognize the wealth that we have in the people of Indiana county, and that there is real wealth here in this room.”

Even more ideas emerged during the group discussion following the film.  The audience’s drive and creativity seemed to know no bounds as participants mentioned everything from the development of local currency, establishing a co-operative food market, and starting community supported agriculture (CSA), to building more community gardens and time-sharing plans.

Panelists at the 2013 Film Series
Center for Community Growth organizers G. Smith (far left) and Eric Barker (far right) introduce panelists (left to right): Ian Haffling of IUP E.C.O., Professor Susan Comfort, Craig Stevens, Jane Baumer, and Molly Rush.

The inspiration drawn from the discussion at the Center’s first screening demonstrated the strength and passion possessed by the people of Indiana, showing that our community is ready and willing to generate a local, sustainable economy through cooperation, commitment, continued education, and action.

The Center for Community Growth film series will continue for the next five months until late July.  In March we will show the fracking documentary Triple Divide (2012) by Melissa Troutman and Joshua B. Pribanic, which focuses on the shortfalls of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection and the controversy surrounding natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale. Read more about this and all other upcoming films on our film series schedule.

Members of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s E.C.O. group tabling at the theater before the film.

We would like to thank our sponsors at the IUP English Department, the IUP Women’s Studies Department, the IUP Graduate Literature Program, and our co-sponsor, the Thomas Merton Center, for giving us your generous support and making this event possible. 

We would also like to thank the organizations who took time out of their schedules to table before our event, including the Coalition for a Healthy County, IUP E.C.O., Indiana Community Gardens, and the Federation of Democratic Women.

Lastly we want to express gratitude to all those who helped to plan the film series, and everyone who attended our very first screening for making our vision of the 2013 Film Series a reality.

(Written by Colleen Donovan.  Edited by Lindsey Quakenbush.  Photos taken by Lindsey Quakenbush.)


Baker, C. (June, 2012). The economics of happiness: A film review by Carolyn Baker. In reviews at: The Economics of Happiness.org. http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/reviews/nar-reviews