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Colton Krial '15

Colton Krial '15

The Politics of Place and the Freeing of Political Discussion: The Scarcity of Public Space and the Searching for Political Discourse in Bethlehem, PA

Major/minor: Double Major in Political Science and Philosophy
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Project mentor: Dr. Khristina Haddad

Project Details:

  1. Briefly describe your SOAR project.
    Our project aims to determine the ways in which the built environment and urban design influences political capacities and desires. In our modern economy, there is much space dedicated to acts of passive consumption, but little space appropriated for action or political thought. We examine the roots of socio-spatial development, and establish a theoretical framework for analyzing the efficacy of public spaces.
  2. What motivated you to participate in SOAR? 
    After graduation, I hope to attend a graduate program for journalism. Journalism as a career requires rigorous research, note taking, attention to detail, and the ability to meet deadlines, and SOAR helped me immensely in all of these areas.
  3. What are the results of your work on this project? 
    The project itself came to fruition in the form of a written paper and two lectures, one given to the SOAR Committee and another given at the Landmark Undergraduate Research Conference at Juniata College. In addition, we established ties with a multitude of local political groups and have established a regular discussion group that meets weekly in South Bethlehem. 
  4. What are your personal takeaways from the project? And do you plan to continue work on this project after SOAR? 
    Unfortunately, I am graduating this year and will not be able to participate in SOAR next summer. But given the opportunity, I certainly would. Although I may never formally work on this specific project, my personal takeaways have helped shape and reinforce my own understandings of the world, and I continue to apply them to nearly every political situation. I will certainly never look at a public square or a shopping mall the same way again.

Biographical Information:

  1. What clubs/sports/activities/community service are you involved in? 
    I am on the Steering Committee of the Alliance For Sustainable Communities in the Lehigh Valley, I participate in a public weekly discussion group titled “Beyond Capitalism,” and I wait tables at the Bethlehem Brewworks.
  2. Have you received any awards/recognitions here? 
    I am in the Philosophy Honors Society.
  3. Briefly, what are your future plans and career goals? 
    I hope to continue my education by getting a master's degree in journalism. If I can carve out a career in the field, I hope to one day make powerful people very agitated, as the function of quality journalism is to bring accountability and transparency.