(Photo courtesy of www.ernestina.org)
Published March 3, 2005
In small community reporting such as that done at a college, it is inevitable that a subject of an article will hit close to home. Alan Hankin was my professor, but was dearly loved by all who worked with him on a staggering amount of projects. One such project was the recycling program at Emerson, a frustratingly slow-moving process which Hankin had championed as chair of the fledgling science department. When he passed away due to an untimely heart attack, it looked as though these two entities would cease to exist as well. This article captured an incredibly fragile moment in the college's history, and was a difficult one to write for me: it was, in a way, a sort of swan song for Alan Hankin. I was able, however, to use interviews that I had done with Alan while he was still a vivacious Viking of a man, holding court in an office strewn with ungraded papers and animal bones. Most importantly, I was able to imbue this piece with the warmth and personal touches that a person with more "objectivity" or "distance" might have missed. The emotions and the poignancy of the moment were, in fact, the point here.
As an ardent environmentalist, Dr. Alan Hankin involved many of his students in activities to discover their impact on the environment.
Hankin was faculty advisor to Earth Emerson, a student-led environmental group formed in one of his classes in 1997.
Hankin, head of Emerson's science department, died suddenly Tuesday of an apparent heart attack. He was 56.
During his tenure as Earth Emerson's advisor, he acted as a liason between his students and the college's administration.
One of the most important items on the group's agenda has been the creation of a viable recycling system within the college, a goal the group finally achieved five weeks ago.