University News

"Take Back Your Time" Coordinator to Speak at Western

April 9, 2009

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MACOMB, IL – We have sleep deficits, time deficits, guilt about working and the list goes on and on. Award-winning filmmaker and author John de Graaf will discuss how to take back our time, and other social and environmental issues facing society, Wednesday and Thursday, April 15-16 at Western Illinois University's Macomb campus.

Hosted by Western's Program for the Study of Ethics, de Graaf, the producer of "Affluenza!" and numerous other documentaries dealing with social justice issues, will kick off his campus visit with "Filmmaking and Social Justice: An Evening With John de Graff" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 15 in the University Union Sandburg Theatre. Other discussions include "In Defense of Leisure: Take Back Your Time" at 8 a.m. in Currens Hall 203, and "Walking A Fine Line: The Intersection of Journalism With Social Change Activism" at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 16 in Simpkins Hall 27.

de Graaf, the national coordinator of "Take Back Your Time," a nonprofit organization that advocates for guaranteed paid vacation time and other measures to help reduce 'time poverty," will also present the relationship between time poverty, overwork and health on at 9:30 a.m. Thursday April 16 in Stipes Hall 121.

In addition, four of de Graaf's films will be shown both days in Stipes Hall 121. Film showings and times include: "Buyer Be Fair: The Promise of Product Certification," which addresses the issue of fair trade, 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. April 15 and 8 a.m. April 16; "What's the Economy For, Anyway?", 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. April 15; "Silent Killer: The Unfinished Campaign Against Hunger" 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. April 15; and "The Motherhood Manifesto," about the challenges faced by working mothers, will be shown at noon April 15 and 11 a.m. April 16.

According to Gordon Rands, associate professor of management and co-director of Western's Program for the Study of Ethics, de Graaf's films challenge viewers to consider what the outcomes of taken-for-granted social arrangements are, how these impacts affect our lives and how we could make changes that would improve the lives of all citizens. His newest film, "What's the Economy for, Anyway?" asks viewers to consider what we want from the economy, what broader purposes it should fulfill and what we should do if we find it lacking.

For more information, contact Rands at or (309) 298-1342.

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing