WASHINGTON: College discourse over food safety, courtesy of Bainbridge lawyer
Posted: August 30th, 2009 - 10:51pm
Source: Kitsap Sun
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND -- Bill Marler considers himself a “Coug — through and through.”
The Bainbridge Island resident earned three degrees at Washington State University, was the first student elected to the Pullman City Council and served on the WSU board of regents after making a worldwide name for himself battling E. coli outbreaks as a food safety lawyer.
So when his alma mater announced budget constraints would force it to cancel this year’s freshman reading program, which was to focus on a controversial food-related topic, Marler’s Cougar pride got the better of him — and his checkbook.
“They had already bought 4,000 copies of the book, so I’m just covering the rest,” he said.
The rest happens to be about $50,000.
But it’s worth it, Marler said, because the money revives WSU’s Common Reading program and puts copies of its 2009 selection — Michael Pollan’s biting critique of industrial agriculture, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” — into the hands of every freshman entering a university known for producing the best minds in agribusiness.
Along with the book comes a year’s worth of discussions and events, as well as a visit from the author in January. Marler is also bringing Pollan home with him for mid-January appearances on Bainbridge Island.