(Posted February 28, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Lisa Detweiler, a senior from Berwyn, Pa., received the first-place award last night in the annual Juniata College Bailey Oratorical Contest by arguing that the best model for a sustainable planet is the simple blade of grass. She convinced the audience that returning animal agriculture to the act of grazing in the grass can transform the world. Detweiler, who received $1,000 for her award, and six other contestants were asked to address the topic \"What local and/or global solutions to sustainability challenges would you recommend and why?\" before a panel of judges and an enthusiastic crowd, Tuesday, Feb. 27 in the Suzanne von Liebig Theatre in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus. Elena Amato, a senior from Baltimore, Md., earned the second-place prize, receiving $500. John Peter Melle, a senior from Phoenixville, Pa., was awarded the third-place prize, receiving $300. In her winning speech, Detweiler said, \"Grass (based) farming is a method that considers the rejuvenation of our earth, as well as its people. It restores the life below the soil, allowing for more diverse crops to thrive. This allows the animals to medicate themselves off the nutrients of the land. No more drowning in veterinarian bills, no more ingesting harmful pathogens. I am the grass, let me work!\" She went on to say, \"Can you feed the people of the world this way? Is the grass farming method isolated to the United States?\" Detweiler answered her own question by citing the return of grass-based farming methods to agricultural operations in Inner Mongolia. \"Their lands will be renewed. Their cattle will not die. Disease will not prosper. Their families will eat,\" she added. Detweiler concluded her speech by saying, \"Sustainability -- go to the supermarket. Spend that extra dollar for local foods. Support the grass (based) farmers in your area who use grass (based) methods. Know that their animals were not abused. Know that you are ingesting the purest nutrients of the earth, and lowering your risk of heart disease and cancer. The root of all this is grass.\" Judges for the event were: Leigh Ann Wilson is a 2002 Juniata graduate and regional marketing coordinator for H.W. Lochner, an engineering consulting firm based in Chicago, Ill. She also teaches marketing courses at the Bradley Academy for the Visual Arts. Wilson won the Bailey Oratorical Contest in 2002. She also went on to earn a master\'s degree in business administration in 2005 from Penn State Behrend. Matthew Peters is a 2001 Juniata graduate, and earned a bachelor\'s degree in communication, politics and philosophy. Currently, he is working on his doctoral degree at Penn State\'s College of Information Sciences and Technology, where he holds the Lockheed-Martin Distinguished Scholars Fellowship. He earned a master\'s degree in media studies from Penn State. Charles W. \"Bud\" Wise is vice president of human resources at PPG Industries in Pittsburgh, Pa. He is a current member of Juniata\'s board of trustees and worked as a professor of business at Juniata from 1973 to 1979. He started his business career with PPG in 1969, working in a company glass plant in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He then became employment and training supervisor at the company\'s automotive glass plant in Tipton, Pa. He left PPG in 1973 and returned as manager of training for the company\'s coatings division in 1979 at company headquarters in Pittsburgh. He received a series of promotions and has been in his current post since 2000. He earned a bachelor\'s degree in psychology from Ohio University and went on to earn a master\'s degree in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh. The remaining four finalists were: junior Adam Stanley, of Huntingtown, Md., and Laura Drews, of Centreville, Md.; Magda Sarnowska, an international student from Mazowieckie, Poland; and Josh Scacco, of Lebanon, Pa. The original Bailey Oratorical Award was established in 1915 by the Honorable Thomas F. Bailey, who served as president judge of Huntingdon County from 1916 to 1936. The oratorical contest has a long tradition at Juniata College, as students from all areas of study can compete for the monetary prize. In addition, the name of the winner will be permanently inscribed on an antique loving cup.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.