Actions Speak Louder than Words - Harding and the Community
Along with his work as a scholar and an academic, Walter Harding was an active member of the Geneseo community, participating in numerous events on campus sponsored by the College. As a Thoreau scholar, it makes sense that Harding felt driven to act upon his intuition and advocate for the issues that concerned him, such as the protection and conservation of the environment. Considering that Harding made a notable risk in making his political views known to the entire campus community, an underlying reliance on personal insight and a deep hatred of acquiesence became clear in his behavior. He was following his Transcendental background, and took the iniative to engage himself beyond the page.
Harding believed that the Nixon administration’s conscience was eroding, and felt an obligation to do something about the problem as an individual, acting as the quintessential embodiment of Thoreau’s ideas and applying it to students. At the time, much of the student body of the College was following suit and immersing themselves in activism, creating subjective posters (i.e. anti-Vietnam war and environmentalism) and putting them up around the college union for their peers to see. In fact, two Geneseo students, Mark Calicchia and Stephen Lambert, (pictured below) once staged a sit-in on the literal doorstep of the nearby draft board, opposing the draft both figuratively and literally with their bodies.