CSU, Chico News

This Way to Sustainability Conference XII Kicks Off at California State University, Chico on March 23

Date: 03-14-2017

Michele Chandler
Public Affairs
James Pushnik
Institute for Sustainable Development

Climate change, green careers and new ways communities can adopt sustainable practices are just a few of the topics that will be explored during the 12th annual This Way to Sustainability Conference being held at California State University, Chico March 23-24 along the theme “Re-Envisioning the Future: Our Path Forward.”

More than 130 sustainability professionals will speak during the student-run event, which is one of the largest conferences of its kind in the nation. Attendance is expected to reach 1,500 participants this year, the highest attendance ever, and include business and nonprofit leaders, faculty members and students from throughout the CSU system.

“The conference is getting more and more attention nationally. It's a way of sharing ideas,” said This Way to Sustainability Conference Coordinator Teri Randolph.

The event is hosted by CSU, Chico’s Institute for Sustainable Development with support from the Associated Students.

Keynote speakers will address regenerative agriculture, environmental law, training the next generation of sustainability leaders and the effects of climate change.

In addition to the keynote addresses, more than 70 other sessions will be held during the two-day conference on issues including food insecurity, groundwater management, sustainability education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation. Workshops and panels will be held in the Bell Memorial Union (BMU) and Colusa Hall on campus.

On Thursday, a panel of six CSU, Chico alumni will discuss pursuing careers in the sustainability industry. Later that day, the Environmental Coalition of Butte County will host a community forum titled, “The Future of Wild Places.”

As part of the conference’s annual Greenie Awards, student groups from throughout the CSU system and youth from Chico’s K-12 schools will display sustainability projects they created.

Keynote speakers this year include:

Tom Newmark, co-owner of Finca Luna Nueva Lodge, a sustainable ecolodge located in Costa Rica’s rainforest. An environmental activist who specializes in regenerative agriculture, Newmark will speak on March 23 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. in the BMU Auditorium.

Mary Wood, the author of “Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age” and a law professor at the University of Oregon, has published extensively on issues related to natural resources and the climate crisis. She advocates for holding governments worldwide accountable for reducing carbon pollution within their jurisdictions. Wood will speak on March 23 from 3:30-5 p.m. in the BMU Auditorium.

Marc Schlossberg, an assistant professor at the University of Oregon, and Jessica Barlow, a professor at San Diego State University, will talk about using partnerships between universities and communities to speed the adoption of sustainable practices while also training the next generation of sustainability leaders. Schlossberg and Barlow will speak on March 24 from 2-3 p.m. in Colusa Hall, Room 100.

Dune Lankard, the Alaska Representative for the Center for Biological Diversity conservation organization, will address the effects of climate change in Alaska. Lankard launched several conservation campaigns following the devastating Exxon Valdez spill of 1989. Lankard will speak March 24 from 3:30-5 p.m. in Colusa Hall, Room 100.

Attendees are encouraged to register online with Eventbrite through March 17. The conference sessions are free for students. General admission, including faculty and staff, is $35 per day or $50 for both days.

For registration information and the full conference schedule, please visit http://www.csuchico.edu/sustainablefuture/conference/index.shtml.

People who require an accommodation in order to participate in the conference or who have questions about accessibility should contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.

CSU, Chico has long been a sustainability trailblazer andas a founding signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. The University regularly receives high marks in sustainability rankings, including the Sierra Club’s latest “Cool Schools” list.