UO to host regional conference on sustainability in higher ed

Kelsey Juliana at a climate change rally

A regional conference coming to the UO in March will give students, researchers, staff and community members a chance to explore sustainability in higher education.

The Washington and Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference will be held March 2-4 in the Erb Memorial Union. Registration prices range from $75 to $299 dollars and are available online.

Locals can also purchase individual tickets at $25 each to any of the four main sessions: “Hiring: Chief Sustainability Officers”; “Nuclear Power and Decarbonizing the Grid”; Understanding the Crisis of Our Time: Writing about Climate Change”; and “Putting Environmental Justice Into Practice.” Those tickets can be purchased online.

One of the speakers will be UO student Kelsey Juliana, a youth climate activist and a plaintiff in Juliana v. United States, a landmark suit seeking to force a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions under the public trust doctrine. She will give an update on the status of the lawsuit, which recently experienced a setback when a divided Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that solutions to climate change can only be addressed by the executive and legislative branches, not the judiciary.

Prior to her talk, a panel of authors will discuss “Understanding the Crisis of Our Time: Writing About Climate Change.” Expert speakers include investigative journalist McKenzie Funk; geographer, glaciologist and National Geographic Explorer and UO graduate school alumna M Jackson; memoirist and nature writer Rebecca Lawton; and novelist and journalist Omar El Akkad.

The conference also will feature a range of educational content, including sessions with leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion, engagement, academics, operations, facilities, and students. They will share their experiences and recommend action on such topics as student-led initiatives, waste reduction, alternative energy, sustainable agriculture, environmental justice and more.

Participants can select from preconference tours on Monday, March 2. Student teams can sign up for a design challenge on Sunday, March 1, focused on the theme of reduce/reuse, with cash prizes for the top team to implement their project, program or product.

For more information, see the website or call 503-226-2377.