• Participants in the 2nd annual environmental summit for high school students pose for a group photo at the end of the day.
    Participants in the 2nd annual environmental summit for high school students pose for a group photo at the end of the day.

Southwestern University is hosting its 3rd annual environmental summit for high school students and interested community members on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the F.W. Olin Building.

The Office of Civic Engagement is hosting the summit to encourage environmental activism starting at the high school level by introducing students to environmental issues through a variety of disciplines and activities.

“I hope that bringing high school activists together will inspire them because they know that they are not alone,” said Student Coordinator Kimberly Griffin. “Also, I think Southwestern has a lot of resources that should be shared with the next generation.  I really want high school students to understand that it is never too early to get involved.” Griffin noted that the campus environmental movement benefits greatly from the talent and ability of the young students. 

Summit participants will meet college and high school activists who are working to fight for the environment in Central Texas and be equipped with the skills to affect positive changes in their communities.

The preliminary schedule for the summit is as follows:

10:00 – 10:30 Welcome / Registration / Coffee & Snacks

10:30 – 11:15 Various Perspectives on Environmental Issues

11:30 – 12:15 Discussion on Campus Activism

12:15 – 1:30 Lunch (Provided by the Monument Cafe)

12:45 – 1:30 Keynote Speaker (To be announced)

1:30 – 2:30 Concurrent Skills Trainings

2:45 – 3:45 Concurrent Skills Trainings

4:00 – 4:30 Next Steps (Prepare for future action)

4:30 – 5:00 Group Picture / Final Thoughts & Farewell

The skills trainings are hour-long sessions in which students will learn important hands-on skills related to environmental organizing and activism. Topics include campaign and event planning, messaging, framing and working with the media, organizational analysis and starting a new environmental awareness group. Members of Students for Environmental Activism and Knowledge (SEAK), a Southwestern student-run organization, will teach the trainings.

The Next Steps session will allow students to meet other members of their particular school (or from their area) and discuss what they have learned during the day and how they can implement change at their school.

Registration is free before Oct. 16; after Oct. 16 it will be $5 per participant. Registered participants will receive access to the events, free lunch and a complimentary canvas bag. For more information about the event or to obtain a registration form, visit http://www.southwestern.edu/enviro_summit or contact Griffin at griffink@southwestern.edu. For directions to the F.W. Olin Building, go to http://www.southwestern.edu/map).

The idea for the summit came from high school students in Georgetown several years ago. These students had connected with SEAK members and expressed a desire to have a forum at which environmental issues could be explored and where their own learning could be developed.  In 2007-08, Ansa Copeland, a former Southwestern student and environmental activist, organized the first summit along with Suzy Pukys, director of Civic Engagement at Southwestern. Griffin also helped plan that first summit. “The summit has continued, truly, because Kim has been willing to take the lead in organizing it,” Pukys said.

Teaching local elementary and secondary school students about the environment and sustainable development is one of the components of the Talloires Declaration, which Southwestern signed in April 2007.


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