Southwestern is hosting an “environmental summit” for high school students and interested community members on Saturday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the F.W. Olin Building.

Summit participants will learn about environmental issues from a variety of disciplines, network with students from across central Texas, and learn about activism opportunities and organizing techniques.

“We want to get high school students engaged in environmental activism at an early age,” said coordinator Kimberly Griffin, a junior at Southwestern. “There are a lot of high school groups that are doing great things for the environment, so we want to encourage and keep them interested by empowering them.”

Keynote speaker for the conference will be Tom “Smitty” Smith, co-founder of Public Citizen in Austin, a national non-profit public interest organization. Other speakers will include Laura Hobgood-Oster, chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Southwestern; Mark Lehnick, former mayor of Tucumcari, New Mexico; and representatives from Young Environmental Leaders, a group of local high school students.

Hobgood-Oster will give a presentation titled “Thinking About Food: Factory Farming and Global Warming.” Lehnick will talk about “Politics and the Environment.” Young Environmental Leaders will give presentations on volunteer activities and renewing the environment.

Registration is free before Nov. 3; after Nov. 3 it will be $5 per participant. Registered participants will receive access to the events, lunch provided by Chipotle and a complimentary canvas bag. For more information about the event or to obtain a registration form, visit You may also contact Kimberly Griffin at For directions to the F.W. Olin Building, go to  

“Those who attended last semester’s summit were really excited about the quality speakers we had and the information they gained,” Griffin said. “They also enjoyed being in an environment with other students who are interested in the same thing.”

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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