October 16, 2017

20th Annual Environmental Affairs Symposium Meets “Tough Times” With Conversation

This year’s symposium, Environmental Engagement in Tough Times, will take on pressing environmental issues with an emphasis on their social dimensions, like sustainable housing and equitable city growth. The three-day event kicks off with a keynote panel in Portland’s Pearl District on October 24.

Lewis & Clark’s Environmental Affairs Symposium may be turning 20 this year, but it isn’t about to shy away from shaking things up. The event, titled Environmental Engagement in Tough Times, will run from October 24 through 26, and launch a yearlong series of events and projects. On the agenda: pressing issues that have been front and center in Portland and cities around the globe—affordable, sustainable housing and the environmental demands of a growing region. This year, the symposium will endeavor to engage the community across boundaries as it has always done, while taking its structure in a new direction: centering the ideas and projects of individual students.

The symposium will open with an evening discussion titled “Growth in Portland: Whose Livability?” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24, at the Ecotrust Building in Northwest Portland’s Pearl District sponsored in collaboration with Oregon Humanities. The keynote is free and open to the public, and transportation will be provided from Lewis & Clark’s campus to the event.  

“The keynote event will encourage everyone to start a conversation with people around their table, rather than a lecture,” said Professor and Director of Environmental Studies Jim Proctor. “Maybe those in attendance will discover that, even if we don’t see eye-to-eye, civil disagreement is a giant step forward in these troubled times.”

The evening will feature a panel discussion of the Portland Comprehensive Plan, a recent effort designed to responsibly enhance livability as the city faces anticipated growth. Panelists include:

The symposium will continue with several events designed to promote environmental literacy and leadership reserved for Lewis & Clark students. On the evening of Wednesday, October 25, two representatives from Oregon Humanities, Executive Director Adam Davis and facilitator Claire Barrera, will lead an environmental engagement training session. On Thursday, October 26, the symposium will host a project proposal workshop. Successful proposals will be funded and give students the opportunity to conduct independent research throughout the entire year.

Student participation has always been an integral part of the Environmental Affairs Symposium. Front and center in its planning are the student cochairs, and this year’s leadership team includes Julia Neish ’18, Juliana Prendergast ’20, Nicole Godbout ’20, Tarun Bishop ’18, and Arran Hashim ’20.

Students from across disciplines have worked to plan the symposium, including many Environmental Studies majors. One of the most interdisciplinary departments at Lewis & Clark, the Environmental Studies Program offers opportunities for engagement on campus, in the Portland metropolitan area and throughout Oregon. Its students find opportunities abroad as well: the recurring Mt. Fuji summer program is particularly popular, attracting students from many departments and fostering interest in environmental protection. With this year’s symposium, the department will share its ethos of engagement with the wider Portland community, and will help students continue that engagement in the months to come.

Environmental Studies Program

Interdisciplinary Programs 

This story was written by Emily Price ’18.