The first State of the Environment Conference took place on Friday, April 20th at the Walter Pyramid at California State University, Long Beach as part of the university’s Earth Week festivities. Hosted by the Student Sustainability Coalition (SSC), the conference facilitated a day-long discussion about the current state of the environment including moderated panels on sustainability in business, environmental policy, land and ocean conservation, and local activism. The event was open to all CSULB students, faculty, staff, and community members and strongly aligned with the student organization’s mission “to establish a reliable line of communication and collaboration between organizations, both on and off campus, that are actively involved with sustainability efforts.”
Organizing this full-day event took more than 9 months of planning by the team of SSC Officers, consisting of five young women from multiple academic disciplines who founded the organization in 2017. Working closely with their faculty advisor, Dr. Lily House-Peters, the students recruited guest speakers and panelists, secured a venue, raised funds, connected with campus and community partners, and marketed the event. When the day of the event arrived, it was clear that their hard work had paid off.
More than 250 participants attended the day-long event and another estimated 100 tuned in to the live-streamed broadcast. The conference kicked off and closed with inspiring presentations from keynote speakers, Andrew Ellis from the Climate Reality Project and Aaron Taylor, entrepreneur and Sustainability Consultant. Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in the moderated panel discussion covering topics such as Environmental Policy, Local Activism, Land and Ocean Conservation, and Sustainability in Business
The conference featured over 40 partner organizations (see complete list below) including the Port of Long Beach, Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, California Wilderness Coalition, Aquarium of the Pacific, and representatives from the Mayor’s Office, Long Beach City Council, and Senator Alan Lowenthal, in addition to several international businesses.
The State of the Environment Conference’s success proves the wide spread interest in environmental stewardship on campus. The power of bringing people with common interests together resonated throughout the event, leading to civic engagement, inspiration of the public, and project ideas that will lead to impacts across the campus and Long Beach community. The SSC has their eyes set on hosting another similar event next year!
For more information about the conference, the SSC or ways to get involved, please visit www.csulbssc.org.
Special Thanks to our Panelists:
LOCAL ACTIVISM PANEL
Ryan Serrano, Owner and Operator of Earth Steward Ecology, Long Beach
Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennet, Founders of Dream Team Directors
Claire Robinson, Founder & Managing Director of Amigos De Los Rios
SUSTAINABILITY IN BUSINESS PANEL
Micahel Bohn, Senior Principal & Design Director of StudiONEleven
Tom Bowman, President of Bowman Change, Inc.
Noam Krasniansky, Co-Founder of Bambooee
Renee Moilanen, Air Quality Manager for the Port of Long Beach
OCEAN & LAND CONSERVATION PANEL
Ryan Henson, Senior Conservation Director at California Wilderness Coalition
David Bader, Director of Education for the Aquarium of the Pacific
Katherine Sammler, Professor at Cal Maritime
Katie Allen, Executive Director of Algalita
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY PANEL
Justin Ramirez, Legislative Director for Long Beach Mayor Garcia
Larry Rich, Sustainability Coordinator for Long Beach Office of Sustainability
Monica Argandona, Former Assistant to Legislative Director for Dianne Feinstein & Advisor for Environmental Science & Policy at CSULB
2018 Exhibitors: Citizens Climate Lobby, Office of Sustainability, Battery Effect, Long Beach Bike Share, Stop Fracking Long Beach, Long Beach Environmental Alliance, Long Beach Water Department, Community Impact Foundation for California Community Colleges, Bambooee, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Food Finders, Cina Lightner, Food Finders.