2021 HCLS Symposium lectures offered perspectives on fighting climate change

The 2021 Hastings College Lecture Series (HCLS) Student Symposium on Nov. 3 was a day full of lectures by six accomplished speakers as well as a keynote panel of faculty. The theme this year was Climate Change, and the speakers discussed their experiences with combating climate change, as well as finding passion and motivation to solve issues. Additionally, there was a sustainability fair in HSU where booths were set up to educate students about sustainability projects on campus.

“I think this year’s Symposium went really well, and all of our speakers had some fascinating things to say! Climate change is an incredibly big and incredibly important issue, and one that we will be coping with as a society for years to come, and this year’s group of speakers did an excellent job talking about Climate change, and what we can do to make our world a better place for everyone in the future,” said Emma Downing, a HCLS SS co-chair. 

The first lecture at 8:30 was led by Emily Cloyd and was titled “How we Respond: Climate Change, Community and Conversation”. The lecture was about the importance of combining scientific facts and information with communication in order to create change. Cloyd is an ecologist and climate activist, and the director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Public Engagement and leads a variety of different programs.

 At 9:30, HC alum Jess Benjamin did her talk “Ceramic Climatology.” As an artist and Lead Art Gallery Director at Creighton University, she discussed how her art represents her concerns about water usage in the Great Plains.

Climate activist and student Jamie Sarai Margolin spoke about her experiences with fighting climate change as a young person and the methods she used to make an impact and fight against her own climate anxiety. Along with her discussion about taking action, she relayed her personal struggles with burnout and emphasized the importance of rest and spending time in nature.

Judi Brown discussed the methods of using human centered design to fight climate change in an interactive presentation. She highlighted the importance of communication, language and collaboration when building sustainable practices. She outlined the ways in which the firm she co-founded follows the principles of human centered design.

Park ranger for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and HC graduate Laurel Kay Teal led audience members through a history lesson about the importance and evolution of the American West and the fight for water rights. She outlined the importance of water conservation, and the sources for securing water. She then discussed the importance of water to this day, and described the different systems and agreements that center around water usage. 

Katy Ayers, a bio-engineering student at Washington State University spread her passion and interest in all things fungi to the audience. She described the variety of different uses for fungi in the modern world while showing how finding a passion or interest in something can lead to great outcomes.

At the end, the keynote event was a faculty panel that discussed the impacts of climate change in a question and answer format.

“I think that the keynote panel was an excellent way to invite our campus community into a discussion about climate change, and bring a diverse array of inputs and expertise about climate change from our Hastings College faculty.   I thought it was a great way to end the day, and hopefully, it is something we can continue to do in the future,” Downing said.