April 14, 2011
On Thursday, April 14, Albany State University hosted their first-ever Environmental Summit in conjunction with the Humpty Dumpty Institute. Dr. Melvin Shelton, Director of the Velma F. Grant Honors Program and Academic Success Initiatives, graciously welcomed the guest speakers to campus over a breakfast attended by both students and administrators. Next on the agenda was an Opening Plenary Session, hosted by Dr. Ravindra Malik, Associate Professor of Biology and Summit Panelist. Each of the speakers gave a brief overview of their respective topics to be discussed in the afternoon sessions. There were a few questions from the audience, comprised of mostly freshman and sophomores, many of whom stayed after the plenary session to ask questions to our speaker panel. The students were enthusiastic and anxious to learn more about United Nations programs as well as ways to get involved in environmental issues both on and off campus.
The Environmental Summit Luncheon proceeded the plenary session, where Ms. Rochelle Routman of Georgia Power gave a keynote address on corporate sustainability and responsibility programs. This was attended by school administrators and about 30 students from ASU’s honors program. Ms. Routman is currently leading the Sustainability Working Group within Georgia Power and is responsible for integrating sustainable practices throughout the company.
The first Summit Session was presented by Ms. Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox, Head of Communications at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She spoke on the global role of UNEP and how students can get involved on campus. Her energy and passion for the environment was warmly received by the students in the audience. The next panelist was Ms. Eun Joo Yi, who works for the International Finance Corporation. She enthusiastically discussed pathways for a career in climate change and environmental sustainability. Lastly, Mr. Nils Bruzelius, Executive Editor of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), presented to the students why the 2012 Farm Bill, which is currently being circulated through Congress, is vital to organic farming and the environment. Mr. Bruzelius showed students that most of the subsidies that are supposed to go to farmers actually go to people in cities that claim to have farms, but do not actively work on or care for a farm. At the conclusion of the event, many students exchanged email addresses and phone numbers with the panelists to follow up with additional questions and internship possibilities. The Environmental Summit was successful in accomplishing its number one goal: connecting students with United Nations members and affiliates