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Environmental Affairs Symposium

Environmental Engagement in Tough Times (20th Annual Symposium)

Lewis & Clark College’s Environmental Studies Program announces its 20th annual Environmental Symposium on the theme “Environmental Engagement in Tough Times.” Perhaps more than ever, environmental issues have become divisive terrain in the U.S., prompting individuals, organizations, and leaders on all sides to mobilize and fight. These actions may be understandable, but they exacerbate an increasingly fractured American society, where people rarely talk to those with whom they disagree. This year’s Symposium launches a yearlong series of events and projects exploring possibilities for engagement across these boundaries, in the context of the major environmental issues of our time.

Lewis & Clark students interested in helping organize Symposium this year: join our Google Group!

Launch Week: October 24th - 26th, 2017

Keynote Event: “Growth in Portland: Whose Livability?”
Tue Oct 24, 7-9 pm, Ecotrust Building, Portland OR
Admission is free and open to the public | Transportation provided from L&C campus


Tough, divisive times are plainly apparent today at the national and global scale. But they also touch down right here in Portland, Oregon, a city that takes pride in its commitments to livability and equity, yet where planning for growth—to some extent inevitable—has exposed big differences among residents, neighborhoods, civic leaders, and commentators. Portland recently approved a 20‐year comprehensive plan designed to enhance livability and equity in the context of large anticipated growth, but debates surrounding this plan can only be expected to grow as it is implemented; see one related ENVS student project here.

Environmental Symposium 2017 will launch via a keynote event titled “Growth in Portland: Whose Livability?” The event starts at 7 pm on Tuesday evening October 24, 2017, in the Ecotrust building in downtown Portland (721 NW 9th Ave.). The event has been organized in collaboration with Oregon Humanities, whose Conversation Project encourages engagement across difference on a variety of themes. The evening event features a brief panel discussion on the Portland comprehensive plan, and opportunity for those in attendance to gain skills in engagement by conversing with each other. Panelists include:

Wed & Thu Oct 25-26: Followup Events for L&C Community

Symposium launch week will also include events for the L&C community to gain skills in environmental engagement, and to prepare to submit proposals for followup events and projects during the 2017-18 academic year, including:

  • Wed 5-9 pm: Environmental engagement training (with light meal), co-facilitated by ENVS and Oregon Humanities
  • Thu 4:30-7:30 pm: Engagement event/project proposal workshop and Symposium banquet

More details on these followup events will be provided soon.

Student-Organized Engagement Events & Projects

Lewis & Clark students have the opportunity to organize environmental engagement events & projects throughout the 2017-18 academic year, following Symposium launch week in October. Interested students are strongly urged to attend an engagement training (such as on Wed Oct 25), and must participate in a proposal process, for which final decision rests with faculty in the ENVS Program.

Here are the two options:

  1. EVENTS are one-time engagement activities (e.g., for an evening or weekend) for which documented reimbursements up to $250 are supported.
  2. PROJECTS are ongoing engagement projects (e.g., for one semester or the entire year) for which scholarly stipends of $500 per semester are provided—note that this amount is the total stipend per project, so per-student stipends for group-based projects are less.

Both events and projects must follow the approach to environmental engagement summarized here. We urge interested students to attend the proposal workshop on Thu Oct 26 for guidance and feedback.

To submit a proposal, click here. A PDF version of the proposal (draft 9/5/17; note different sections at end for events vs. projects) is here. Proposals will be accepted on an ongoing basis following launch week; decisions will typically be made within one week. For further information, please contact the ENVS Program.

Environmental Affairs Symposium

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