Conference Casts National Spotlight On UCF Sustainability

UCF’s work to build a sustainable future came under the national spotlight last week (June 26-29) at the Association for Environmental Studies and Science’s (AESS) annual conference.

The conference drew 200 representatives from more than 80 colleges and universities across the country to discuss the research and teaching underway on topics including fossil fuels, coastal systems and diversity challenges in the environmental science fields.

“UCF is really leading the charge on a lot of these issues, and I think many people were impressed by the work we’re doing,” said Peter Jacques, Ph.D., AESS president and a professor in the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs.

Guest speakers and panel guests included elected officials like Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla, a champion for land conservation, and keynote speaker Dilafruz Williams, a professor of sustainability education at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. UCF representatives detailing ongoing sustainability projects like optimizing energy systems at UCF included David Norvell, assistant vice president of sustainability initiatives, and Jim Bacchus, director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity (GEOO).

Orlandos Director of Sustainability and Resilience Chris Castro provides a tour of Orlando City Hall.

Ongoing educational programs and research surrounding Florida’s coast by the National Center for Integrated Coastal Research (UCF Coastal) was also presented.

More than just days of discussion indoors, participants also had the opportunity to see firsthand UCF and Orlando’s work to build sustainable futures for Florida. Representatives of the Arboretum led visitors on an hour-long tour of the protected lands that ring UCF’s campus, and participants saw up close Orlando’s Fleet Farming program transforming underused front laws into community gardens.

“We’re doing top-flight, world-class research and it shows,” Jacques said.



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