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Three ENVS students and an alum to speak at OHESC

Three ENVS undergraduates, Megan Gleason, Emma Newman, and Kristin White, as well as an ENVS alumna, Briana Orr (’11), will be presenting at the Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (OHESC) that will take place at Portland State University on January 31st and February 1st, 2013. The conference will bring together both public and private universities and colleges in Oregon to “facilitate information sharing, networking, and collaboration related to innovative sustainability practice and research among Oregon’s higher education institutions.”

Emma Newman, who is currently researching separated bicycle facilities with LiveMove for her honors thesis, will be presenting with two other LiveMove members on working to improve pedestrian, biking, and transit options on the UO campus and throughout the Eugene-Springfield area. Emma will also be leading a visioning session in the student summit portion of the conference along with Amanda Maxwell, Co-Director of the Cascade Climate Network. Session participants will work together to come up with a conference vision, which will then be presented to the conference as a whole.

“I hope to connect more with students whom I do not already know in our region who wish to create the transformational shift to a more sustainable, just, and livable world,” Emma says. “The conference will serve as a great space to share the work that we are doing and best practices, make connections for future work, and be inspired to continue working hard to create the changes we wish to see.”

Kristin White, who is serving her second year on the UO Sustainability Center Board of Directors and who spoke at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education 2012 Conference, will be giving a presentation entitled “Overcoming Silos in Student Activism.” Using the UO’s Earth Week 2012 as an example of collaborative activism that brought together many different student groups, Kristin will show how community theory can help create coalitions among student organizations working separately on related issues. Kristin will then facilitate a workshop so that audience members can discuss building solidarity around environmental issues among student groups on their own campuses.

As an undergraduate, Briana Orr wrote and received $27k in grants to improve bike infrastructure and support the UO Bike Program. She also co-wrote the application which led to the UO being named a Silver-level Bike Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. Briana now works professionally for the UO Bike Program as the Bike Program Coordinator.

At the upcoming conference, Briana will be co-presenting with Clint Culpepper, the supervisor of the PSU Bike Hub (which is similar to the UO’s Bike Program shop) about creating and growing bicycle programs on college and university campuses. Through a comparison of their respective programs, Briana and Clint will present the pros and cons of two different ways of funding university bike programs, and will examine the many types of services that bicycle programs can offer. Ultimately, they hope to engage the audience in a discussion of the challenges of creating and improving bicycle programs on their own campuses.

“I am humbled to join our great cohort of students, staff, and faculty presenting and representing the sustainability work we are doing at University of Oregon.” Briana says. “I’m looking forward to networking with our fellow OUS [Oregon University System] schools and learning from one another. And I hope that through this conference, we can collaborate to create change on an OUS level.”