Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

University Newsroom


Media Contacts:
Shanna Yetman
Communications Coordinator
Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Kristin Trehearne Lane
Communication Manager

Loyola University Chicago’s Fourth Annual
Climate Change Conference to Focus on
Climate Justice Case Studies

Wide Range of Human Rights and Climate Justice Advocates to Gather On Campus

Chicago, March 8, 2017Loyola University Chicago will host its fourth annual conference on climate change March 16–17 at its Lake Shore Campus. “Climate Justice: The Struggle for Our Common Home” will feature speakers with direct experience on the front lines of environmental justice initiatives, including Mary Robinson, past president of Ireland and internationally known human rights activist, and Tokata Iron Eyes, a Lakota Sioux youth leader credited with initiating the recent grassroots movement opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

On Thursday, March 16, Mary Robinson will deliver the conference’s keynote address, focusing on the nexus of food, water, and poverty as they are impacted by climate change. Robinson is internationally known for her work in advancing social justice, including as former United Nations high commissioner for human rights, previous president of Ireland, and current president of the Mary Robinson Foundation—Climate Justice. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2009 and serves as the United Nations secretary-general’s special envoy on El Niño and climate.

Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Gannon Center for Women and Leadership, and the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund will co-sponsor the conference with Robinson’s address serving as the Gannon Center’s annual Ann F. Baum Women in Leadership lecture.

Day two, Friday, March 17, is devoted to five panels featuring scholarly discussions by academics and climate justice advocates on topics surrounding current environmental issues. Case studies on the Flint water state of emergency and Standing Rock will be paired with larger conversations surrounding corporate sustainability and visions for a just and sustainable future.

“We are heartened that global and local experts will join us in delving deeper into scientific and social solutions to the specter of chaotic climate change,” said Janet Sisler, director of the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership. “Our plenary panel on Friday morning will serve as a response to Mary Robinson’s keynote address and feature leaders in our communities who are already active and working to combat climate change.”

Conference sessions include: Innovation and Transformation: Stories of Corporate Sustainability and Organizational Change; #NODAPL: Voices of Hope from the Water Protectors; Experiences from the Frontlines of Environmental Justice; and a documentary screening and discussion of the film Here’s to Flint. Attendees will also experience a climate change-focused performance by Loyola’s University Chorale and dance students as well as a research-centered poster session showcasing student and faculty research.

“Historically, this conference has featured a variety of thought leaders, including environmental scientists, theologians, sociologists, and members of the Society of Jesus,” said Nancy Tuchman, PhD, dean of Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability. “We want to continue giving our students and attendees the opportunity to hear from a variety of voices, so we have included a number of academic, business, and community leaders, including Kim Wasserman of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and Olga Bautista of the Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke—leaders who positively impacted their communities following serious environmental hazards.”

With its long-standing commitment to sustainability initiatives, Loyola is well positioned to host this important annual discussion on sustainability and the environment. In addition to its biodiesel lab, the Institute of Environmental Sustainability boasts a renowned facility that is LEED Gold certified and contains clean energy labs, a green house, aquaponics systems, and many sustainable features including one of the region’s largest geothermal heating and cooling installations, rainwater harvesting, and high-efficiency heat-recovery technology.

Other conference sponsors include: Baxter Healthcare, Iroquois Valley Farms, Green Grease Environmental, the Consulate General of Canada, and Loyola University Chicago’s Fellowship Office. The keynote event and panel discussions are open to the general public with registration. For more information, including costs and schedules, visit LUC.edu/climate.

About the Loyola University Chicago Institute of Environmental Sustainability
The Institute of Environmental Sustainability was founded in 2013 with the mission to engage students in understanding and responding to local and global environmental issues. The institute delivers core environmental science degrees to more than 320 of Loyola’s undergraduate students and prepares them for socially responsible professions in environmental science, policy, public health, and sustainable business practices. The institute aims to advance the knowledge of environmental problems and develop solutions through original research, community action, student internships, and the annual Climate Change Conference. To learn more about the institute, visit LUC.edu/sustainability, “like” us at Facebook.com/LoyolaIES, or follow us on Twitter via @GreenLoyola.

About Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with nearly 16,500 students. More than 11,000 undergraduates call Loyola home. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Beijing, China; Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Vernon Hills, Illinois (Cuneo Mansion and Gardens); and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The University features 11 schools and colleges, including the Quinlan School of Business, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Stritch School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Education, School of Law, School of Social Work, Graduate School, and Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago. Ranked a top 100 national university by U.S. News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. To learn more about Loyola, visit LUC.edu, “like” us at Facebook.com/LoyolaChicago, or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaChicago or @LoyolaNewsroom.

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