10th Annual Earth Day Environmental Justice Conference

Kent State University at East Liverpool would like to announce the call for student papers, posters and online presentations for the annual Earth Day Environmental Justice Conference. The event will be in memory of Dr. Roxanne Burns and will be held on April 25th, 2015 in the “Slak Shak” located in Purinton Hall. The conference will begin at 8 a.m. and proceed until 2 p.m.Dr. Roxanne Burns at various Environmental Justice Earth Day Conferences

The essay, poster and presentation contest will award prizes for submissions about environmental justice issues in these five categories:
  • Science-based essays that synthesize research and sources based on evidence;
  • Sociology and Psychology essays based on environmental justice research;
  • Personal essays citing research and personal experience, or a fully personal essay;
  • Humanities/Academic essays synthesizing literature, history, etc.
  • Poster or online presentations or essays: Self-explanatory poster, essay, power point or other digital media presentation accompanied by citations; Trifold posters set up the day of the conference with citations.
Guidelines for submission:
  • Essays should be eight to 10 pages in length, equivalent to a 15 to 20 minute presentation.
  • Papers should include a cover sheet with name, title, and identifying information (an ID number and title in the header of the paper).
  • Posters not submitted online are due the day of the conference.
  • Online essay, online poster and media submissions are due by Monday, April 6th uploaded to: https://kent.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_411AwRNztJX3eGF

East Liverpool Campus Bookstore Vouchers will be awarded as prizes in the amounts of $35, $50, and $75 for each category.

Essays and posters are welcomed from all students including local high school students.

Kent State University at East Liverpool is located at 400 E. Fourth St. East Liverpool, Ohio.

Questions about the conference or submissions should be directed to either Dr. Lydia Rose lrose17@kent.edu or Dr. Patti Swartz pswartz@kent.edu.


East Liverpool – Kent State East Liverpool is preparing for its 13th annual Earth Day Environmental Justice Conference to be held April 25, beginning at 8 a.m. in the Slak Shak in Purinton Hall. This year’s event features four speakers and honors the late Dr. Roxanne Burns, a biology professor on the East Liverpool campus who helped organize the first Earth Day event here in 2006.

This year’s speakers include Ian Beniston, Jack Daugherty and James “Big Jim” London, all from Youngstown, who will present together in the morning; and Brad Melzer of Oberlin, Ohio, speaking in the afternoon.

Ian BenistonBeniston is the executive director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. (YNDC) and provides urban planning and neighborhood development in the private, non-profit and public sectors. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Youngstown State University and a master’s of city and regional planning from the Ohio State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and studied the European approach to reinventing older cities at the Technical University of Dresden in Dresden, Germany.

Beniston and his partners at the YNDC were recognized for their efforts to restore Youngstown neighborhoods through strategies to curb population decline, improve neighborhood safety and increase community pride.

Jack Daugherty Daugherty is the neighborhood stabilization director for the YNDC, leading a team of professionals in implementing and planning neighborhood stabilization programming. He also leads the pursuit of grant funding and develops new strategic initiatives.

Daugherty was born and raised in Youngstown and, most recently, worked in Buffalo, N.Y., on a HUD Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan. He earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in geography and sociology from SUNY Buffalo, as well as a master’s of urban planning.

James "Big Jim" London London is the founder, president and driving force behind the Idora Neighborhood Association in Youngstown, a nonprofit organization formed in 2007. Intent on starting an association hailed by civic leaders as a model for other groups in Youngstown, London focused his energy on the INA and organizations under its umbrella, all staffed by volunteers.

Over the years, the association received generous grants to supports its efforts and its impact has been extraordinary. The group worked with various organizations on several rehabilitation and beautification projects and London is a “grassroots leadership model” who has helped others make positive changes in their neighborhoods and advocate positive change through determination. He is regarded as a positive influence and a major community hero.

Aside from his work with the association, he is the leader of the award-winning Idora Wildcats 4H Club, which has enriched the lives of dozens of at-risk neighborhood youth by building strong connections between youth and community. His efforts have inspired a citywide movement to take action against blight and crime at the grassroots level.

Brad MelzerMelzer is the director and educator for the George Jones Memorial Farm and Nature Preserve in Oberlin, Ohio, a 70-acre educational organic farm and nature preserve. It provides space for students and the community to create a sustainable food system for northeast Ohio and beyond.

Oberlin College leases the Jones Farm to the New Agrarian Center (NAC), which operates it with an innovative community-supported agriculture model called City Fresh. A combination of Oberlin students, faculty, alumni and community members started NAC, the Jones Farm and City Fresh.

Melzer also teaches sustainability, biology and sociology at Baldwin Wallace University. He received his certification of permaculture design in 2010, but has practiced permaculture since 1998. Melzer worked on a variety of environmental projects that include aquaculture/aquaponics, community gardening, compost technologies, landscaping/tee care, organic agriculture and vacant urban lot remediation.

The day-long conference is free and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Student paper sessions begin at 9 a.m., followed by the guest speakers.

Jaimie Roy, a Kent State student, will make a special essay presentation that day.

Prizes will be awarded for student research submissions in six categories: science-based essays that synthesize research and sources based on evidence; social science essays based on environmental justice research and literature; personal essays citing research and personal experience or a fully personal essay; humanities/academic essays synthesizing literature, history, etc.; MP4 video presentations on environmental justice; or posters/-tri-fold posters with accompanied citations.

Essays are due by April 6 and must be uploaded to https://kent.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_411AwRNztJX3eGF. MP4 videos and an intent-to-submit form for posters must be uploaded by April 17. Posters are due and to be set up the day of the conference.

For information about submissions and/or the conference, visit www.col.kent.edu or contact Dr. Patti Swartz at pswartz@kent.edu or Dr. Lydia Rose at lrose17@kent.edu.