2020 Environmental Justice Conference Held Remotely
Kent State East Liverpool’s Environmental Justice Conference was held April 18, but in a remote format that was unlike any previous conference held over the last 15 years.
Through the wonders of technology, this year’s conference was held in a webinar format, allowing presenters and guests to attend from their own personal off-campus locations.
This year’s theme was “The Birds and The Bees,” focusing on the importance of these species to the balance of our environments and the world’s ecosystems.
After months of planning, the conference almost came to a halt once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The committee members quickly switched gears and refused to cancel the annual event. Instead, they spent hours and hours researching available technology; finding online TED talks to replace scheduled speakers; and encouraging students to participate.
In the end, the remote conference was a huge success and well-attended.
The conference included student presentations; three TED talks about birds and bees; a yoga session that had participants humming like bees (which was great for attendees who were sitting for hours); an open discussion among participants; and the announcement of award winners.
Even though the conference was held in a webinar format, there were 50 attendees; 28 student presentations; 32 poster submissions; 25 paper submissions; and several faculty and staff volunteers.
Student award winners included:
Nicole Fazio, first place for “Bees, Our Food System and Human Manipulation;” and Carlye Neaffer, second place for “Climate Change and the Future: ‘The Talk’ No One Wants to Have.”
There were four honorable mention winners in the poster competition: Derek Firth for “Killer Bees…When Eco-Activism Turns to Eco-Terrorism;” Ashley Krieger for “Poultry: An Environmental Punishment?;” Phillip Martin for “Clipped Wing, Odd Duck, Lucky Fin: A Sociological Analysis of Ableism and the Disability Community Using Animal Metaphors;” and Brooke Thorne for “To Bee of Not to Bee…Afraid.”
English/Cultural Studies Papers:
Victoria Watson, first place for “Blue Jays and Human Ways;” Autumn Leeper, second place for “Bird Feeders and the Culture Around Them: A Common but Lesser-Known Community;” Sydney Pearce, honorable mention for “The Waggle Dance: Communication, Language and the Difference Between the Two.”
Physical Science/Sociology Papers:
Aaliyah Ruppel, first place for “Sociology of Bird Graffiti;” and Carlye Neaffer for “Climate Change and the Future: ‘The Talk’ No One Wants to Have.”
Cutline A: Dr. Darryl Hancock, conference committee chair, served as moderator for the Environmental Justice Conference
Cutline B: Attendees participating in a remote format.
Cutline C: TED talks were used as guest speakers for the conference.