What began as the Water Symposium in 2013, soon envolved into the Water and Land Symposium, which solidified as an annual tradition of scholarly activity at Kent State University.  Seeing the need for bringing together faculty and students of all programs gave rise to the Environmental Science and Design Research Initiative in 2017.  In March 2021, the initiative was officially promoted to a research institute by the Board of Trustees in an effort to assure allocated funding.  This coincided with the exciting announcement in 2022 that Kent State University moved from R2 to R1 Carnegie classification.

Now called the Environmental Science and Design Research Symposium, the event is an annually hosted conference on environmental issues critical to our region and the world.  The symposium attracts over 300 attendees from a wide range of institutions, and has become a central venue in the region for presentation of environmental research.  Each year the institute focuses on a particular theme for the symposium and invites a keynote speaker.  Other facets of the symposium include break-out sessions, guest speakers from a variety of universities around the globe, workshops, and a poster session that allows KSU's future scholars and fellows of the institute to present their research. 

The symposium welcomes contributions and discussions on all aspects of environmental issues, and from a variety of perspectives (design, social science, ecology, geology, art, etc.).  Speakers will address the theme for the year from a diverse range of perspectives.  The symposium's theme is also highlighted throughout the academic year in other Environmental Science and Design Research Institute endeavors, such as a gallery exhibit or visiting scholar.

We are always interested in new ideas and sponsors.  For feedback or to get involved, please email us at