Emily Ryan
The Commons

Global climate teach-in event to offer local perspectives across domains to worldwide event

Wed, 03/23/2022

LAWRENCE — Students, scholars, activists and area professionals will share short presentations about their research and practice as part of a global effort to facilitate discussion around solutions and education for the climate crisis. The climate teach-in will take place from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 30 at Maceli’s Banquet Hall.

Terrianne Lavin, assistant teaching professor of geography & atmospheric science at the University of Kansas, will lead the event in partnership with The Commons and the Environmental Studies Program. KU is one of more than 300 institutions from more than 50 countries participating in the events.

“Participation in the global teach-in solidifies the University of Kansas’ and the Department of Geography & Atmospheric Sciences’ commitment to sustainable solutions with respect to climate change, community, equity and justice,” Lavin said.

The structure will follow the format set by the global movement, initiated by Bard College in eastern New York. Broken into hourlong segments, each component series of the event will include five presenters speaking for five minutes each, followed by a larger discussion among panelists and with audience members. Each hour is organized around a central theme:

  • Adaptation & Mitigation, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Culture & Health, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Communication & Policy, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Presenters at this event represent KU, Haskell Indian Nations University, KU Medical Center, Clean Air Now, the Resilient Activist and Sunrise Movement. 

The event also will serve as an introduction to the ongoing research of EVRN 615, an environmental studies capstone course taught by Ali Brox. Students in the class are building a database of available courses across disciplines at KU that address dynamic challenges posed by climate change.

“Our goal with this project is to create a singular space where any student regardless of major can find classes relating to climate change,” said KU student Lauren Young. “Students should be able to engage with the topic within their chosen area of study and find classes that relate to both their interests and the climate. While our direct goal is to support students, our project also promotes courses from professors in other disciplines whose classes might be overlooked.”

Another area in which this event aims to create long-term impact is by building regional connections.

“As with everything we do, The Commons is deeply invested in bringing people together around common challenges toward more broadly informed and deeply understood responses,” said Emily Ryan, director of The Commons. “That this event builds a space for community and campus to come together with diverse sets of knowledge is critical to local awareness and understanding.”

To facilitate engagement beyond campuses and across domains, the event is free and open to the public. It also will be livestreamed. Snacks and beverages will be available onsite for purchase, and the Raven Book Store will also hold a book sale from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This event will offer an opportunity to develop new connections, regionally, in response to climate change.

Event participants include: 

Adaptation & Mitigation: Shannon O’Lear, director of the KU Environmental Studies Program and professor of geography & atmospheric science; Victor Hugo Gonzalez, assistant teaching professor of undergraduate biology and research associate, Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum; Emily Rountree, associate director, Center for Service Learning; Dave Rahn, associate professor of geography & atmospheric science; Ted Harris, assistant research professor at Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research; and Jack Harte, KU student in geography & atmospheric science.

Culture & Health: Ali Brox, assistant teaching professor in the Environmental Studies Program; Dr. Shelley Bhattacharya, associate professor of geriatric medicine, Department of Family Medicine; Beto Lugo-Martinez, executive director of Clean Air Now; Joseph Stegman, KU medical student; Simon Williams, of Sunrise Movement-Lawrence; and Sami Aaron, founder of the Resilient Activist.

Communication & Policy: Students in the Environmental Studies 615 capstone class; David Halliwell, third-year KU law student; Hong Tien Vu, associate professor of journalism; Trevor Lies, KU doctoral student in psychology and member of the Cultural Psychology Research Group; and Daniel Wildcat, Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation and professor in the Indigenous and American Studies Department, Haskell Indian Nations University.

For up-to-date information about this event, please visit

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