Fall 2018 Speakers and Events

Spring 2019 - Preview upcoming speakers and events here!

Also see additional events for the campus 2018-19 Theme "Changing Climates" here!

puerto rico
Dr. Flores-Rodriguez & Ms. Martínez -Quiñones speak about climate change in Puerto Rico.
meditation garden
Nicki Chlebek '16 sits in her newly established meditation garden
SSC Apple Gleaning
Joe Daniels '13 assists with hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico while working with US EPA.


September 2018


Human Rights and Environmental Justice Workshop
Thursday, September 13, 2018
4:30-7:00 p.m.
Hansen Student Center

Workshop on human rights and environmental justice with breakout sessions on various issues. Dinner included. More information to come! Sponsored by the Center for Human Rights. 


Annual Environmental Studies Picnic 
Sunday, September 16, 2018
4:30-6:30 p.m.
Sugar Grove Nature Center

The Environmental Studies Program will host its annual picnic at the Sugar Grove Nature Center. This is a great time to gather outdoors, meet new people, and enjoy some down time with your ES faculty and fellow students. Basic staples of burgers (locally sourced) and veggie burgers, as well as drinks will be provided. Faculty and students are encouraged to bring a potluck item to share. In years past, this has been an opportunity for a great feast. So come and join in on the fun! Transportation will be provided from campus, if RSVP in advance (departing 4p, returning 7p). Sponsored by the IWU Environmental Studies Program.

"Coping with a Changing Climate"
Speaker: Dr. Jeff Walk, Director of Conservation for the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy
Monday, September 17, 2018

7 p.m.
Center for Natural Sciences (CNS) C101
Illinois Wesleyan University

Dr. Walk is the lead author of a report that assessed the vulnerability to climate change of “Species in Greatest Need of Conservation” designated in the Illinois’ Wildlife Action Plan.  He will discuss The Nature Conservancy's “Conserving Nature’s Stage” initiative, which focuses conservation efforts on the physical factors (e.g., landform, bedrock, soil, and topography) that actually create biodiversity, giving species and natural communities the best chance to rearrange themselves as the climate changes.  In addition, Dr. Walk will discuss a wind energy siting tool that will be used in Illinois and 18 other states this fall. This event is free and open to all at IWU and the public. Co-sponsored by the IWU Environmental Studies Program, the IWU Biology Department and the JWP Audubon Society


Wild and Scenic Film Festival 
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
7-9:30 p.m. 
Normal Theater, Normal, IL
Tickets $10 (available in advance here, or at the door)

The Normal Theater and Prairie Rivers Network are excited to bring one of the largest environmental film festivals to Illinois. Now in its second year, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival focuses on 11 short films which speak to the environmental concerns and celebrations of our planet. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. All proceeds will go towards  benefiting the Prairie Rivers Network.  Your donation fights water pollution, protects our rivers and stream, and restores wildlife habitat throughout Illinois. More information on the film festival is available at prairierivers.org/wsff.


"Encountering Climate Change on the Ground: What IWU Students Learned in Vietnam and South Africa This Summer"
Thursday, September 27, 2018
4-5 p.m.
State Farm Hall 206 
Illinois Wesleyan University
What happens when a global city runs out of water? What happens when sea level rise and drought lead to significant crop losses in a country’s primary agricultural base? And what happens when rapid urbanization and climate change converge to overwhelm a city’s infrastructure?  In May 2018, two IWU May Term classes confronted these and related questions when they came face to face with climate change on the ground in two developing countries: Vietnam and South Africa. The classes were: ENST 375: Vietnam Today: Addressing the Challenges of Sustainable Development; (led by Professors Abigail Jahiel and Aaron Wilson); and PSCI 217: South Africa: Spaces of Citizenship (led by Professors William Munro and Ilaria Ossella-Durbal). Join students from these classes for a joint presentation/discussion on their experiences and what they learned.  This event is free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by the IWU Environmental Studies Program and the IWU Political Science Department


October 2018


"What We Did Last Summer": Presentation by the IWU Freeman Asia Interns
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018
4-5:30 pm. 
Joslin Atrium, Memorial Cente

 This is a public presentation by the 2018 IWU Freeman Asia Interns. Interns will give poster presentations about their experiences while participating in the Freeman Asia Internship program. Refreshments will be available during the poster session. This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Hart Career Center.  


"GENERATION ZAPPED" Film Documentary 
(See website link about film here)
Monday, October 22nd, 2018
7-8:30 p.m. 
Ames Beckman Auditorium

GENERATION ZAPPED is a documentary that investigates the potential dangers of prolonged exposure to Radio Frequencies from wireless technology, its effects on our health and well-being, as well as the health and development of our children. Today we encounter a hundred thousand times the level of radiation from wireless technologies than we did decades ago, yet the safety standards set by federal regulatory agencies are outdated. New wireless devices such as smart phones, tablets and baby monitors to the latest “Internet of Things” continue to enter the market without any proper pre-market testing or post-market monitoring. Too little is done to ensure public safety and awareness. So how can we uncover the facts and reduce our exposure to limit the associated health risks during this technological revolution? GENERATION ZAPPED attempts to do just that. This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the IWU Environmental Studies Program and presented by students from ENST 240 Health and the Environment.  


"Climate and Society: our past, present, and future" 
Speaker: Dr. Amir Jina, Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago
Thursday, October 25, 2018
7 p.m.
Hansen Student Center
Illinois Wesleyan University

The climate affects our society and economy every day. Many assume, however, that it is only the most exposed and vulnerable countries who will experience the negative effects as the climate changes into the future. In this talk Dr. Jina will explore how none of our economies will be immune to climate change. We will see how climate affects the poorest societies that are often directly dependent on agriculture. But, climate affects even the wealthiest societies, through heat waves, cold snaps, or natural disasters, sometimes with staggeringly high costs. Recent research has been identifying some effects that are not obvious to observe. In fact, the climate in the past may have shaped the very level of well-being that we experience today in many parts of the world. What does all of this mean for the future? Who will bear the largest costs, and how can society act to reduce them? In the final part of the talk Dr. Jina will discuss some of the solutions, through mitigation and adaptation at many different scales, and the pathways through which they might be achieved. Dr. Amir Jina is an environmental and developmental economist. He received his Ph.D. in Sustainable Development and M.A. in Climate and Society both from Columbia University, B.A.s in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics from Trinity College, Dublin, and previously worked with the Red Cross/Red Crescent in South Asia.This event is free and open to all at IWU and the public. Organized by the IWU Department of Economics with sponsorship from the IWU Office of the President. 

"The United States' Role in Containing Climate Change" 
Speaker: Dr. Rick Duke

During the second term of the Obama administration, Dr. Duke worked at the White House as Special Assistant to the President, Office of Energy and Climate Change (2012-2016), and as the Deputy Director for Energy and Climate (2016 - 2017), where he helped to craft and implement the Climate Action Plan.  His domestic priorities spanned the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the 2015 budget deal to achieve long-term extensions to renewable energy tax credits, the Department of Energy’s appliance standards program, regulations on non-CO2 gases, and measures to bolster terrestrial carbon sinks and cut agricultural emissions. Dr. Duke also worked to support negotiations on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University, and in his current position at Gigaton Strategies LLC (Washington, D.C.), he advises philanthropies and international advocacy groups on low-carbon strategies. This event is free and open to all at IWU and the public. Co-s ponsored by the IWU Environmental Studies Program, the IWU Biology Department and the  JWP Audubon Society.

November 2018


"Force of Nature:  George Fell, Founder of the Natural Areas Movement"
Speaker: Arthur Pearson, Director of Chicago Program for the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
Monday, November 5, 2018
7 p.m.
Center for Natural Sciences (CNS) C101
Illinois Wesleyan University

Mr. Pearson is the Director of Chicago Program for the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, where he guides the Foundation’s support for land conservation and the arts. His talk will be on his recently published book "“Force of Nature:  George Fell, Founder of the Natural Areas Movement." The following information about his book was taken from the University of Wisconsin Press web site.  “Efforts to preserve wild places in the United States began with the allure of scenic grandeur: Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon. But what about the many significant natural sites too small or fragile to qualify as state or federal parks? George Fell was determined to save these places, too—prairie remnants, upland forests, sedge meadows, ocean beaches, desert canyons, caves and gorges, and the full spectrum of other habitats essential to biological diversity.  Force of Nature reveals how a failed civil servant, with few assets apart from his tenacity and vision, initiated the natural areas movement. In the boom years following World War II, as undeveloped lands were being mined, drained, or bulldozed, Fell transformed a loose band of ecologists into The Nature Conservancy, drove the passage of the influential Illinois Nature Preserves Act, and helped spark allied local and national conservation organizations in the United States and beyond.” This event is free and open to all at IWU and the public. Co-s ponsored by the IWU Environmental Studies Program, the IWU Biology Department and the JWP Audubon Society.


IWU Freeman Asia Internship Information Sessions
Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 and January 16th, 2019
4:00-5:00 pm. 
Myers Welcome Center Auditorium
Illinois Wesleyan University

Join us at these information sessions and learn all about the IWU Freeman Asia Internship Program.Thanks to the generous support of the Freeman Foundation, IWU will be able to support students to do internships in Asia for two months. This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are currently sophomores and juniors and who will return to the IWU campus for at least a semester following the internship. More information about the information sessions and the Freeman Asia Internship Program is available on the Hart Career Center website. This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the IWU Study Abroad Office.  

December 2018


Climate Change and Water Quality in Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City
Speaker: Dr. Thị Vân Hà Nguyễn from Ho Chi Minh City University of Natural Resources & the Environment (HCMUNRE)
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
4-5pm: Talk in State Farm Hall 102
5-6pm: Reception in State Farm Hall 108
Illinois Wesleyan University

Dr. Thị Vân Hà Nguyễn will talk about the impacts and challenges of climate change to water quality in Vietnam and Ho Chi Min City (Saigon), specifically.  She is an associate professor and dean of the Department of the Environment at Ho Chi Minh University of Natural Resources and Environment. In 2009, she was awarded her doctorate in Urban Engineering from the University of Tokyo. She earned a Masters in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of Switzerland in 2004, as well as a Masters in Environmental Risk Assessment from Chiang Mai University, Thailand in 1996. Her research focuses on water quality and water resource management, industrial pollution control, and sustainable development. This event is free and open to all at IWU and the public. Co-sponsored by the IWU Environmental Studies Program and the IWU Asian Studies Team of the International Studies Program.

Changing Climates Course Cluster Open House
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Ames Library
Illinois Wesleyan University

A variety of  student work will be showcased at the Course Cluster Open House from many different IWU courses, including several environmental studies courses.  For the ES Vietnam Senior Seminar Poster Presentations, the eight students in ENST 480.2 will present posters on their work this semester to address their collaborative research project question:  "How can Ho Chi Minh City improve its transportation system to reduce its environmental impacts and improve quality of life for urban residents and commuters? Free and open to the public.

Environmental Studies Signature Project Presentations

Thursday, December 6th, 2018
7:00pm - 9:00pm
State Farm Hall (SFH) 102
Illinois Wesleyan University

A two part presentation, in which the eight IWU students enrolled in ENST 480 Senior Seminar and eight Vietnamese students will Ho Chi Mihn City University of Natural Resources and Environment (HCMUNRE) will formally present the findings of their work this semester, assessing the environmental and quality-of-life impacts of the Ho Chi Minh City transportation system on this city of 10 million, and then reflect on their experiences working together and seeing first hand sustainability issues and approaches in each others' countries. This event is free and open to all at IWU and the public. Sponsored by the IWU Environmental Studies Program


Click here for a sampling of past Spring 2018 Events and Speakers