Every year the CU Environmental Center organizes a campus-wide Sustainability Summit to share innovative ideas and celebrate student and faculty achievements in this space. This year, the event took the form of a Solutions Showcase held on April 21st. MENV was represented at the event by several students who were able to share their work bringing sustainability to life:
Brinn McDowell, who just completed her first year in the Renewable & Sustainable Energy specialization, presented the results of student-led work with the CU Chemistry Department. CU Green Labs has been running a pilot within the Chemistry Department to incorporate green chemistry principles into curriculum, including Introductory Chemistry (CHEM 1021). This program will create systems change within the university to educate future students on the impacts of chemicals in ecosystems, knowledge they can carry forward into careers to make positive environmental change.
Kiana Seto, Melissa Englund, Lorena Gonzalez, and Kayli Skinner presented Planning Today for a Greener Tomorrow: Urban Forestry, Equity & Climate Resilience, their Capstone project with The Nature Conservancy. Their work will help the City of Denver to “increase tree canopy and urban forestry benefits in vulnerable, underserved areas”. Throughout their Capstone, they conducted 53 interviews and completed a literature review of 178 documents to “identify promising practices and strategies for optimizing coordination, collaboration, and equity in urban forestry”. The result of their research is a toolkit, tailored for the City and County of Denver, to “build a more resilient urban forest” and “address inequities in urban spaces through tree canopy distribution”. You can find more details on their Capstone work here.
Ariana Borello, Maddy Nesbit, Daniela Uribe, and Alex Giles presented their Capstone project, Managing Urban Landscapes for Climate Action. They created “a strategy development guide that municipalities can use to identify climate action opportunities and quantify benefits of managing landscapes to enhance their roles in the urban ecosystem” in collaboration with their Capstone partners, City of Boulder and Urban Drawdown Initiative. Their team won an award at the summit recognizing their impact for sustainable change – you can find more information on their project here. The strategy guide they created will be implemented in municipalities across the United States and is being used by several 2022 Capstone projects that are currently underway to continue to drive climate solutions.
Congratulations to all of these students for being recognized for their work – they each represented the mission and values of MENV!