Loyola University Chicago

University Newsroom

Press Release - March 9, 2021


Matthew McDermott, University Marketing and Communication

Loyola University Chicago’s School of Environmental Sustainability Hosts
Annual Climate Change Conference Virtually

Multi-evening event features keynote conversations with youth climate activists
Dejah Powell and Vic Barrett

CHICAGO -- March 9, 2021: Loyola University Chicago’s new School of Environmental Sustainability (SES) today formally announced it will host its annual Climate Change Conference virtually this year from Monday, March 15, 2021, to Thursday, March 18, 2021. This year, the conference features the voices of young activists on the ground where real work is happening, including keynote conversations with Dejah Powell, Midwest lead organizer of the Sunrise Movement, and Vic Barrett, fellow with the Alliance for Climate Education, along with other notable youth climate activists. The keynote will be moderated by WBEZ Chicago’s Jerome McDonnell.

The conference includes a youth-centric keynote conversation, Accompanying Youth to a Hope-Filled Future, with additional evenings that include interdisciplinary panel events. The conference will feature scholarly discussions from academics, climate change experts, and youth activists.

“Across the country, the climate crisis has mobilized young people to stand up for environmental justice,” said Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, president of Loyola. “The School of Environmental Sustainability’s many initiatives, including its annual Climate Change Conference, play a crucial role in educating and inspiring the next generation of environmental leaders. Loyola takes great pride in being one of the greenest campuses in the Midwest, due in no small part to the School’s work and mission and our University community’s pursuit of helping solve some of the world’s most pressing and complex challenges.”

In December 2020, Loyola formally announced the launch of SES, the first-ever school dedicated to environmental sustainability across Jesuit institutions worldwide. The new school builds on the strong foundation of the former Institute of Environmental Sustainability and presents Loyola with the opportunity to increase its influence and reputation as a leader in environmental stewardship, scholarship, research, and action.

“Our dream for this conference is to spark conversation about sustainability and encourage youth-led climate change activism within our community and across the globe,” said Nancy Tuchman, PhD, founding dean of the School of Environmental Sustainability. “We are proud to represent Loyola and work towards creating a carbon neutral campus while propelling the discussion of climate change.”

Loyola’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its annual Climate Change Conference. Select buildings around Loyola’s campus house aquaponics, an ecodome, rain harvesting, green roofs, and geothermal heating and cooling. Additionally, Loyola offers more than 1,300 sustainability related courses, supports student-run farmers markets, and runs its shuttle buses on biodiesel produced on campus at the Searle Biodiesel Lab. To learn more about the courses, initiatives, and programs, visit: LUC.edu/sustainability.

Climate Change Conference Agenda:

  • Monday, March 15 at 6:00 p.m.
    The Climate Crisis: Global Migration, Race, and Youth Advocacy: This panel, moderated by Professor Kalyani Robbins, Loyola’s School of Law, highlights the unequal impacts of the global climate crisis on communities across the world.

  • Tuesday, March 16 at 6:00 p.m.
    Art as a Platform for Climate Advocacy: This panel moderated by Countertenor and University of Illinois at Chicago Energy Initiative Program Coordinator Thomas Aláan will focus on the role art can play in climate advocacy, featuring artistic creations that educate against misinformation and climate denialism.

  • Wednesday, March 17 at 6:00 p.m.
    Indigenous Youth Seeking Truth and Justice: This panel, moderated by Professor Michael Schuck, School of Environmental Sustainability, features indigenous youth activists who will speak to the roots of their passion for environmental justice.

  • Thursday, March 18 at 6:00 p.m.
    Keynote Conversation and Intergenerational Panel: Accompanying Youth to a Hope-Filled Future: This keynote conversation moderated by WBEZ Chicago’s Jerome McDonnell will include youth activist speakers in a discussion about their efforts for fighting climate change. Following the discussion, the activists will be joined by their mentors for a second conversation on the intergenerational effort it takes to fight climate change.

  • Virtual Poster Session: Tour the virtual poster session and see the kind of research being conducted on environmental issues and climate change by conference participants. 

For additional information about Loyola’s Climate Change Conference, sustainability initiatives, academic programs, and more, visit: LUC.edu/climatechange.

About the School of Environmental Sustainability
The School of Environmental Sustainability strives to create solutions to the stress on our planet’s natural resources, expanding knowledge in the service of humanity through teaching, conducting research, and sponsoring outreach activities on pressing environmental issues. These issues include global climate change, the food production and distribution system, conserving and recovering biodiversity, restoring ecosystem function, identifying emerging environmental contaminants, and privatizing natural resources. SES endeavors to develop a conservation ethic, increasing Loyola’s campus energy efficiency and transforming our consumption behaviors to conserve natural resources for the common good, for future generations, and for all forms of life on the planet.

About Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with more than 16,600 students. Nearly 11,500 undergraduates call Loyola home. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Vernon Hills, Illinois (Cuneo Mansion and Gardens); and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The University features 14 schools, colleges, and institutes, including Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School, Institute of Environmental Sustainability, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health, Quinlan School of Business, School of Communication, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Education, School of Law, School of Social Work, and Stritch School of Medicine. Ranked a top national university by U.S. News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. To learn more about Loyola, visit LUC.edu, “like” us at Facebook.com/LoyolaChicago, or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaChicago or @LoyolaNewsroom.