On Feb. 11, the University of Louisville participated in the National Climate Change Teach-In.  As student organizers of the event, we joined with students, staff and faculty from more than 2,000 colleges and universities across the country, making this effort the largest of its kind in history.

Keith Mountain, chair of geography and geosciences at UofL and Kentucky state geographer, kicked off the event with an opening lecture on climate change. Next Sarah Lynn Cunningham and George Perkins, local experts on the topic, joined Mountain for a discussion of the effects of climate change. A student panel and audience members posed questions. Key question themes included activism and environmental justice, as well as beneficial areas of university involvement.

After the larger group interaction, students facilitated smaller, discussion-based sessions on such climate change topics as international perspectives, regional impacts, Louisville’s Climate Action Plan and UofL’s Climate Action Plan. Each session featured opening commentary by area experts and audience discussion on needed actions.

The Teach-In closed with lunch provided by Farm to Fork Catering. Farm to Fork partners with local farmers and producers to feature local, seasonal and delicious foods. Over lunch, students talked with the activists to promote local volunteer and activism opportunities.   

The day was a huge success, said UofL chemistry major Joseph Moore. Every presenter allowed me to hear an unbiased view of climate change and challenged me to form my own opinions – how refreshing!

More than 200 people attended, and armed with new information, UofL is ready to take action.

It is truly inspiring to see that so many of our students and faculty are stepping up to take on leadership roles in making a positive change in our community and in our world, said Kandi Walker, our faculty adviser and co-chair of UofL’s Sustainability Education and Research Committee.  

We would like to thank the speakers and activists who volunteered their time, as well as our co-organizers: Lauren Hendricks, Alec Smith and Daniel Thompson.

We especially would like to thank the many students who attended for giving us hope for the future.

Thanks to everyone who helped to make this event a success.