Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium

 Higher Education connecting, collaborating and taking action



01 April 2016, 10am - 5pm 


Chatham University

Eden Hall Campus

6035 Ridge Rd, Gibsonia, PA 15044

Greater Pittsburgh Area


Early Bird registrations opens: 

February 5, 2016

Abstract submissions due:  

March 21, 2016

Join fellow students from across the state to engage in sustainability topics and discuss this year’s topic “the year of climate change”. This conference will provide students a platform to network and learn, as well as opportunities to highlight papers and projects relating to climate change. These opportunities include a poster competition, a break out session and two panel discussions (PERC Conference schedule.pdf.). 

Keynote speaker, Mitchell Thomashow, author of Ecological Identity, former President of Unity College, and currently a Sustainability Fellow at Philanthropy Northwest in Seattle, will headline the symposium, with his presentation on "The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus." Click here to visit Thomashow's personal site. 

Be a presenter--submit an abstract!  Undergraduate and graduate students of Pennsylvania colleges and universities are invited to submit an abstract for student panels, posters and roundtable discussions which will happen during Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium 2016 Student Sustainability Symposium. The abstract process for the Symposium is quite easy: the form asks for contact information and a brief description of your project.

Abstracts are welcome from students who are budding scientists, artists, activists, poets, entrepreneurs, policy wonks, carpenters, farmers, philosophers and community leaders. Abstracts must have clear connections to sustainability and the climate change prompts, which include social, economic and/or environmental dimensions. Abstracts may focus on academic research, creative works, co-curricular activities, campus sustainability projects, or community sustainability initiatives. They may be about completed work or work that is in progress. Proposers may submit multiple abstracts for provided they apply to separate prompts(presentation, poster, roundtable discussion.) The information below provides detailed information about the different opportunities and the abstract prompts. If you are a student who is interested (Click here to submit an abstract). 

*abstract prompts

Student Panels 

Student Panels : Two student panel sessions will occur during the student conference. Each panel discussion will include 4 presentations; these can be individual or group projects (groups are encouraged have no more than two presenters). During the presentation each group will have 8 minutes to speak, followed by an open question and answer segment. The presentation room will have technology for projecting slides and video from a flashdrive. The topics for the two panels are shown below. Submissions are encouraged from any project or piece of research that address at least one of the questions asked, but successful abstracts will address multiple aspects of the prompt. 

● Panel Discussion 1: Social impacts of climate change and its mitigation Present on a project or research that has examined or uncovered social attitudes or implications about climate change or its mitigation. Describe your work and its findings and share with us what you think the implications of those findings are. What might they mean for future action on climate change? What further research do they prompt? 

● Panel Discussion 2: Small projects, big impact Present on a small-scale project or research that aims to lower impacts on climate change. What changes have you made, or what have you been monitoring at your campus or locally based projects. Tell us about the savings it has created, and how it is projected to continue to make an impact as the project continues. How do the carbon reducing measures work? How could you see this small project scaling up to make a larger impact in the future?

Round Table Discussion

Students are invited to propose topics for roundtable discussions. There is no limit to the topics as long as they are broadly within the sustainability field. It is expected that each proposer would provide a small number of focused discussion questions and intended outcomes, facilitate a one hour discussion among a small group of Symposium participants, and coordinate production of a brief report on outcomes of the discussion.

Poster Competition 

Posters: Any student(s) who have completed a project or paper that has considered, aimed to reduce, studied, or focused on climate change in any capacity can apply to present a poster. We want to know how climate change has affected your project, how has it shaped your work, and/ or what you have discovered. Those accepted will compete for prizes including best overall presentation, best content, and creative execution voted on by fellow conference attendees and a jury. The size specifications for the poster are 48X36 inches or smaller.  

    In addition to the planned conference activities, opportunities will be presented to attendees to tour and view the many sustainable features across campus. Located 30 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus is enjoying its first full year operating as a fully sustainable campus. Built to be a living-learning laboratory for sustainability and food studies students this year’s student conference location includes many unique features such as the wastewater treatment system that utilizes a constructed wetland and an aquaculture lab. The conference will be held in the newly built Commons building which also includes many sustainability features, including an eco wall and data room where all the sustainability metrics on campus are displayed. To learn more about the Eden Hall Campus Click Here

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