Students, faculty join Focus The Nation teach-in

BOWLING GREEN, O.—On Thursday (Jan. 31), Bowling Green State University students and faculty will be among those at more than 1,550 institutions across the country participating in Focus The Nation—a teach-in on solutions to global warming. Joining them for a panel discussion will be local leaders and University officials.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., nearly 35 faculty members will lead discussion groups in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union on various aspects of climate change, from polar bears to journalistic responsibility related to climate change to eco-fragile countries in the Horn of Africa.

From 5-7 p.m. in 308 Union, a panel discussion on climate change will feature BGSU students and Sheri Stoll, vice president for finance and administration and CFO at BGSU; Jesse Gannon, energy staffer for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio); Bowling Green Mayor John Quinn and Public Utilities Director Kevin Maynard, and Wood County Commissioner James Carter. Kim Peters, an environmental studies major, will moderate. The discussion is free and open to the public.

“We want everyone attending to understand how global warming affects all the aspects of our life and what they can do to help combat it,” said Jazmine Bennett, president of BGSU's Environmental Action Group and co-organizer of the campus portion of the event.

“The current generation of BGSU students will be affected enormously by global climate change. This ‘teach-in' will empower our students to be active participants in the critical dialogue about finding solutions,” said Dr. Gary Silverman, a professor of environmental health and director of BGSU's Environmental Programs. “We are looking for everyone to come not only to listen but to actively discuss these issues throughout the day. It's a wonderful opportunity.”

A free concert by local musicians will be held from 7-11 p.m. in the Union's Falcon's Nest.

The teach-in will begin with a live Webcast at 8 p.m. on Wednesday (Jan. 30). The “2 Percent Solution” will feature climate scientist Dr. Stephen Schneider of Stanford University and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Natural Capitalism President Hunter Lovins and environmental justice leader Van Jones.

The last component of the event is online balloting. Participants can vote on solutions, and the top five will be announced in early February. Students who vote will be eligible to win a $10,000 leadership scholarship for a project to be completed by the end of August.

Across the nation on Thursday, education and civic engagement will be used to provide a platform for students of all age groups to debate climate change solutions. Live and videoconference round-table discussions will take place between Congress and campuses.

“No other generation has had to face this kind of challenge,” said Dr. Eban Goodstein, creator of Focus The Nation. “We would be failing as educators if we did not prepare them with the tools necessary to meet this challenge.”

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Media Contact: Bonnie Blankinship, BGSU Marketing and Communications, at 419-372-2618.

(Posted January 30, 2008 )