Climate change is focus of UTRGV speaker symposium during Earth Fest

UTRGV Earth Fest kicked off the celebration on Wednesday, April 20, on the Brownsville Campus, with a series of speakers addressing this year’s theme, ‘Climate Change.’ Adriana Treviño, a UTRGV alumna and owner of the FireFly PR firm, was emcee for the morning session. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

By Vicky Brito

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS –APRIL 20, 2016 – In celebrating our planet, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Office of Sustainability is hosting Earth Fest, starting with three speakers in a symposium addressing environmental concerns.

The theme of Earth Fest this year is climate change.

Speakers this year included Dr. Robert Forbis, Texas Tech University assistant professor of Political Science; Dr. Irasema Coronado, UT El Paso professor of Political Science; and Dr. Owen Temby, UTRGV assistant professor of Political Science.

Coronado spoke on the environmental factors specific to the border, displaying a picture of the border wall at San Diego-Tijuana, which juts well into the water and divides an open beach.

“I am an academic and activist and a lot of my research involves how to make things better and how to improve the quality of life for people on the U.S.-Mexico border,” she said. “I always take a binational perspective, because if we don’t do that, they’re not solving the problem. We live in a binational region and we need to take into account what happens in Mexico, because it effects what happens in the U.S.”

Each speaker conducted a question-and-answer session, to engage students and address their concerns.

Marianella Franklin, UTRGV chief sustainability officer, said many university departments and programs strive to promote sustainability programs on campus.

“Earth Day is a very important day for us at UTRGV,” Franklin said. “It is a great opportunity for students to come and celebrate this day and listen to distinguished speakers who have come and done research and are also doing projects with different organizations that provide regional and global impacts.”

In Brownsville, the planned outdoor symposium was cancelled due to the possibility of continued severe weather. Dinner and a movie started at 6 p.m. in the PlainsCapital El Gran Salón, where attendees watched “Years of Living Dangerously.”

The full event will be held Thursday on the Edinburg Campus, with the symposium from 9 a.m. to noon in the Ballroom, and the Outdoor Expo on the Quad. Dinner and a movie will be at 6 p.m. it the International Trade and Technology Building.

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