Center for Sustainability and the Environment Announces Fall 2019 Sustainability Series

September 7, 2019
This fall, the College will offer film screenings and welcome experts to speak on topics exploring environmental policy, advocacy and engagement, as they pertain to fostering a more fair, sustainable and habitable planet.

The Wells College Center for Sustainability and the Environment has announced the schedule for its fall 2019 sustainability events, which this fall include a mix of guest speakers and documentary film screenings.

Held during the fall and spring semesters when class is in session, the Sustainability Perspectives series and Sustainability Business series bring local and regional experts to campus to speak on a wide variety of topics related to sustainability and the environment. The center will also host screenings of two films which examine the modern environmental movement. All talks and films are free and open to the public.

The first three events revolve around a "water" theme, in conjunction with the Smithsonian exhibit, "Water/Ways," currently on display in Long Library at Wells College through Sept. 29. (For more details on the exhibit, please visit Those events are the Sept. 9 talk by Daniel Rinn, the Sept. 11 screening of "Once Was Water" and the Sept. 16 talk by Lisa Cleckner.

Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, 12:20–1:20 p.m.
Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, University of Rochester
Sustainability Perspectives Series: "What Is a Waterway, Anyway?"
de Witt Lecture Room, Zabriskie Hall 106
A waterway is more than a means of transporting goods or people; waterways can transport ideas and culture as well. Through music, visual clips and art, Daniel Rinn will illustrate the reciprocal and ever-evolving relationship between water and culture. Rinn's talk is in conjunction with the Smithsonian "Water/Ways" exhibit, currently on display in Wells College's Long Library through Sept. 29; more info at

Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
Sustainability Film Series: "ONCE WAS WATER"
de Witt Lecture Room, Zabriskie Hall 106
Las Vegas, in the middle of the Mojave Desert, is the driest city in America; yet it leads the nation in sustainable water conservation. "Once Was Water" (running time: 55 minutes) follows the story of Patricia Mulroy, the controversial founder of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, whose leadership is shaping Colorado River politics, providing a path to safety in the face of intensifying water scarcity. The film screening is being held in conjunction with the Smithsonian "Water/Ways" exhibit, currently on display in Wells College's Long Library through Sept. 29; more info at

Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, 12:20–1:20 p.m.
Director, Finger Lakes Institute
Sustainability Perspectives Series: "Protecting and Promoting Water Resources of the Finger Lakes"
de Witt Lecture Room, Zabriskie Hall 106
Water resources are the very heart of the Finger Lakes region and its economy. In addition to supporting the tourism and agriculture industries that comprise over $3 billion in economic activity in the region, the lakes provide drinking water to over 1 million residents in upstate New York communities. Lisa Cleckner, director of the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, will discuss threats to the lakes as well as some actions that citizens can take to protect them. Cleckner's talk is in conjunction with the Smithsonian "Water/Ways" exhibit, currently on display in Wells College's Long Library through Sept. 29; more info at

Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, 7:00–8:30 p.m
co-CEO, New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC)
Sustainability Business Series: "Financing the Clean Energy Transition and the Role of Local and State Green Banks"
de Witt Lecture Room, Zabriskie Hall 106
Financing the transition to a clean energy economy represents both an enormous challenge and an unprecedented opportunity. Curtis Probst, co-CEO of the oldest "green" bank in the U.S., will discuss these trends and the role of green banks in financing the clean-energy transition.

Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, 12:20–1:20 p.m.
Executive Director, Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions
Sustainability Perspectives Series: "Our Changing Menu: What Climate Change Means to the Foods We Love and Need"
de Witt Lecture Room, Zabriskie Hall 106
Climate change is rapidly making the business of growing the foods we need and love less predictable and far riskier. Mike Hoffman, executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS), will discuss the challenges facing our local to global food system, while offering solutions and sharing information about the research and educational efforts underway at Cornell University.

Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, 7:00–8:30 p.m.
Vice President of Communication and Engagement, Project Drawdown
Sustainability Speaker Series: "Drawdown Rising: Solutions, Leadership and a Path Forward for the Climate Crisis"
Phipps Auditorium, Macmillan Hall
Humanity has faced urgent threats in the past, but never one as all-encompassing as the climate crisis. In this keynote, Katharine Wilkinson, VP of communication and engagement for Project Drawdown ( will speak to both what we can do and who we can be, in order to effect the changes that are required. She will share highlights from Project Drawdown's pioneering assessment of climate solutions, as well as insights about catalytic climate leadership from various people, organizations and movements.

Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, 12:20–1:20 p.m.
Associate Director, Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, Cornell University
Sustainability Perspectives Series: "Purpose-Led Careers: Fact or Fiction?"
de Witt Lecture Room, Zabriskie Hall 106
Is it important to you to work for a company with values that align with yours? Are you interested in a career that can have a positive impact on your community and perhaps even the rest of the world? Monica Touesnard, associate director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University's SC Johnson College of Business, will share with you a framework for thinking about jobs in the sustainability sector and provide some tips to help get you started.

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Sustainability Film Series: "A FIERCE GREEN FIRE"
de Witt Lecture Room, Zabriskie Hall 106
The first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement, "A Fierce Green Fire" (running time: 101 minutes) spans 50 years—from early conservation efforts to current climate-change challenges. Enjoy free organic popcorn and butter along with the film!

Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, 12:20–1:20 p.m.
Executive Director, Island Grown Initiative
Sustainability Perspectives Series: "Regenerative Agriculture in Action"
de Witt Lecture Room, Zabriskie Hall 106
The mission of the Island Grown Initiative (IGI) is to build a regenerative and equitable food system on Martha's Vineyard that engages, informs and integrates the community. Join Rebecca Haag, a 1974 Wells graduate—who also was the College's 2019 Commencement speaker last May—as she discusses how the IGI program works in schools, with local famers and with other organizations on the island to serve families facing food insecurity.

For more information about these events or the Wells College Center for Sustainability and the Environment, please contact Marian Brown at or 315.364.3304, or visit

About the Wells College Center for Sustainability and the Environment

The Wells College Center for Sustainability and the Environment was established in 2014 as the hub for sustainability education across disciplines and the catalyst for campus sustainability efforts at the College. The center supports faculty interested in incorporating sustainability content into their curriculum, invites outside experts to share their insights with the Wells campus community, and fosters collaborative relationships with a deep network of organizations, agencies, businesses and other partners in our community. Wells College is one of only a handful of colleges and universities to offer formal educational programs in sustainability, and the College has been recognized year after year by the Princeton Review, the Sierra Club and others for its leadership in this area. Learn more at

About Wells College

Wells College is a nationally recognized private coeducational liberal arts college located in Aurora, New York, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Wells, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, has remained committed to providing a quality education to students through small, interactive classes in multiple disciplines and engaging coursework relevant to life in a changing world. Integrated hands-on learning opportunities, a connected community, and diverse educational opportunities give students the ability to take part in their own educations and prepare them to be active citizens and leaders.

Our mission is for every student to think critically, reason wisely and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. On our beautiful lakeside campus, students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to create their own unique path.

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