November 21, 2019
Ten University of New England students recently participated in the inaugural Maine College Climate Action Summit at Colby College in Waterville.
The summit brought together more than 120 students from across the state of Maine to collaborate on action to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Kiara Frischkorn (Marine Affairs, ’22) and Shayna McGeehee (Environmental Studies, ’21), both officers of the UNE student group Earth’s ECO, were instrumental in organizing and facilitating the participation of UNE students at the event.
Frischkorn, who is also active in the group Maine Youth for Climate Justice, led a workshop titled “Climate Organizing in Maine.” During the session, Frischkorn helped students develop strategies for communicating about the impacts of climate change when speaking to political, community, or business leaders.
“Helping people form their personal stories about climate change is a big focus of what I’m working on,” explained Frischkorn.
Students took part in a variety of workshop sessions that helped them develop skills in environmental leadership, coalition building, advocacy, and communication.
“The greatest problem that the climate movement is facing is ignorance about the issue,” said Radu Dumitrascu (Aquaculture and Aquarium Science, ‘22). “It’s hindering the movement as a whole.”
Several students who participated in the summit are enrolled in the course “Climate Change: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions,” taught by Bethany Woodworth, Ph.D., associate lecturer in the Department of Environmental Studies. The course is offered as part of the climate change studies minor at UNE, which is one of only a few universities nationwide that offers a minor in climate change.
"It was exciting to see Maine college students assume leadership roles and apply their classroom learning to the practical problems surrounding climate change," Woodworth commented.
Students says they are eager to utilize the knowledge and skills they gained at the summit and to continue to collaborate with other students from across the state.
“It was such an amazing event, I would really love to plan something like that here at UNE,” Frischkorn stated.