Carnegie Mellon Environmental Scholars To Attend
Student Workshops Shadowing Copenhagen Conference
PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Vanessa Schweizer, Justin Parisi and Mike Blackhurst will attend a student workshop to discuss how universities can do their part to remedy the world's climate woes Dec. 13-14 at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to see how other universities and the world plan to continue the dialogue about climate change since we will be in Europe during the Copenhagen conference," said Schweizer, delegation leader and a Ph.D. candidate in the university's Department of Engineering and Public Policy, where she conducts research about climate and energy policy.
The Carnegie Mellon team will join student teams from all over the world, including workshop organizers from Yale University and the University of Copenhagen, to lend a voice to ongoing debates about global warming issues.
The student conference is designed to shadow the United Nations' two-week long Climate Change Conference that is expected to draw at least 100 national leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama. Discussions at the conference, which ends Dec. 18, will include setting targets for controlling emissions of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases, and supporting clean energy technology and environmental projects in poor nations.
"The conference provides an opportunity for Carnegie Mellon students to share with peers globally our activities and plans for reducing carbon emissions at Carnegie Mellon, and to learn from others about new approaches to consider," said David A. Dzombak, team organizer and faculty director of Carnegie Mellon's Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research, which is funding the student team. "All three of our students have been involved with efforts at Carnegie Mellon to inventory our carbon emissions and to develop specific emission reduction goals and implementation plans. They are excellent representatives for our community, and we look forward to building on the new knowledge they bring back from Copenhagen," Dzombak said.
Parisi, a dual master's degree student at the Tepper School of Business and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is a student member of the university's Green Practices Committee, which is leading the development and implementation of a campus carbon emissions reduction plan. The committee consists of students, staff, faculty and administrators.
"I'm very excited about going to Europe and seeing how we can share some of the novel work we do at Carnegie Mellon," said Parisi, who is vice president of Environmental Initiatives for Carnegie Mellon's Net Impact chapter.
Blackhurst, a graduate student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy departments, said he is very interested in harnessing the collective energy from the student conference. His research involves evaluating strategies to reduce the environmental impacts of urban areas, with a particular emphasis on energy efficiency, water management and carbon emissions. He also served on the board of the non-profit Green Homes in Austin, Texas, and is active in Pittsburgh's local climate initiatives.
The student teams are charged with sharing green projects from their respective universities and developing new projects and sustainable solutions for a global database.
To watch video interviews with Blackhurst, Parisi and Schweizer (pictured above), visit http://www.cmu.edu/news/blog/2009/Fall/students-shadow-cop15.shtml.