by Eva Malis
On Monday, May 4th, UC Berkeley students, staff, and faculty gathered for the first time with California political leaders and UC Office of the President staff to celebrate and discuss the University of California and State’s role in addressing climate change. With the approaching 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (expected to take place in late November 2015 in Paris, France), world leaders should look to California, and particularly the University of California, for climate leadership and example. The UC to Paris Climate Change Symposium is honoring UC and State climate innovations, emphasizing university and state climate collaboration and a mutual commitment to California as a global leader for climate solutions.
The Symposium is a unique opportunity for student leaders to engage with UC climate experts and state political leaders on the future of California’s climate leadership and representation at the upcoming COP 21 through panels, conversations, research presentations, and networking, planned by ASUC Senator Haley Broder and EAVP Environmental Affairs Manager Wes Adrianson, along with a coalition of students, faculty, and UC administrators. The Symposium was a partnership between UC Berkeley environmental and sustainability groups and CSSC.
This was the first event of its kind at UC Berkeley–a vision put forth by student demand for more accessibility to political leadership. This Symposium encouraged discussion of the student role in tackling pressing issues like climate change that the student generation is prone to experience in their lifetimes, exploring potential for more collaboration between the UC system and the state government. It also ignited discussion about California’s role as a leader in international climate policy and at the UN annual Conference of the Parties. Due to the passion and dedication of ASUC Senator Haley Broder and an involved student community, especially UC Berkeley students Jacob Elsanadi and Allegra Saggeese, this monumental first step towards political accessibility between the UC’s was a huge success. Looking forward, Broder hopes to expand this event to the rest of the UC system and encourage more political leaders to attend.