UCSB’s Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board will host one of the largest annual statewide sustainability conferences for students tomorrow at Corwin Pavilion.
The bi-annual California Student Sustainability Convergence will provide environmentally-conscious students with the opportunity to share sustainable project ideas as well as learn new strategies from their peers. Around 300 students from UCSB and other universities are expected to attend the free symposium.
According to Andrew Chang, a fourth-year environmental studies major, the CSSC represents an opportunity to facilitate cross-campus discussion regarding environmental ideas. He said the event serves as a forum for exchanging ideas regarding clean energy, corporate accountability, animals in agriculture and environmental justice.
“It’s an inspiring and empowering weekend, to see all the students working together on sustainability and the power we all have when we come together,” Chang said.
The event will also feature several speakers, including Congresswoman Lois Capps and David Cobb, the spokesperson for the “Move to Amend” campaign that attempts to increase corporate accountability.
In anticipation of the November elections, Joe Armendariz, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers’ Association, and Marshall Wright, the arts and culture director for Public Interest Network in Los Angeles, will debate Proposition 23.
If passed, Prop 23 will radically transform state environmental policy by suspending Assembly Bill 32, which currently allows the state to set its own motor vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards until California’s unemployment rate drops below 5.5 percent and stays that way for a year.
Politicians and event organizers will answer audience questions about the initiative immediately after the debate.
EAB co-chair Quentin Gee, a philosophy graduate student, said the seminar will educate the campus about noteworthy state-wide issues.
“The debate will provide both sides with an opportunity to reach out to the student community,” Gee said. “There’s a possibility of a modest increase in economic activity if Prop 23 passes, but there are other clean air and clean energy factors that haven’t been considered enough.”
Additionally, Gee said oil companies are the only ones that will suffer if the measure is passed.
“They stand to lose money not just in regulation, but in new legislation aimed to decrease the use of gas,” he said.
In addition to debates and lectures, the meeting will also host workshops and training sessions allowing CSSC members to discuss projects they have in the works.
Last year’s conference yielded UCSB’s The Green Initiative Fund — a project that has now spread to eight other campuses because of the convergences.
Corrie Radka, a fourth-year environmental studies and zoology major, said the CSSC will be a nexus for sharing successful initiatives.
“It’s a perfect opportunity to network with environmentally-conscious students around California and also to strategize statewide campaigns,” Radka said.
Furthermore, Radka said the conference is the ideal venue for expanding green knowledge.
“The CSSC is the hub of all [university] environmental groups in California,” Radka said.
Upcoming EAB projects include regular beach clean-ups, the annual Earth Day festival — held during spring quarter at Ansiq’ Oyo’ Park — and sustainable food programs, including the establishment of a student-run green food cart on campus.
Students interested in attending the event can register online at www.sustainabilitycoalition.org.