CMC to Host Climate Leadership Summit

On Apr. 23, Claremont McKenna College will host a leadership summit on sustainability and climate change. The summit will be located on CMC's campus, with the keynote speeches on the quad outside Kravis Center and panels held in nearby classrooms.

The 2016 Climate Leadership Summit is sponsored by the National Campus Leadership Council (NCLC) and the Environmental Defense Fund, which is a self-identified coalition of “student body presidents, campus administrators, actors, athletes, artists, musicians, businesses and others” who seek to “[build] a nationwide movement of young people who support bold action on climate to protect the environment, their communities, and future generations.”

The summit will consist of 15 panels, three keynote speeches, two site visits, and two meals throughout the day, with a concert after dinner. The panels and speakers will be “stakeholders from the private sector, public sector, and higher education to discuss the most pressing issues of climate change today,” Will Su CM ’16, former president of the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC), said.

All the panels will be interdisciplinary. For example, the panel on Green Architecture will feature architects in a sustainable field that come speak, Su added.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the 5C community to engage with climate change,” Su said.

Getting CMC the opportunity to host the Climate Leadership Summit was a competitive process. Ultimately, CMC was chosen as one of six campuses across the nation to host a summit, according to Su. He added that he had gotten a message from NCLC about the opportunity to apply to host the Summit, and, being aware of Becker’s previous expressed interest in sustainability, invited him to collaborate to put a bid in on behalf of CMC.

Su and Sam Becker CM ’19, Executive Director of the Summit, heard back from NCLC about the opportunity to host in early February, and since then have spent many hours sending out emails requesting various professionals to come speak at the Summit, said Becker.

The goal of these summits is to engage students in colleges across the nation in a discussion about sustainability and climate change. Su said that the specific goal of CMC’s Summit was broader: to create a big summit with many stakeholders and lots of different sessions.

“Our goals are to really include as many stakeholders as we can,” Becker said. “Sustainability is important and can be applied in really any profession.”

The focus of the summit is on leadership and “how individuals can conduct their lives and also lead within their communities in a manner that really ushers in more sustainability,” Becker said.

Leaders in many professional fields will be at the summit to discuss why sustainability is important and how it can be applied in many areas. Members of the community and students from other schools will be in attendance, and attendance is free for all 7C students.

In order to get the information out to the general community, Becker and Su have reached out to various groups in the community to spread the word and are also planning on tabling at several locations. Attendees and speakers of the event have also been encouraged to spread the event. They will also be tabling outside dining halls to get the word out to 7C students.

In the application to host the summit, Su and Becker explained that although there are many environmental groups on campus and resources, there is room to improve and there seems to be a disconnect between students and the administration when it comes to implementing solutions. 

Although the administration has been supportive of this event and has helped fund the event, “there’s been no pledge by CMC to increase sustainability” said Becker, although he has been pushing for that this year. However, the administration has begun to take actions to address environmental concerns, according to Becker.

In order to attend the summit, you must register. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Apr. 23, or can be done online at The first keynote begins at 9 a.m.

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