Serve-Learn-Sustain Launches Year-Long Environmental Justice Series

September 14, 2016

Dr. Jennifer Hirsch serves as the Director for the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain.  She is an applied cultural anthropologist specializing in community sustainability, cultural diversity, experiential education, and network building.

Serve-Learn-Sustain is proud to announce the official launch of our 2016-17 Environmental Justice Series! Environmental Justice is one of SLS’ key themes for this year—and we are grateful for our colleagues in College of Sciences who suggested it.

Check out our Fall Semester calendar here.

What is Environmental Justice—often referred to as “EJ”?

Here’s the definition we’re using: Environmental Justice is concerned with making sure that (A) no community takes on an unfair share of environmental burdens and (B) environmental benefits are shared in an equitable way regardless of race, class, gender, or orientation.

The goal of the series is to generate serious conversation, examination, and action around justice as it relates to environment and sustainability. While “justice” has not historically been a key topic of deliberation at Tech, it is central to addressing not only community challenges, but sustainability challenges as well. In fact, social science research has demonstrated a positive correlation between equity (the goal of justice work) and environmental sustainability (see Agyeman, Equity? “That’s not an issue for us, we’re here to save the world;” for additional resources, see our Resources page).

A Wide Range of Events & Activities

Our EJ Series is a true collaboration, with the Fall Semester schedule alone comprising 16 events and activities hosted by SLS together with 16 partners, from Georgia Tech and beyond.  It includes public talks by GT faculty and guest speakers, a sub-series of workshops, talks, and films on "structural racism," community-based service activities, arts performances, and even an EJ-themed Alternative Spring Break trip.  There is definitely something for everyone - so come join us!

I especially encourage you to attend some of our opening events this month to see what the series is about:

September Events:

  • Tuesday, 9/20:  Introduction to Structural Racism Workshop (11am - Student Center Theater) - the first of four Structural Racism events examining the ways in which racism, and other "isms" are perpetuated by our social, institutional, political, and cultural structures
  • Tuesday, 9/27:  EJ SERIES KICKOFF & LIAM'S LEGACY SYMPOSIUM - "Data-driven Research for Environmental Justice: How Universities Can Help Move Vulnerable Communities from Surviving the Thriving" (4:30pm - Clary Theater, Student Success Center)
  • Thursday, 9/29: Afrofuturism and Environmental Justice: Film Screening and Panel Discussion (6pm - Ferst Center for the Arts)
  • Friday, 9/30 & Saturday, 10/1: Just Energy Summit sponsored by Partnership for Southern Equity at Atlanta Metropolitan State College (2-day conference) 

Check out our Fall Semester calendar here.

More specifically, I encourage you to attend three of the EJ events this semester - and we'll give you two free tickets to the Center for Civil and Human Rights!  (Note: all SLS events count towards this promotion, including events that are not part of the EJ series)

Join Us - and Together Let's Explore:

  • What's the role of technology in Environmental Justice?
  • How can Georgia Tech, as a technology-focused institution of higher education, help further the EJ movement?  What specific contributions can we make to "help vulnerable communities move from surviving to thriving?"

Best, 

P.S. If you're taking a course related at all to the EJ topic - ask your professor if you can connect any of these opportunities to your assignments.  And if you're part of a student organization that relates to this topic - get in touch with us and let's collaborate.  Send us an email:  serve-learn-sustain@gatech.edu.