On Tuesday, Oct. 3, Peabody award winner Majora Carter will speak on environmental issues, the green economy and economic development in low-status communities.
The talk will begin at 5 p.m. in the Commons Ballroom, with a reception to follow in the Gregorian Lounge.
Carter comes to UNI as a part of the Provost’s Sustainability Lecture Series.
Students from the Green Project, along with the Sustainability Office and the Recycling & Reuse Technology Transfer Center, are sponsoring the event.
According to Eric O’Brien, the director of the Office of Sustainability, the presentation is intended to bring people together over shared struggles.
“The purpose of the event is to help show the university community and the student community the broader interconnectedness of so many of the various issues that we may have as near and dear to our hearts,” O’Brien said.
Carter is an urban revitalization strategist from the South Bronx. There, she hosted a public radio show, The Promised Land, for which she received the Peabody Award for broadcasting in 2010. On the show, she advocated for the importance of sustainability and biodiversity.
In an interview with CNN, Carter said, “We’ve got to decide that we want to live in a world that is sane and happy and healthy, and that everyone deserves that.”
Her central agenda is to help create a vibrant community where people can safely live in the area they already call home.
Carter’s efforts to transform environmentally unhealthy cities into safe and thriving neighborhoods are evident in her childhood home, the South Bronx, and these efforts are spreading nationwide, according to Carter’s interview with CNN.
While at UNI, she will be presenting material regarding the best way for the Cedar Valley to approach the implementation of programs and policies that will reshape the local environmental and economic issues.
Green Project President Gabbie Ruggiero shared the significance of hosting speakers outside of the specific field of sustainability.
She said that widening students’ perspectives into new areas involving green related engagements, as well as social issues, is critical in creating a connected and active community.
“It’s important to invite speakers that not only speak about sustainability, but also the intersection of sustainability across multiple social justice areas,” Ruggiero said. “Sustainability is a subject that everyone on campus should be discussing, both formally and informally. I’m sure Majora’s presence will spark conversations.”
Those in attendance can expect to hear about the power of the individual and the importance of standing up for a community impacted by unfair treatment, according to O’Brien.
Carter will also share what motivated her to take action and pursue environmental justice for her city, along with cities across the country.
“Her message unifies many of the qualities that we state are institutional values here at UNI, such as diversity, community, engagement and sustainability, to name just a few,” O’Brien said. “The message that she shares with us has the ability to truly help create a wider dialogue that breaks down barriers that currently may separate issues.”
Throughout the month of October, the Provost’s Sustainability Series will continue to present guest speakers on campus, free of charge and open to all.
“Our hope is to continue to host events that will advance this dialogue that results in a deeper commitment to sustainability,” O’Brien said.
The Princeton Review recently placed UNI on the Green College Honor Roll for 2018, indicating that the university is among the highest level of schools nationwide who are dedicated to sustainability. Over 600 schools were considered, and UNI was one of 24 universities to receive a perfect rating — an award that O’Brien called a huge accomplishment.