RIT is one of six universities around the country to host a national Climate Leadership Summit for students on Saturday. About 100 students from area colleges and universities are expected to attend.
Sarah Quirk, president of RIT's Student Environmental Action League (SEAL), says her goal for the event is to create a network of students who are willing to work together to create a healthier environment.
"The biggest thing I hear is, 'There's no way that I can make a difference, or an impact on this,' But that's really not even true,” she said. “I'm hoping that people can make connections within the community, and at their schools, so they can make a difference where they are."
Professor Josh Goldowitz, chair of RIT's Environmental Sustainability Department and SEAL’s faculty advisor, says he is more impressed by the willingness and ability of this generation of students to enact change in their communities than any student group he has worked with in the past twenty years.
"There used to be a significant number of people who were climate change deniers. Now you hardly see that; it's just a radical few,” he said. “It's not only the students, but society in general that is starting to accept that sustainability is not something strange or weird, but just normal. It's going to become the new normal."
The students attending Saturday's summit will hear presentations on topics including sustainable food waste, energy conversion, and climate friendly home designs. Susan Spencer, founder and president of the Rochester solar energy start-up company ROC SPOT will offer a presentation on a "100% Renewable Rochester by 2025."
The summit is free and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. More information is available at www.leadonclimate.us/rochester_itinerary.