Environmental Policy Speaker Series aims to make environmental policies

The series is part of a larger network to improve environmental policy nationally and internationally.

The Sustainable Environmental Policy Speaker Series, a series on environmental awareness, aims to make impacting environmental policy more than just water cooler talk and clever slogans.

For the faculty behind the series, going green is more important and more involved than riding a bike to class.

The Speaker Series aims to bring to campus leading authorities from the academic, public and private sectors to discuss the latest developments and challenges to environmental policy at the local, national and international level.

Forestry professor Francisco Aguilar has been influential in bringing the series to life. He worked with professor Mark Ryan, who directs the entire project, and associate professor Troy Rule to bring the series' debut lecture to life.

The first lecture, which took place Oct. 27, was called “Environmental Policy: The Surprising Role of Business Profitability.”

University of Arizona professor Paul R. Portney and Bill Frerking, vice president and chief sustainability officer of Georgia-Pacific, LLC., both spoke about sustainability's relation to business.

The event's attendance was lower than the series directors were originally expecting, but they predicted a possible reason: the sixth World Series game.

The faculty said there was a silver lining to the turnout. A Q&A format section provided a good opportunity for the audience to interact with the speakers.

The force behind the series is the group of nine professors and associate professors that gathered for the event. The Sustainable Environmental Policy Speaker Series is put on by the MU School of Natural Resources in collaboration with the MU Law School and College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, the MU College of Arts and Science and the MU College of Human Environmental Science. By working with many different colleges and departments, the series can provide a comprehensive view on how sustainability affects everyday lives.

The series was originally motivated and funded by Mizzou Advantage, a collaboration between faculty, students and alumni, and has a bigger aim than just education. It is part of a larger project called the MU Environmental Policy Network.

The network aims to create productive collaborations among various departments and experts to bring MU to greater national and international prominence in the environmental policy arena.

The network will create a stronger position for MU in education and research areas, deepening MU’s presence in three specific Mizzou Advantage initiatives: the creation of a graduate certificate program, a student essay contest and the budding speakers series.

The next lecturer has not yet been determined, but Ryan said details about a second event would be released as soon as a lecturer has been confirmed.

“We are trying to create an opportunity for students to develop skills and credentials that will improve their opportunities for careers related to environmental policy,” Ryan said.

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