Eyes on a Common Goal

IC class attends UN climate conference in Poland.  By Julissa Treviño ’10

Nineteen students from the International Environmental Policy class traveled to Poznan, Poland, in December for the opportunity to learn firsthand about the subject — at the 2008 United Nations Climate Change Conference. This marked the fourth year Ithaca College has participated in the conference, where global climate change policy is made.

The students were joined by Warren Schlesinger, associate professor of business, who teaches the class, and Astrid Jirka, outreach coordinator for study abroad.

This year the students blogged about their experiences. “Blogging was a critical aspect,” says Schlesinger. “Rather than passively attending the conference, students [could] reflect upon what happened and identify key experiences. It gave students a sense of responsibility to communicate the importance of what they were doing.”

 “I have probably been to about 10 different side events since being here, all held by different organizations and all focusing on different subjects, some in direct opposition to one another,” wrote Rachel Roscoe ’09 in her blog. “Yet despite their differences, all can agree on the one common goal and focus: lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”

Throughout fall semester, the class readied for Poznan by discussing climate change policy, history, and implications. “The goal was to prepare them to more fully understand the issues facing delegates,” Schlesinger says. “A secondary goal was to introduce students to the culture of UN conferences so they would reap the most benefits.”

More than 11,000 participants attended the Poznan conference. Next winter’s conference will be held in Copenhagen.

“This conference has helped to better define some of my personal research interests [for] the future, as well as create some new ones,” blogged Casey Wichman ’09. “Also, I’ve made contacts and collected my fair share of business cards. . . . If all else fails, I have the connections to work on a coffee farm in Uganda.”