Coming together for the environment

MEM program hosts panel discussion

Jeremy Wallace / Staff Writer

Coldharbour Institute executive director Suzanne Ewy discusses the important role of non profits in environmental action at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colo. during a panel discussion Wednesday, January 18.

The Master in Environmental Management Program at Western hosted a panel discussion Wednesday, Jan. 18 in the University Center ballroom. The panel was comprised of local experts in the fields of energy, public lands, agriculture, and more, with over 16 speakers in total. Titled “United with Our Environment: where we are now, the new administration, and the future,” topics discussed by speakers tied in to the current change in political climate and what it means for the future of environmental policy and activism.

“We wanted to create a space where we could have constructive conversations around what the environment meant for us and our community,” said MJ Pickett, MEM student and event organizer.

A small group engages in discussion at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colo. during a Master in Environmental Management panel discussion Wednesday, January 18.

The ballroom was nearly full with Western students, members of the local community, and those interested in environmental happenings. The night opened with refreshments and a panel introduction by Gillian Rossi before the audience split into different tables by topic.

“These discussions are great to bring us together; I like seeing my community all in one place,” said MEM student Phil Keim.

Attendees had the opportunity to converse with experts in specific fields, and engage with one another in a constructive, educational setting. In addition to bringing everyone up to speed, solutions to current problems were pondered and ideas shared, along with a few light hearted political jokes.

“I was curious about the conversations that would be happening, especially after the election,” said ENVS student Jared Cohn. “It was interesting to hear what people think might happen.”

The night concluded with a representative from each table presenting their key discussion points to the group as a whole, and a standing ovation from Coldharbour Institute executive director Suzanne Ewy, “You students are the future; we will be alright.”

The MEM program has plans to continue with similar discussions, along with a film series and other events. Check the calendar at for more information.