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Homecoming a Success; A Landmark Environmental Conference

Sept. 29, 2016

  Photo by John Seyfried

This past weekend was Homecoming at Oberlin and it was a great success. The weather was beautiful, there was an array of academic, musical, artistic and athletic events, which only Oberlin could offer, and the attendance was the best I’ve seen.

Alumni of all ages came back and had a good time. It was heartening to see so many young alumni—meaning folks who graduated over the past five years—return to campus and reconnect with their professors, mentors, coaches, and friends.

Homecoming highlights included the Oberlin Community and Culture Festival in Tappan Square, a thrilling victory by the men’s soccer team over Depauw University, and the huge crowd at the football game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people proudly sporting Oberlin’s colors. Our young Yeomen fought hard but came up short against Ohio Wesleyan University.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make Homecoming weekend such a success.

After Fossil Fuels

I am very much looking forward to the second weekend in October when Oberlin will host a landmark environmental conference “After Fossil Fuels: The Next Economy.” Organized by the College and the Oberlin Project, the conference, which will run from October 6th to the 8th, will be the first major event to be held at the Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center Hotel at Oberlin.

The conference will bring together some of the most innovative and influential thinkers in the world with key elected officials who have a solid and active track record on climate change issues. These experts will be joined an outstanding group of Oberlin faculty and staff to consider the economic and political realities in the era of climate change.

Key questions that will be discussed are: will the post-fossil fuel economy be prosperous, fair, durable, and resilient? What political economic and social changes must we make to ensure its success?

Coming just weeks before the 2016 elections, this remarkable gathering of many of the world’s leading thinkers, political figures, economists, investors, philanthropists, business leaders, educators, and public intellectuals will explore those questions in depth. They will discuss what changes are urgently needed to spur a successful transition to a sustainable, resilient, prosperous, and equitable economy driven by safe, renewable energy.

Speakers include former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Bill Ritter of Colorado. Bestselling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben is also among the 40-plus participants, who include Michael Brune, president of the Sierra Club; Tom Steyer, founder of NexGen Climate; Mark Campanale, founder and director of the Carbon Tracker Initiative; and Hunter Lovins, founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions.

Due to space limitation, registration is required for the conference. But there will be a Convocation talk on Thursday, October 6, in Finney Chapel by Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His talk is titled. “The Hottest Fight in the Hottest Year.”

Professor McKibben is one of the most important environmentalists is the world today. I’m excited to hear what he has to say, and I hope to see you there.

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