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UIS Earth Day observance focuses on a sustainable future

April 1, 2008

Contact: Barbara Ferrara, 217/206-7094, bferr1@uis.edu

Picture of Dr. Debra Rowe
Dr. Debra Rowe

SPRINGFIELD - The University of Illinois at Springfield will observe Earth Day – Tuesday, April 22 – with an address by Dr. Debra Rowe, president of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development. Dr. Rowe will speak on "Education and Action for a Sustainable Future" beginning at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library on the UIS campus.

The event is free and open to the public. Those unable to attend in person can watch a live webcast at www.uis.edu/technology/uislive.html.

The United Nations 2002 World Summit defined "sustainable development" as that which would "improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future" and declared 2005-2014 a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. As president of the U.S. Partnership, Rowe works with educational institutions across the country to integrate a sustainable worldview into formal education at all levels.

Tih-Fen Ting, assistant professor of Environmental Studies at UIS noted, "One of the central educational goals at UIS is cultivating engaged citizenship. Earth Day reminds students that we are part of a global community that ultimately depends on Earth's limited resources to survive. This event is designed to facilitate a dialog on what sustainability is, what it entails, and why it matters."

Dr. Rowe is a faculty member and administrator at Oakland Community College in Michigan, where she creates and teaches interdisciplinary projects about futuring, environmental sustainability, and a more humane society. As Oakland's collegewide coordinator of general education, she helped institute an environmental literacy requirement for all of the college's degrees. She has also worked to develop curricula and degree programs in renewable energies and energy management, and was the founding director of the college's Environmental Solutions Center.

She is also a senior fellow with the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future, national co-coordinator of the Higher Education Association's Sustainability Consortium, founder of the Disciplinary Associations' Network for Sustainability, and senior adviser to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. In all these capacities, she assists higher education associations and institutions to integrate sustainability into their mission, curricula, research, student life, purchasing and investments, facilities and operations, and community partnerships.

Her other service includes creation of a model energy management degree design for community and technical colleges that was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as creating and teaching energy management and renewable energies in an online format with National Science Foundation support. She is the author or editor of numerous publications on the integration of sustainability into education.

Sponsors of the presentation at UIS are the Center for State Policy and Leadership and Students Allied for a Greener Earth. Co-sponsors include the ECCE Speaker Series, Julia J. Henderson Award Fund, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student and Administrative Services, Department of Environmental Studies, College of Public Affairs and Administration, College of and Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Speakers' Award Committee.

Earth Day, an annual event since 1970, is a chance for people around the world to celebrate the planet and our responsibility toward it. Currently thousands of groups participate in the Earth Day Network, actively promoting environmental causes at the community, regional, and global levels. For more information about Earth Day, go to http://ww2.earthday.net/~earthday/.

For more information about Dr. Rowe's presentation at UIS, contact the Center for State Policy and Leadership at 217/206-6576.



The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs: 21 bachelor's, 20 master's, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.

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U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development

Environmental Studies at UIS

Center for State Policy and Leadership


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