High school students from all over Vermont came to UVM for the second annual Vermont Youth Climate Summit in the Davis Center Nov. 20.
The summit’s goal was to increase climate awareness and education and to aid students in action and implementation, sophomore Gina Fiorile, who presented at the event said.
Fiorile has discussed climate at the White House twice and is attending the Global Climate Summit in Paris, which started Nov. 30 and ends Dec. 11.
“I am speaking about our involvement with the White House, and what the Global Climate Summit is going to be like,” she said.
The day began with a session in which students learned about climate science and included a video message from Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Gov. Peter Shumlin attended lunch with the students and spoke about the importance of having a commitment to climate change beyond their immediate situations.
Shumlin asked students to think about what they can do for their school.
“Not only what you could do for your school and for your community now, but how can you harness your commitment to climate and turn it into green, clean future for you,” Shumlin said.
Vermont illustrates how a true dedication to climate can work, Shumlin said.
The day also included workshops on energy conservation and renewable energy, Fiorile said.
A large portion of the event was planned by the students of professor Jon D. Erickson’s ecological economics course, she said.
Sophomore Roxie Daims said she enjoyed planning the event.
“We knew we were doing something important and that we were going to have an impact, so the experience was really gratifying,” Daims said. Her group presented on food systems. They also taught 72 students about farm-to- school programs and community gardens, she said.
This event was a great learning experience for UVM students as well as high schoolers, she said.
“They say you learn the best when you are teaching someone else,” Daims said. “This event has allowed me to grasp the full entirety of what I have been studying.”
Students were able to create their own solutions to climate change based on what they had learned that day, Fiorile said.