Landmark College Hosts Student-Led Environmental Conference
by Solvegi Shmulsky
PUTNEY, Vt.--Landmark College hosted the second annual Power Shift Vermont Conference on Sunday, November 16, 2014. Eighty people attended the event, which was organized by the Vermont Student Climate Coalition (VSCC) and the College’s Environmental Club. Michael Iemelo was the primary leader of this event, providing organization and energy to the planning process. Students from ten colleges around Vermont were present, including the University of Vermont (UVM), Marlboro College, Middlebury College, St. Michaels College, Champlain College, and the School for International Training.
“VSCC is just over a year old, and the progress we have made is unbelievable,” stated the group’s leadership in a Facebook post. “Last April, we had schools at our conference, and yesterday we had 10 schools represented!”
The purpose of the Power Shift Vermont Conference is to empower college student activists on environmental issues. Students from across the state arrived at 10 a.m. on a chilly Sunday morning and shared coffee and doughnuts while meeting one another informally. Workshops, keynote speaker Seth Itzkan, and lunch rounded out the day, which ended at four p.m. Itzkan is president of Planet Tech Associates, an environmental firm that provides “research-based consulting on the trends and innovations that positively impact our future.” Topics included divestment, recycling, energy efficiency, and responsible food production.
“This was a valuable event because like-minded students met each other, learned new perspectives, and shared education about environmental issues,” said Sam Ripper, event co-organizer and Landmark College student. Ripper said that highlights included a discussion about the financial side of green movements on campuses. “Sustainability sounds great,” he said, “but you also have to cover the financial aspects—speakers shared concrete ideas for how to make a difference.”
“This event ran beautifully,” stated Dr. Andrew Stein, assistant professor of Natural Sciences at Landmark College. “It was a success because of the efforts of Michael Iemolo, Elizabeth Zinn-Williams, Sam Ripper, and members of the Environmental Club.” Iemolo served in a leadership role as liaison to the College and Board member of the VSCC. Stein also thanked the staff and administrators of the College who contributed to Power Shift Vermont.
“The Vermont Student Climate Coalition (VSCC) is a network of Vermont students committed to fighting for sustainability and climate justice as a medium for intersectional social and economic progress. Through democratic student power, we are fostering a community that supports campaigns at both the institutional and statewide level and develops strong leaders to sustain long-term action for systemic change.” –VSCC on Facebook.
Landmark College was the first institution of higher learning to pioneer college-level studies for students with dyslexia. Today, Landmark College is a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with learning disabilities (including dyslexia), ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The College offers two- and four-year degree options, a graduate-level certificate in universal design with technology integration, and summer programs for students who learn differently. Students, faculty, and professionals from around the world are drawn to Landmark College for its innovative educational model, designed through research and practice to help all students become confident, empowered, and independently successful learners.