The nation’s largest student-run conference focused on sustainability returns to Chico State for two days this week—in a virtual format to allow attendees from around the world to tune in to more than 50 speakers and presenters as they share their research, findings and knowledge.

On Thursday, March 24, and Friday, March 25, the University will host the 17th annual This Way to Sustainability. While providing virtual access to the two-day conference will certainly make it more accessible to attendees around the globe, the switch also aligns with the committee’s commitment to sustainable practices.

“Transitioning to a virtual format has allowed the conference to expand to a CSU-wide event, while significantly reducing the carbon footprint as compared to previous years,” conference student coordinator Sara Johnson said.

This year’s theme is “Elevating the Many Voices of Climate Justice,” with program content devoted to informing about ethnically diverse communities who have been dramatically impacted by the climate crisis. As such, the conference seamlessly brings together all of the University’s strategic priorities: equity, diversity, and inclusion; civic and global engagement; and resilient and sustainable systems.

Conference registration is open and both days are free for all K–12 students and those from any higher education institution—community college, trade school or university—including anyone with a valid Chico State email address and by using the discount code csuchico2022 while registering. For everyone else, cost is $50 per day or $75 for the full conference.

Three keynote speakers will highlight the two-day conference:

  • Lil Milagro Henriquez, a 20-year veteran of social and environmental justice activism, will present “Growing Resilience in a Climate Challenged Future” on Thursday at 9 a.m.
  • Robin Wall Kimmerer, mother, scientist, professor and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, will present “Braiding Sweetgrass and TEK” on Thursday at noon
  • Tracey Osborne, associate professor and presidential chair in the Management of Complex Systems Department at University of California, Merced, will present “Climate Justice and Higher Education” on Friday at noon

Additionally, four breakout sessions on Thursday will complement two additional sessions on Friday, with over 50 presenters sharing their expertise.

This Way to Sustainability is a nationally recognized, student-run conference focusing on challenges, ideas, solutions and resiliency in planning our sustainable future. The conference’s goal is to educate students, staff, faculty and community members, providing attendees an opportunity to network, discuss and become more aware of pertinent environmental and social issues we all face.

The conference also brings expertise and experience from a variety of presenters in seven tracks—environment, land planning and natural systems; built environments, engineering and waste management; health, wellness, diet and nutrition; sustainable food systems and regenerative agriculture; entrepreneurship, marketing and supply chain management; social justice and public policy; and arts, humanities and creative expression.