FES celebrates 50 years with Scholars Hub Speaker Series

Some of York University’s top academic minds will discuss themes around environmental changes during the Scholars Hub Speaker Series beginning Jan. 29. The series also marks the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES).

A partnership with Vaughan Public Libraries and York University’s Division of Advancement, the series titled “Environmental Changes” will feature talks and expertise from York faculty.

All events will take place at the Civic Centre Resource Library located at 2191 Major Mackenzie Dr. W. from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

The lineup features:

• Jan. 29 – Roger Keil (professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies) presenting “A Planet of Suburbs: How We Live in the 21st Century” – REGISTRATION CLOSED
The 21st century is often called the urban century because more than half of us now live in cities. In reality, though, the urban century emerges at the margin. Most of the 21st century’s startling urban growth worldwide is happening at the peripheries. This talk is about the process that creates the global urban periphery – suburbanization – and the ways of life – suburbanisms – we encounter there.

• Feb. 26 – Valerie Preston (professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) presenting “Housing Refugees: What Have We Learned?”
In the GTA, growing numbers of newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers are living in hotels and shelters rather than permanent housing. A shortage of low-cost rental housing and rapid rent increases have exacerbated the difficulties of finding affordable, suitable, and adequate housing for newcomers. Based on interviews with immigrant-serving organizations across Canada, this talk reviews the strategies that helped house Syrian refugees successfully in 2015-16 and evaluates their current relevance for asylum seekers in the GTA.

• March 26 – Sarah Flicker (assistant professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies) presenting “Teaching Sex Ed: A View From Ontario’s Teachers”
Ontario parents are widely in favour of integrating sexual health and human development topics into the provincial curriculum. Ontario students want opportunities to be more involved in their sexual health learning in schools. Health teachers shoulder the responsibility of responding to the diversity of students’ experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives in ways that are inclusive and informative. In this presentation, we will review the evidence for comprehensive sexual education in schools, what Ontario students say they want and how teachers are responding in the midst of controversy and policy change.

• April 30 – Christina Hoicka (assistant professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies) presenting “Participation in the Low-Carbon Economy”
How citizens and communities participate in energy initiatives is critical to the successful transition to a low-carbon economy. For example, meaningful participation in renewable and low-carbon energy initiatives is linked with enhanced citizen support, where difficulty securing such support is seen as a major barrier for such initiatives. Community energy, which is characterized by high levels of participation, is also associated with wide ranging benefits for communities such as new social mechanisms for learning, economic development and engagement of local populations in energy policy implementation.

• May 28 – Jose Etcheverry (associate professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies) presenting “Experimental Learning for Sustainability: Canada, Algeria and Chile”
This talk will summarize Etcheverry’s team’s experience building solar facilities for experiential learning in Canada, Algeria and Chile.

• June 25 – Sheila Colla (assistant professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies) presenting “What’s the Buzz? Working Towards Pollinators Conservation in Canada”
Colla has been researching the declines of native pollinators for more than a decade. She will describe the various types of pollinators we have, what we know about their conservation status and threats. She will also outline what we can all do to help protect wild pollinator populations.

The partnership is part of York University’s goals of community engagement and reputation building, with a unique collaboration that invites alumni, students, their families and the public to engage in meaningful talks and discussions on the fascination of our environment.

Space for each talk is limited. For more information, or to register, visit alumniandfriends.yorku.ca/vpl-scholars-hub.