As the ENVX Symposium pushes into the future, becoming an intrinsic part of the student experience at Lewis & Clark, it is the job of student committees to think of different ways to freshen its perspective. Each year we seek to challenge different notions, and never to remain sedentary in our views, thoughts, or actions; after 22 years, ENVX Symposium is still doing an amazing job of keeping the public on its toes, always curious about what’s coming next. For the 23rd annual symposium, focused on the intersections of conservation, I believe that deeper student collaboration would bring a fresh perspective to the conversation. By including a student panel to present different research regarding conservation, both the public and remainder of the student body would see the fresh work of young scientists. The intersections of conservation can be just as well discussed by students as anyone else, and this would be a perfect place to highlight that.
What to do
A panel of students, ranging anywhere from two to five, could present their information in numerous ways. Rather than just a presentation, debates are just as effective for disseminating information, and would allow researchers to defend their positions while reasoning with the audience. A healthy amount of dissent between the different kinds of conversation would challenge the views of not only the public, but the presenters, as well. Beyond this, interaction with the audience could also play a vital role in furthering the discussion. Speakers can’t read the minds of their audience, meaning that the information they’re presenting doesn’t always garner passion. With the presence of a questioning audience, the researchers would have a better understanding of the key points they needed to dive into.
Who to Ask
Because of our focus on the implementation and science of conservation efforts, there’s a large pool of students we could approach. Ranging from the Biology and Chemistry departments to our own Environmental Studies program, there are a plethora of views which can be presented before an audience. Beyond just opinions, the amount of work which has been put into senior capstones is a testament to the effort that these students exert, and by giving them a platform to voice their research, we can further their own careers and opportunities. It is an excellent learning experience for young researchers to disseminate their studies.
How to Implement
When presenters are placed into a panel, as previously stated, there are many different avenues that can be taken. To start, the ENVX Symposium could discuss this concept with different professors, who could then recommend specific students based on what they felt were appropriate credentials. After speaking with professors and receiving a list of names, then the ENVX Symposium committees could begin interviewing and studying the work completed by these individuals, seeing which students fit into the jigsaw puzzle. After studying researchers, a panel (or multiple) could be set up to reflect different aspects of the intersections of conservation. By pairing the right speakers, the ENVX Symposium could prompt and facilitate conversations and debates which may not happen otherwise. The students of Lewis & Clark are an amazing, thriving resource for the ENVX Sympoisum, and I believe they could play a special role in future symposia.