When we change our direction, whether we’ve been following one path for years or just a moment, we must have something we’re hoping to alter. Without a direction, then changes can be sporadic, pointless, and even harmful to projects; each decision must be scrutinized and carefully decided upon. In the case of the Lewis & Clark ENVX Symposium, 23 years of existence have led to a very intelligent, well thought-out approach to engagement. Trial and error have given the symposium a wealth of knowledge which ensures its effectiveness. As we approach another year of interesting critiques and powerful opinions, a change of course will allow for even better engagement; the inclusion of students on panels.
The purpose of this activity is to increase youth involvement in the world of environmental studies and give a platform to young researchers. As students are given their degrees and begin a new life outside of school, tools given to them now will help them later. By promoting student panels at the 23rd ENVX Symposium, students will have a greater understanding of public engagement when they are thrust into those moments. Furthermore, the involvement of students in the symposium will show their peers, the student population of Lewis & Clark, that their opinions they espouse and the research they’re toiling over is being acknowledged; this appreciation of student efforts will promote further involvement and open up different avenues for the symposium in the future.
Beyond this, by working with students from a wide range of academic backgrounds, the ENVX Symposium will help solidify interdepartmental relations. When these bonds are strengthened, symposium coordinators are better equipped to execute projects which “cross boundaries”- a pillar of its mission. There are many benefits to the inclusion of students, and the inclusion of young researchers in the 23rd annual symposium could be the start of an incredible, repeating event.