This fall semester marked the Climate Scholars program’s second year of existence. With 53 new scholars, we were ready to fill the semester with many fun activities! 

The scholars started the semester with a delicious barbecue at Dr. Dana Veron’s house. The speakers from the previous year joined the barbecue and interacted with the scholars.

In September, some of the scholars helped with National Voter Registration Day on the Green, taking photos with props and registering students for Turbovote.

Also in September, several scholars spent a Saturday at Fox Point State Park for National Coastal Clean-Up Day with Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). You can read about it in a previous article!

In October, the scholars had a Saturday brunch with the university’s chapter of the American Meteorological Society. It was great fun and the food was delightful. We discussed all things weather (especially hurricanes).

Throughout the semester, we had weekly Tea and Cookies meetings with climate and climate-adjacent faculty and professionals. 

Our speakers and topics varied greatly, covering a wide range of disciplines and catering to the scholars’ many areas of interest. 

Our first speakers were Dr. Michael Chajes and Rachel Burch from the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, talking about the sustainable treatment of food waste. We learned about the elaborate device in Caesar Rodney dining hall that uses microbes to break down food waste. 

Dr. Saleem Ali from the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences discussed minerals for climate mitigation and taught us about fascinating concepts such as how China’s economy affects the United State’s use of minerals and the production of energy. This was the first time I had ever learned about the significance of mining and the policies around it. 

Mike Rinkunas from Horn Entrepreneurship educated us on eco entrepreneurship and how to properly plan and market an environmental innovation. He also taught us about obtaining funding through Horn Entrepreneurship. 

Hayden Boettcher, a graduate student from the School of Marine Science and Policy, shared about his research on microplastics as well as his journey to obtaining a Ph.D.. We learned about his sampling process in Delaware Bay as well as plastic types and concentrations around each part of the bay. 

Dr. Phil Barnes from the Biden School spoke with the scholars on how to talk about climate change with skeptics– a very useful skill in today’s world!

Dr. Jen Horney, who studies Epidemiology, spoke about the intersection of climate change, hazards and disasters and how her research has evolved with climatic developments. 

Phil Smith, from Delaware’s chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, discussed climate advocacy and policy. He showed us a very useful software called En-Roads that allows individuals to modify various climatic variables (emissions, carbon taxes, agriculture, etc.) to produce projections of temperature and emission increases and decreases. 

Professor Shree Inamdar from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences talked about the environmental challenges created by land-use legacies. 

Our co-director, Dr. Dana Veron, spoke about her research in Antarctica as it relates to cloud and vapor formation. 

Finally, Dr. Lindsay Naylor,  from the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences, presented on inclusive adaptation to climate change and her conversations with the Lenni-Lenape Tribe of Delaware. It was fascinating to learn about the implementation of an anti-racist framework in environmental activism. We ended this meeting with a pizza party.

This fall semester was an amazing one and I cannot wait to see what the spring semester has in store! Between Earth month, the 2023 World Climate Teach-in and the many other events that the hub will hold, this semester is going to be packed!