CCESS 2023 Highlights

Day 1: Tuesday, October 17, 2023



Recording on the welcome address, remarks, presentations, and panel discussion is available here 

3 - 4 PM Climate Expo and conversations in Hager-Lubbers Hall, DeVos Center


4 – 4:50 PM  

  • Announcements by Elena Lioubimtseva, CCESS2023 Planning Committee Chair
  • Welcome by Jennifer Drake, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Remarks by Fatma Mili, Provost, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Presentation "Education for Climate Justice" by Deirdre Nieves, Director of Climate Solutions and Justice, WMEAC, introduced by Elena Lioubimtseva
  • Presentation “Connecting Education to Climate Action in Michigan” by Denise Keele, Executive Director, MICAN, introduced by Christine Rener, Vice Provost Instructional Development & Innovation.


5:00 – 6:10

  • Keynote presentation “What is the future of higher education in the age of climate crisis?” by Bryan Alexander, Georgetown University Senior Fellow, Future of Higher Education Observatory Creator, introduced by Provost Fatma Mili
  • Q&A with Deirdre Nieves, Denise Keele, and Bryan Alexander
  • Universities on Fire: Higher Education in the Age of Climate Crisis book signing opportunity.


6:10 - 7 PM Reception: Mediterranean Mezze buffet (VG) and dessert (V)

7 - 8 PM 

  • Interactive discussion with Stephanie Baiyasi-Kozicki and Zigmond Kozicki, the Great Lakes Environmental Festival, sharing about the power of media in climate action.
  • Preview of documentaries Great Lakes: One Water for Life (2022), Drought and Deluge (2023), and How to Communicate About Climate Change (2023).


Deirdre Nieves  is a Director of Climate Solutions and Justice at West Michigan Environmental Action Council and a Ph.D. candidate and faculty specialist within the Institute for Intercultural and Anthropological Studies at Western Michigan University, with a joint appointment in the Institute of the Environment. Deirdre is a social scientist and advocate, recognized for her interdisciplinary work across multiple fields with a strong emphasis on the study of relationships between people and their diverse environments. She works with communities and organizations in Michigan and across the country organizing for transformative federal action to address the climate crisis.


Denise Keele received her doctorate in Environmental Politics from Syracuse University and was an Associate Professor of Political Science at Western Michigan University.  At WMU, she chaired the interdisciplinary Climate Change Working Group, bringing over one hundred faculty, students, and staff together to create and implement several academic and outreach programs, including a minor in climate change studies. Keele was honored with an inaugural Climate Champion award from the Michigan Climate Action Network in 2021, and now serves as the Director of the organization.


Bryan Alexander is an internationally known futurist, researcher, writer, speaker, consultant, and teacher, working in the field of how technology transforms education. He recently published Universities on Fire: Higher Education in the Age of Climate Crisis for Johns Hopkins University Press. His previous book, Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education  won the 2020 Association of Professional Futurists Most Significant Futures Works award for analyzing a significant future issue and was named one of Forbes’ Best Higher Education Books Of 2020. His other books include Gearing Up For Learning Beyond K-12 and The New Digital Storytelling.

Zig and Stphanie

Zigmond Kozicki and Stephanie Baiyasi-Kozicki are population health and environmental protection researchers and documentary film producers. Their international activism promotes wellness. They consider climate change as an existential threat that requires every organization to make a genuine effort to recognize and to respond to it with evidence-based policies. They promote One Water and One Health strategies as the responsibility of public health.

Day 2: Wednesday, October 18, 2023 Virtual

10 - 10:40 AM Racial Capitalism, Climate Change, COVID-19, and Public Health: A Conversation with Dr. Whitney L. Pirtle and John Biewen, moderated by Brian Deyo, GVSU English Department.

11 AM - 12:40 PM CCESN Community Presentations, moderated by Elena Lioubimtseva, GVSU Geography and Sustainable Planning Department. 
• 11 – 11 :15 David Crookall (Université Internationale de la Mer. Université Côte d'Azur) "The Trilogy of Ocean, Climate, and Coast: The Urgency and Exigency of Literacy".
• 11:20 - 11:35 Christine Malmsten (GVSU Libraries) “Cohousing for Climate Resiliency
• 11:40- 11:55 Peter Boogaart and David Fraker (Citizens Climate Lobby) "CCL - Our Story".
• 12:00 - 12:15 Dave Chapman (American Meteorological Society, Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education) "Ice, Climate, and K-12 Education".
• 12:20 - 12:35 Dee Jones (Jump Ahead L3C) “How Esports Can Help to Address Climate Change".
• 12:40 - 12:55 Marshall Kilgore (West Michigan Environmental Action Council) "Combatting Eco-Anxiety in Communities of Color".

Lunch Break

2- 2:55 PM Collaboration Toward Climate Action on Michigan Campuses - Panel discussion with Steven Bertman (Western Michigan University), Jessica Ostrow Michel (University of Michigan), Jessica Thompson (Northern Michigan University), Denise Keele (Michigan Climate Action Network), Thomas Wassmer (Siena Heights University), Stephanie Baiyasi (Saginaw Valley State University), Zigmond Kozicki (University of Detroit Mercy), and Elena Lioubimtseva (GVSU),  moderated by Steven Bertman.                   

3 - 3:55 PM Documentary streaming Great Lakes: One Water for Life (2022) by Zigmond Kozicki and Stephanie Baiyasi, Great Lakes Environmental Festival. 

4 - 4:55 PM Documentary streaming Climate Sisu, vers.2 (2023) by K. Davis, E. Lioubimtseva, and L. Anderson. 

John Biewen

John Biewen is the Director of Storytelling and Public Engagement at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. A distinguished radio journalist and audio producer, he is also the host of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast series, Scene on Radio.

Whitney Pirtle

Whitney N. Laster Pirtle is an award winning researcher, teacher, speaker, and mentor. She is an Associate Professor of Sociology and John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation Chair in International Justice and Human Rights at the University of California, Merced.

CCESS 2023 Planning Committee

Dr. Elena Lioubimtseva, Professor of Geography and Sustainable Planning

Dr. Brian Deyo, Professor of English

Abbe Forbes, Director of Budget and Financial Planning, Division of Student Affairs

Dr. Yumiko Jakobcic, Director of Office of Sustainability Practices

Diane Miller, Business and Community Outreach Coordinator, Regional Math and Science Center

CCESS 2023 Sponsors

Office of the Provost
Division of Student Affairs
Brooks College
Koeze Business Ethics Initiative
West Michigan Farmlink
Great Lakes Environmental Festival
Plainsong Farm
EZ Bannerz
Citizens Climate Lobby
Johnson Center
GVSU Sustainability Office
GVSU Geography and Sustainable Planning Department

Page last modified November 10, 2023