University of Vermont

Students Learn from Inspiring Environmental Leaders in Spring Seminar Series

Leadership wordle

Mass extinction, skyrocketing human population, global climate change, and countless other problems are threatening life on our planet. Who is going to take the lead on tackling these global issues?

The 2014 Rubenstein School Spring Lecture Series—organized by a faculty committee (Rolf Diamant, Tom Hudspeth, Jennifer Jewiss, Matt Kolan, Taylor Ricketts, Deane Wang) and members of the NR 199 honors course—is inspiring RSENR students, faculty, and staff to step up to the plate by learning from leaders across sustainability movement.

The students of the NR 199 honors course kicked off the series with a discussion of what they believe will be the most pressing global challenges in their lifetime and how they feel about those challenges. In the following weeks, the students and the audience have engaged guest speakers in conversations about how they came to be in a leadership position, their personal leadership style, and even what they have learned from their biggest mistakes as a leader.

So far, the guests have discussed their journeys to an interesting variety of leadership positions. Michael Snyder shared lessons learned on his path from UVM student to Chittenden County Forester to Vermont’s Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation. Keya Chatterjee inspired the audience with her experiences as the Director of Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach and author of Zero Footprint Baby. Annie Bourbon, founder and Executive Director of CarShare Vermont, spoke about making the leap from working with mentors developing car-sharing in San Francisco to founding a non-profit here in Vermont. Nancy Bell discussed her transition from a fighter to a peacemaker, stressing the importance of listening to and valuing ideas from community members.

The remaining speakers range from a Civil Rights Investigator for the Vermont Human Rights Commission to the Executive Director of the Vermont Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. You can find the schedule of guests and more information about the seminars, which take place every Tuesday at 4:00 in Aiken 102, here: We hope to see you there!