Climate Youth Summit Debuts in the Finger Lakes Region

By Noelle Nichols ‘18

The first-ever Youth Climate Summit in the Finger Lakes region will be held at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and it’s all thanks to the initiative of a William Smith College student.The Finger Lakes Youth Climate Summit, FLYCS, is a one-day summit that seeks to educate, empower and engage students to be change agents in their local schools and communities.

On Wednesday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., numerous teams of high school students from surrounding areas will join together to discuss issues related to this year’s summit theme: climate change in the Finger Lakes region.

Each team is made up of six to twelve high school students and is supervised by a staff or faculty advisor.

The itinerary for the day consists of guest lectures, mini-workshops, as well as the opportunity for the students to create climate action plans for their schools and local communities, according to the Finger Lakes Youth Climate Summit event page.

The location of the FLYCS in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Center on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus is no coincidence.

Amanda Bruha, a sophomore at William Smith College, HWS, and the education program manager at the Finger Lakes Institute, Nadia Harvieux, worked together to make Bruha’s vision of bringing a youth climate summit to the Finger Lakes region a reality.

Bruha’s project was inspired by the experiences she had at the Sri Lanka Youth Climate Summit which she attended in January 2017.

The Sri Lanka Youth Climate Summit was modeled after the youth climate summit held annually since 2009 in Tupper Lake, N.Y., by The Wild Center, according to an article from The HWS Update.

Bruha has been working for the Wild Center since high school and attended the Sri Lanka Youth Climate Summit on behalf of The Wild Center.

“This program (at The Wild Center) helped me realize my passion for the environment, which eventually led me to HWS,” said Bruha in an interview with The HWS Update.

Upon Bruha’s return to the HWS campus during the spring semester, Bruha and two others were awarded grants through the Carver & DeLaney Family Environmental Studies Endowment, according to an article from The HWS Update.

With this grant, Bruha collaborated with Harvieux to work on creating the inaugural youth climate summit of the Finger Lakes region.

“Young people will feel the effects of climate change more than anyone else,” said Bruha in an interview with The HWS Update. “It is important that they are involved in finding solutions.”

The summit’s corporate event sponsor is Siemens and has numerous community sponsors supporting the summit as well, according to the Finger Lakes Institute’s education webpage.

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