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Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education


This November, the annual Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue incorporated a new format of dialogue from previous years. the dialogue has traditionally been a panel discussion with a question and answer session at the end, but thie year the Center to an open round table dialogue, called the World Café. There were eight discussion tables set up around the Cohen Center Ballroom, each headed by a knowledgeable student, professor, or alum on the specific topic their table addressed. The table topics included Agroecology/ Sustainable Living, Divestment, Science and Climate Change, World Religions and Climate Change, Sustainable Business, Environmental Policy, Environmental Justice, and Communication and Activism. Each table was equipped with a paper table cloth and markers with which the participants were to write or draw out any ideas, insights, or questions that arose during the discussions. Participants had the opportunity to have a ten minute discussion with five of the eight tables. At the end of the dialogue each tale presented their table paper with collages of writing and drawings. Participants were also given note cards, which they could take home, to write their “I will” statements on. The “I will” statements declare what they will do to combat climate change.

The purpose of this event and organizing it in the World Café style was to generate authentic dialogue that stimulated collaboration, student engagement, and action. One of the table moderators, Helen Baillargeon, who is a current Environmental Studies student at FGCU and lead the Divestment table, said that she “wants students to feel empowered and inspired when talking about the challenge of climate change rather than scared. We have a great duty to do what is right.” Leaving the event each student declared their “I will” statements. Some of the “I will” statements included, “I will be more efficient with my resources”, “I will care for people, the earth, and share fairly”, and “I will support more locally rooted food systems”.

            The Center is pleased with the results of the event. Every participant was provided the opportunity to have their voice heard and share powerful insights on how college students can take action on this impending issue.




Past Dialogues

Climate Change: Building a Better Future Through Conversation


November 2, 2015 in the Cohen Center Ballroom at FGCU

This year’s Dialogue was focused on the sense of urgency that climate change presents us. The dialogue was a World Café-style participatory dialogue, designed to facilitate open and critical discussion and collaboration. The World Café process gave all participants the opportunity to be directly involved in the Dialogue and is an effective method for bringing people together around important issues. This method was a departure from the traditional lecture-style panel dialogues that the Center has hosted in the past. This year’s Dialogue presented students with the opportunity to join various important conversations facilitated by knowledgeable students, professors, alumni, and community partners. The purpose of setting up the Dialogue as a World Café was to draw on the collective knowledge and wisdom in the room and to encourage collaboration and action amongst participants.Click here to find the video of the event!

Talking on Water: Transforming Education into Action


October 27, 2014 in the Student Union Ballroom at FGCU

This Dialogue focused on the protection of Southwest Florida’s water resources and coastal environments by stressing education and action. The event aimed to educate and empower students to stand up for the protection of Florida’s natural resources and natural wonders. This Dialouge stressed the notion that Humans, plants, and animals need clean water to survive and that clean water and thriving ecosystems are essential to Florida’s quality of life. Pannelists Win Everham, Jeremy Frantz, and Joy Hazell explained how overdevelopment and other unsustainable practices are negatively impacting watersheds, which effects sources of clean water. The panalists demonstrated how humans have altered the historical flow of water across the Florida landscape and showed how this has had far reaching consequences, impacting regional water quality and biological diversity.


Sustainable Food to Nourish Mind, Body, and Soul

Monday, October 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm
Florida Gulf Coast University, Cohen Center Lawn
Fort Myers, Florida

The seventh annual Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue addressed ethical, humane, and sustainable food options available at Florida Gulf Coast University and in Southwest Florida.  This year's Dialogue illustrated how choosing to consume sustainable foods nourishes the mind, body, and soul. The goal of this year’s Dialogue was to demonstrate how a conscientious young person on a budget in Southwest Florida can utilize local resources and benefit from consuming sustainable foods.


Food and the Soul: Humane & Sustainable Food Notes for Presentation by Dr. Kris De Welde 

A Guide to Eating Sustainably in Southwest Florida

Ocean Conservation and Sustainability

Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm
Florida Gulf Coast University, Student Union Ballroom
Fort Myers, Florida

Our Dialogue entitled, "Ocean Conservation and Sustainability," focused on the negative effects that human activities have on marine ecosystems. Panelists Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of the Ocean Conservancy in Washington D.C., and Sheila Bowman, Senior Manager of Outreach and Education for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program in Monterey, California, addressed many of the major issues affecting the health of our oceans.

E-waste & Ethics: Where do Blackberries Decompose?

Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm
Florida Gulf Coast University, Student Union Ballroom
Fort Myers, Florida

In our 5th installment of the Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue, we explored the oft-overlooked issue of e-waste and the people and places it effects.  Panelists included Jim Puckett of the Basal Action Network, Eric Otto, Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities, and Jessica Mendes, graduate student at FGCU. The event was co-moderated by Center student assistants Ariel Chomey and Jordan Yingling, and a special invocation was given by Miccosukee elder, Andy Buster.

Young People, Communication, and Sustainability

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm
Florida Gulf Coast University, Student Union Ballroom
Fort Myers, Florida

New York Times bestselling author Ishmael Beah returned to FGCU to participate in our fourth Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue. Panelists included Arabella Daniels of the Student/Farmworker Alliance, Cruz Salucio of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and Center Advisor Jacob Scott. Jacob participated virtually from Bristol, England using telecommunication software. FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw welcomed the panelists and offered opening remarks. The event explored digital collaboration toward sustainability, critical engagement with consumer media, and the theme of hope, despair, and the future in environmental rhetoric. You can access a six-part video of the panel discussion on YouTube by clicking here! Feel free to continue the dialogue using the "comment" feature.

Food Systems and Climate Change at Florida Gulf Coast University

Tuesday, October 11, 2007, 7:00 pm
Florida Gulf Coast University, Student Union Ballroom
Fort Myers, Florida

The third Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue developed the previous year’s theme of food, ethics, and sustainability by exploring food practices within the context of carbon neutrality at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Food, Ethics, and Sustainability

Tuesday, September 16, 2006, 7:00 pm
Florida Gulf Coast University, Sugden Welcome Center
Fort Myers, Florida

The second Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue was a panel discussion with participants from The Humane Society of the United States, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, California Student Sustainability Coalition, and Worden Farm. The panel discussed ethical and environmental aspects of food, including animal welfare, social justice.

Social Justice and Human Rights in Immokalee, Florida

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 7:00 pm
Florida Gulf Coast University, Sugden Welcome Center
Fort Myers, Florida

The inaugural Terry Tempest Williams Student Dialogue was a panel discussion with participants from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Guadeloupe Center of Immokalee, Harvest for Humanity, FGCU Professor Ingrid Martinez Rico, Pace Center for At-Risk Girls, and the Student Farmworker Alliance.  The panel discussed issues of social justice and human rights in the Southwest Florida farming community of Immokalee, Florida. The panel was moderated by Dr. Maria F. Roca. Oanness Arthur Priztker, Director of Yat Kitischee Native Center, gave the closing response.