Our Work Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow

March 27-30, 2023

In 2015, the United Nations introduced 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a blueprint for a better, more sustainable future for all. 

Here at Emerson, we’re on it. Across the College and around the world, Emersonians are contributing to a better future in many ways, big and small, because we all have a stake in what’s ahead.

The 2023 Teach-In on Sustainability (March 27-30) will feature a dynamic, interdisciplinary, and interactive exploration of how we advance, create, and communicate toward a sustainable tomorrow.

Monday, March 27

Reading and Writing the Environment: Write It!--Global Warming

4:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. EST


Location: Walker 521, 120 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116

Description: In Professor Casson’s class, students read contemporary texts and address current environmental issues such as landscape sustainability, overpopulation, environmental justice and sociology, farming practices, climate change, environmental degradation, environmental health, energy sustainability, pollution, waste and recycling, resource depletion, and conservation. This class features renowned conservation biologist Richard Primack, author of Walden Warming, who discusses how our warming climate comes to be revealed in the interchange of science and literature.

Sustainable Development Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

A green icon depicting a tree with birds in flight and the text "15: Life on Land"

Green Production and Harnessing Storytelling for Sustainability

6:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. EST


  • Homa Sarabi, VMA Director of Production and Safety
  • Paul Turano, VMA Associate Professor and Ecology Artist,
  • Ava Tribe, Political Comm Student and Eco-Ambassador and Emerson Green Collective President 

Location: Walker 417, 120 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116

Description: Green Production practices are being embraced by media making at all levels – from students to the industry. As artists and independent filmmakers have committed to sustainable production practices, they have provided viable models for environmentally conscious approaches and increasingly the media industry is stepping up. Emerson is in a unique position to train the next generation of media makers towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This panel explores a broad philosophy of practice that embraces sustainability in production, creative form, and content – all harnessing storytelling and artistic expression as compelling spaces to envision solutions to the climate crisis and making work that is a call for collective action.

Sustainable Development Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

A yellow icon depicting an infinity symbol and the text "12: Responsible consumption and production"

Tuesday, March 28

Energy and Sustainability: Action Plans

12:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. EST


  • Jon Honea, Director of the Honors Program and Professor in the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Students of SC220 Energy and Sustainability

Location: Walker Building 210, 120 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116

Description: Teams of students in Jon Honea's SC220 Energy and Sustainability course present their action plans for their projects to reduce the energy and material footprint of Emerson College.

Sustainable Development Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

A yellow icon depicting a sun and the text "7: Affordable and clean energy"

Advanced Topics in Global Diversity Studies: Postcolonial and Indigenous Environments

12:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. EST


Location: Engagement Lab 312, 160 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116

Description: Imagining climate change and more-than-human kin through world games and collaborative story-telling: Never Alone/Kisima Ingitchuna

Sustainable Development Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

A blue graphic depicting interwoven circles and the text "17: Partnerships for the goals"

Decolonizing the Arts

4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST


  • Ronee Penoi, ArtsEmerson Director of Artistic Programming
  • Erin M. Genia, multidisciplinary artist, educator and community organizer specializing in Native American and Indigenous arts and culture

Location: Bill Bordy Theater, 216 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116. 

Description: So many of the structures in which we work are a legacy of colonization-power structures, artistic structures, aesthetic structures and even our understanding of the natural world. Understanding this and moving away from these structures is crucial. Decolonization as a practice and vision for society is increasingly entering conversations of how we build a more just world. But what exactly is decolonization, and where do we begin? Join us for an engaging workshop that illuminates how decolonization is key to sustainability efforts, providing pathways for those completely new to, or actively involved in, decolonization efforts.


Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

A pink graphic with the text "10: reduced inequalities"

How to Calm Your Nervous System in These Trying Times

6:00 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. EST


Location: Paramount Center, 3rd Floor Studio 2, 559 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111

Description: Sustainability is hard. Working to ensure fair treatment of all organisms can take a toll on you. Combine that with the ambient anxiety of a post-COVID, high-anxiety news cycle and all the pressures of work or school can result in an overactive fear response, and a keyed-up parasympathetic nervous system. Fortunately there are ways to ease that struggle. In this workshop, Emerson alum Shekinah-Glory Beepat ’16 will take you through some guided movements and processes to help take your nervous system off guard, and to relax you in a profound and lasting way. Come prepared to lie on the floor if you’re able, and wear loose-fitting clothes suitable for gentle movements.

Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

A green icon depicting a heart pulse and the text "3: Good health and well-being"

Wednesday, March 29

Introduction to Research Writing

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EST

Presenters: Mary Mangual, First Year Writing Instructor and MFA in Fiction Candidate   

Location: Little Building 228, 80 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116.

Description: Students in Mary Mangual’s Introduction to Research Writing course explore the interdisciplinarity of the framework for sustainability outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and discuss how U.S. college students can hone the skills they’ll need to collaborate across fields to address problems that require expertise from multiple discourse communities.

Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

A red icon depicting a book and pencil and the text "4: quality education"

The EcoTok Strikes Back

12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST


Location: SPC Theatre (Little Building), 80 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02116

Description: This session begins with an informal chat with Kristy and Isaias—two climate educators/activists/entrepreneurs who are making an impact and their own careers in the fight for a sustainable tomorrow. They’ll discuss their best practices, challenges, and pathways for bringing environmental education to wider audiences online. They will also discuss the Ecotok collective, an online community space of emerging creators who are making sustainability accessible, inclusive, and trendy.  This section will allow time for Q&A with the audience.

The second part will focus on “Mapping Your Climate Career”—a hands-on workshop where participants break down and demystify their climate career pathway. There will also be an opportunity for personal storytelling/ branding, resume review, and discussion to leave students feeling more empowered to find a climate job and build the foundational blocks of their careers.

Sustainable Development Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

A green icon depicting the earth in an eyeball and the text "13: climate action"

Emerson’s Transforming Narratives for Climate Justice Initiative

4:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. EST


  • ECO: Youth Corps from GreenRoots
  • Andie Fisher, Youth Program Director, GreenRoots
  • Eric Gordon, VMA Professor and Director of the Engagement Lab
  • Rachele Gardner, Associate Director of the Engagement Lab
  • Paul Mihailidis, JR Professor
  • Nejem Raheem, MK Professor and Senior Fellow, Engagement Lab

Location: Engagement Lab Classroom, 160 Boylston St., third floor, Boston, MA 02116

Description: Come and learn about a new initiative at the Engagement Lab!. Local activists and practitioners will join Emerson faculty and students to create art, media, and storytelling projects to advance climate justice in the Boston area.

This workshop will highlight the work of GreenRoots, one of our Environmental Justice partner organizations, and will feature a workshop by their Environmental Chelsea Organizers (ECO) group. This is a team of 6 teens that work on projects important to youth in Chelsea. They lead campaigns, run community-wide surveys, and undertake other actions envisioned by youth.


Sustainable Development Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

A green icon depicting the earth in an eyeball and the text "13: climate action"

Thursday, March 30

Parables for Change

12:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. EST


  • Amy Vashlishan Murray, Associate Professor in the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of Curriculum Administration
  • Jaime Tanner, Associate Professor in the Marlboro InstitTute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies   

Location: SPC Theatre (Little Building), 80 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02116

Description: In this first-year interdisciplinary seminar, students explore the ways in which the stories we tell shape our ideas on what is possible in a climate changing world. With paired readings from Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler; All We Can Save, edited by Ayana E, Johnson and Katherine Wilkinson; and other works, students engage with the pressing environmental and social issues of the day and cultivate the courage needed to creatively shape change. Amy Vashlishan Murray and Jaime Tanner lead a discussion on “Three Sisters,” a chapter in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s best-selling 2013 book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.

Sustainable Development Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

A yellow icon depicting a steaming bowl of food and the text "2: Zero hunger"

The Importance of Communication and the Arts in Science, Government, and Higher Education

4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST


  • Danielle Schwarzmann, Chief Economist at Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
  • John D. Spengler, Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation at Harvard University
  • Katherine Adam, Vice President Denterlein Communications
  • Paul Kirshen, Professor of Climate Adaptation, School of the Environment, University of Massachusetts, Boston. 
  • Erin Burger, Chief of Staff, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Facilitator: Nejem Raheem, Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Marketing Communication, Emerson College

Location: Student Performance Center Theatre (Little Building lower level), 80 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116

Description: Communication and the Arts are essential in motivating pro-environmental and pro-social behavior, translating the work of science and policy to a broader public, and explaining that public’s need to scientists and policy makers. In this panel we will hear from high-level staff and faculty from a range of Federal and State agencies as well as from higher education about the importance of the work we do at Emerson to the broader sustainability effort.

Sustainable Development Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

A blue icon depicting a dove on a gavel and the text "16: Peace, justice and strong institutions"

Alumni Panel

6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EST


  • Heather Ender ’13, Owner and Producer at High Grove Productions
  • Liz Benjamin ’21, Manager at Boomerangs in Jamaica Plain
  • Scott Clavenna MFA ’97, Co-founder of PostScript Media, Co-founder and former CEO of Greentech Media 
  • Suzie Hicks ’18, filmmaker, author, and television host 
  • Cady Drell ’11, law student, researcher, journalist
  • Allie Chuma ‘16, masters candidate in sustainability at Harvard Extension School
  • Jabari Canada ’16, filmmaker and Ph.D. candidate in architecture at MIT
  • Julia Newman ‘21, filmmaker, Programming Coordinator at MGM+
  • Facilitated by Cordelia Kelly ’24, Business of Creative Enterprises

Location: Walker Building 417, 120 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116

This is a hybrid event. Register here to join the discussion via webinar.

Description: Emerson alumni end up in all kinds of positions. This group of alumni  all work in the field of sustainability in one way or another. From news reporting to sustainability marketing for Google, from science writing to podcasting, these Emersonians will share their stories and journeys.

Sustainable Development Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

A red icon depicting a graph and the text "8: Decent work and economic growth"

Emerson Green Collective Open House and 5th Year Anniversary Event

7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST


  • Ava Tribe ’24, Green Collective President, Political Communication Major
  • Indigo Pinedo ’23, Green Collective Vice President, Creative Writing Major

Location: Little Building 225, 80 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116

Description: Catered vegan food and a presentation of the work EGC has done in the past year. We will also have a lesson on sustainability and an environmentally-focused community art project for participants to take part in.

Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

A yellow icon depicting four buildings and the text "11: Sustainable cities and communities"