USF Global Sustainability Conference Draws Leading Scientists, Feb. 11-12

By Vickie Chachere



President of Ewha Womans University in South Korea to Receive Global Leadership Award


TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2010) The University of South Florida will introduce its new School of Global Sustainability with its first major conference Thursday and Friday, Feb. 11-12, featuring some of the world’s leading researchers in climate change, the environment and health in a series of discussions on the future of the planet and its inhabitants.


All events – which will be powered through the purchase of renewable energy and whose carbon impact will be offset - will be held in the Oval Theater at the Marshall Student Center. The program is free and open to the public.


The conference program will begin on Thursday at 10 a.m. with a presentation from Ohio State University researcher Lonnie Thompson, whose studies on retreating glaciers and the demise of the famed snows of Mount Kilimanjaro provided some of science’s most dramatic evidence of climate change. Thompson, the director of the Byrd Polar Research Center, served as an adviser for the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.


Thompson’s lecture will be followed by a panel discussion on climate change and rising sea levels featuring USF researchers at 11:30 a.m.


At 2 p.m., Ewha Womans University President Bae-Yong Lee of South Korea will be presented with the President's Global Leadership Award in recognition of her efforts to foster international research, solutions and discussions of issues of global concern.


The day’s program will continue with a conversation with Tampa Bay area community leaders at 3 p.m. and a faculty panel on local and regional environmental policy at 4 p.m.


Friday’s events will feature a 10 a.m. lecture by George Luber, an epidemiologist and the associate director for Global Climate Change for the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Luber’s research has focused on the health effects of climate change.  His lecture will be followed by a faculty panel discussing climate change and health and questions from the audience.


At 2 p.m., Jerry Schnoor, co-director of the Global and Regional Environmental Research at the University of Iowa will discuss his ground-breaking work in using mathematical models in science policy decisions and as one of the founding fathers of phytoremediation, the use of plants to clean the environment. A panel of USF researchers who study environmental issues will conclude with an audience discussion,


The event is the first major conference sponsored by USF’s newly created School of Global Sustainability, an innovative effort designed to take a world view of challenges to the environment, health and resources while preparing students for emerging “green collar” careers.


The School of Global Sustainability – the first of its kind in the nation designed to take a global perspective on sustainability – will admit its first students this year.


Also attending the conference will be representatives from USF’s Global Academic Partners: Nankai University, China; University of Exeter; U.K.; and University of Ghana and University of the Cape Coast in Ghana.


The public is invited to attend, but seating is limited. Please RSVP to or 974-5534.



The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.