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Biography

Elena Lioubimtseva is a Professor of Geography and Planning and Director of Environmental Studies Program at Grand Valley State University. Her research focuses on human vulnerability and adaptations to climate change. She holds PhD from Moscow State University and previously conducted research at University of Oxford and University of Louvain. She served as an expert on Vegetation-SPOT International Users Committee of the European Union VEGETATION Program, FAO Consultations on Climate Change and International Trade, Climate Resiliency Assessment of the City of Grand Rapids (MI), and other national and international projects. She is an author of more than 40 publications on climate and environmental change.

Abstract

GVSU has been recognized as one of the nation’s most environmentally-responsible colleges by the Princeton Review and ranked the 16th in the nation for sustainable practices based on the Green Metric World University Ranking. GVSU faculty, staff and students have embarked upon a journey to transform our university into a dynamic and fully integrated learning community. A truly sustainable university culture, integrating curriculum, research, community, and infrastructure have been built. Since 2009, the newly created interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Program has been a leading interdisciplinary academic unit integrating sustainability curriculum, co-curricular activities, research and service learning across the university. Climate change education is a central part of Environmental Studies curriculum and it is directly linked to other university-wide projects and initiatives that provide resources for hands-on education, such as management systems of LEED-certified buildings, Climate Action Plan, AC&U Presidents’ Climate Commitment reporting since 2008, Eco Hatchery Carbon Calculator,Sustainable Agriculture Project, and Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center. In 2013 GVSU Environmental Studies Program assisted the City of Grand Rapids in preparation of its first Climate Resiliency Report. This paper is a synthesis of GVSU experience of building a truly holistic and dynamic system that integrates all aspects of climate change education including: - university curriculum - faculty and student research - campus infrastructure and operations - student organizations - community-based projects - regional, national, and international partnerships

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