UC Riverside to Hold Carbon Slam

Community invited to join UCR, City of Riverside in reducing emissions and promoting sustainability  

An image of a globe highlighting the conference speakers

UCR’s Carbon Slam Conference will be May 19.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — From melting glaciers in Antarctica to parched land in the tropics, the world is getting warmer—a change caused primarily by the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as we burn fossil fuels. A May event at the University of California, Riverside will highlight how the campus and the City of Riverside are taking action to cut carbon—and what you can do to support these efforts.

UCR’s first Carbon Slam is set for Thursday, May 19, from 1-5 p.m., at the Bourns College of Engineering’s Winston Chung Hall. University and community members are invited to learn how to help tackle climate change and promote sustainability.

The keynote speaker will be Eric A. Rohlfing, deputy director for technology at the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E). ARPA-E is a U.S. Department of Energy initiative that supports researchers who are developing new ways to generate, store and use energy, with a focus on environmental technologies.

Mihri Ozkan, a professor of electrical engineering in UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering is organizing the event after being selected as UCR’s first Faculty Climate Action Champion. The honor is part of the University of California’s system-wide Carbon Neutrality Initiative, launched by President Janet Napolitano in November 2014 committing UC to emit net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025.

headshot of Mihri Ozkan

Mihri Ozkan, a professor of electrical engineering

Ozkan said she hoped that the unique perspectives from those on campus, in Riverside and at the federal level would foster a discussion that has “real results.”

“The chemical composition of fossils in cores from the deep ocean show that it’s been 35 million years since the Earth last experienced today’s high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. We all have to work together to save our world,” she said.

Four students, who were chosen alongside Ozkan as Climate Action Fellows, will present short talks about their work to engage the campus in sustainability, and Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey and Andrew Markis, a sustainability officer for the City of Riverside, will outline the city’s climate action plan.

“UCR’s Carbon Slam epitomizes the level of engagement needed by students, faculty and staff to creatively develop a response to Climate Disruption in support of our commitment to sustainability,” said John Cook, director of sustainability at UCR, and a speaker at the event.

The free event will be held in Winston Chung Hall (rooms 205 and 206). Free parking permits for attendees will be available from the kiosk beside UCR Parking Lot 1. The full agenda is below.

The UCR event is a prelude to a system-wide Carbon Slam event, scheduled for May 23 in Silicon Valley. Students from all 10 campuses will present their climate science and carbon reduction research in three-minute pitches before a panel of esteemed judges and guests for a chance to win cash prizes. That event aims to show breadth and impact of climate research taking place across UC campuses and stimulate new partnerships.


UCR Carbon Slam Agenda

Thursday, May 19 from 1-5 p.m.

Winston Chung Hall, 205-206


1 p.m.: Opening Remarks, Dr. Mihri Ozkan, Climate Action Champion


1:10 p.m.: Welcoming Remarks, Dr. Michael Pazzani, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development


1:20 p.m.: Keynote Talk, Eric A. Rohlfing, Deputy Director for Technology, ARPA-E

Title: An Overview of the Advanced Research Projects Agency –Energy (ARPA-E)


2:20 p.m.: Talk, Dr. Mihri Ozkan, Climate Action Champion

Title: “Carbon Slam: Towards Zero Emission”


3 p.m.: Climate Student Hero Talks

-Benjamin Scott Sommerkorn, Mechanical Engineering

Title: Water-Energy Relationship at UCR

-Chao Wang, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Title: A Network that Loops Everyone in to Contribute

-Drew Story, Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Title: Connecting Graduate Students to Sustainability

-Hannah Campi, Environmental Science

Title: Climate Action Planning at UCR: A roadmap to carbon neutrality


3:30 p.m.: Mayor Rusty Bailey, City of Riverside


4 p.m.: Andrew Markis, Riverside Public Utility

Title: City of Riverside Climate Action Plan and Sustainability Goals


4:30 p.m.: Dr. John Cook, Director of Sustainability

Title: 2025: before and beyond a moment in time


5 p.m.: Closing Remarks, Dr. Mihri Ozkan, Climate Action Champion

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4580
E-mail: sarah.nightingale@ucr.edu
Twitter: snightingale

Additional Contacts

Mihri Ozkan
E-mail: mihri@ece.ucr.edu

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