TSU Mickey Leland Scholars Join HBCU Student Delegation Attending UN Climate Summit in Paris

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Texas Southern University Students Jenice Young, Joy Semien and Steven Washington Attended COP21 in Paris

The Texas Clean Air Matters team is thrilled to share that the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Climate Change Consortium sent 50 student leaders from around the United States to the U.N. COP21 climate summit in Paris, three of whom are Texas Southern University students awarded with the Mickey Leland Scholarship. These students represent future environmentalists, who could have a large impact on the future of Texas in terms of solving the climate crisis. This delegation of students was able to witness the construction of the agreement and had a chance to see countries reach a historic agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilizing global temperatures. You can read more about them in this guest post by Dr. Robert Bullard, one of the foremost experts on environmental justice in the world.

EDF is excited these students had such an amazing opportunity and to witness first hand climate diplomacy in action.

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Climate Change Consortium sent a delegation of 50 student leaders and faculty mentors to the United Nations COP21 Climate Summit in Paris. The HBCU COP21 delegation included 15 schools in states stretching from Texas to Pennsylvania. Three Texas Southern University Mickey Leland Scholars, Steve Washington, N. Jenise Young and Joy Simien, are student team leaders in the delegation. The summit ran from November 30 to December 11, 2015 and brought together more than 125 world leaders, international organizations and civil society to discuss plans to achieve a new international agreement on the climate.

The HBCU Climate Change Consortium was co-facilitated by the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston and the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) at Dillard University in New Orleans. It was conceived to train a new generation of climate leaders and help raise awareness about the disproportionate impact of climate change on vulnerable and marginalized communities in the United States and around the world.

TSU Mickey Leland Scholars Attending COP21 Climate Summit

Steven Washington – Mickey Leland Scholar and EDF Climate Corps Fellow (2015). Mr. Washington is a Master’s student in the Department of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy. He was selected by the Environmental Defense Fund for a position as a 2015 EDF Climate Corps Fellow with Port Freeport in Freeport, Texas. In this position he estimated energy savings and emissions reductions from the adoption of a sustainable supply chain strategy and assessed the business case for the new service from a customer perspective.  Mr. Washington is one of the co-team leaders in the HBCU Climate Change Consortium and actively organized HBCU students to attend the People’s Climate March in NYC and the United Nations COP21 Climate Summit in Paris. He is a native Houstonian.

Jenise Young – Mickey Leland Scholar and EDF Climate Corps Fellow (2013-2014). As a doctoral student in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, Ms. Young worked to find ways to make Texas Southern University a more energy efficient campus.  She identified bottom line savings for the Public Affairs Building, Jesse H. Jones School of Business Building and the Ernest S. Sterling Student Center and was also tasked with the assignment of identifying opportunities to launch campus and community-wide sustainability initiatives.  She was one of three EDF Climate Corps Fellows featured in the 2014 award winning Showtime documentary “Years of Living Dangerously.” Ms. Young returned during the summer of 2014 with the goal of helping the university develop a framework to draft a future climate action plan. She researched current campus transportation options, demand response programs, waste reduction and ways to expand its existing recycling programs. Ms. Young also identified campus and community stakeholders to assist with the university’s effort to begin analyzing its carbon footprint.  She has served as a diversity ambassador for the Association of American Geographer’s U.S. Department of State Cultural Affairs (My Community, My Earth). Ms. Young is a native of Grand Rapids, MI.

Joy Semien – Mickey Leland Scholar.   Ms. Semien is in her first semester of the Master’s program at Texas Southern University in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy.  As an undergraduate at Dillard University, under the mentorship of Dr. Amy Lesen, Joy helped to evaluate the extent to which non-structural risk mitigation programs could potentially reduce New Orleans flood risk on the two-year collaborative research project “NOLA Hurricane Readiness.”  Ms. Semien also worked on a project focused on increasing knowledge of healthy sustainable eating to combat childhood obesity.  Joy spent a semester in an environmental science program via MBL Biological Discovery in Woods Hole, and she participated in the Ecological Society of America, Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS) field trips and workshops.  She is a native of Geismar, LA.

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  • […] The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Climate Change Consortium sent a delegation of 50 student leaders and faculty mentors to the United Nations COP21 Climate Summit in Paris. The HBCU COP21 delegation included 15 schools in states stretching from Texas to Pennsylvania. Three Texas Southern University Mickey Leland Scholars, Steve Washington, N. Jenise Young and Joy Simien, are student team leaders in the delegation. The summit ran from November 30 to December 11, 2015 and brought together more than 125 world leaders, international organizations and civil society to discuss plans to achieve a new international agreement on the climate. read more […]