For nearly three decades, the United Nations has been bringing together almost every country on Earth for global climate summits – called COPs, or “Conference of the Parties.” In what is known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In that time, climate change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority. As a social justice university, Southern Connecticut State University is dedicated to taking action to address this climate crisis, and has taken steps to provide unique opportunities to get students, administrators and faculty involved in this mission at the international scale.
In 2021 The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities were awarded Observer status by the UN Secretariat to attend and participate in annual UNFCCC events. Participating in these global negotiations is key to providing leadership opportunities for our students, and for connecting our communities here in Connecticut to the bigger global context of climate change.
Following our acceptance as an official Observer organization at COP26 in Glasgow Scotland, we have established a new program titled “Owls4Earth: Participant Observers of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”. This program will engage CSCU students, faculty, and staff in the UNFCCC process, and will use SCSU’s official Observer organization status as a foundation for climate change research, education, and outreach in our state and beyond.
*This is a program of the SCSU International Education Office and Dr. Erin Heidkamp, in collaboration with Dr. Miriah Russo Kelly of SCSU Department of the Environment, Geography, and Marine Sciences who serves as the designated contact point for our UNFCCC delegation.
Diversity and Inclusion
SCSU is committed to identifying and addressing systemic barriers to equity, access, and success for all members of our community. The university strives to create and maintain working and learning environments that are inclusive, equitable and welcoming
The appointment of the CSU System (led by SCSU) as an official observer organization by the UNFCCC is significant because it adds to the growing number of public institutions of higher education that now have a seat at the table around which political decisions about the climate crisis are being made that will impact the future of our planet. Perhaps most importantly, it is an unprecedented opportunity for our diverse and underrepresented students to participate in meaningful dialogue and action around climate change at the international scale.
The intention of the UNFCCC COP 27 application review committee is to send a small group of students who reflect the diversity of our campus communities to participate in this extraordinary opportunity in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt this November.