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UW-River Falls Joins Largest Teach-in in U.S. History

JAN. 25, 2008--University of Wisconsin River Falls will participate in Focus The Nation, an unprecedented teach-in model on global warming solutions on Jan. 31. UWRF will be engaging in a day full of events including presentations by staff from U.S. Rep. Ron Kind's office and Kelly Cain, the director of the UWRF St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development.

The events take place in the Falcon's Nest Entertainment Complex at the University Center. Beginning at 8 am, UWRF student Nicholas Bisley and Chancellor Don Betz will introduce the Focus The Nation program. The introduction is followed by a pre-recorded presentation of James Hansen, a leading climate scientist and director of the NASA Goddard Institution for Space Studies at Columbia University. Laine Vignona, an associate professor of environmental science and management at UWRF, will facilitate the presentation.

Kelly Cain, director of the St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development at UWRF, will present an energy and climate agenda for the campus sustainable community development efforts at 9:45 a.m. His presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. At 10:15 a.m. the Energy Center of Wisconsin will present the results of a UWRF Energy Audit, followed at noon by a web cast broadcast to all participating schools, "The Threat to the Planet: The Dark and Bright Sides of Global Warming," by James Hansen from the Nobel Laureate Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College.            

Staff from the office of U.S. Rep. Ron Kind will speak on his behalf regarding his climate change agenda at 1:45 p.m. A panel discussion, moderated by Cain, will begin at 2:30 p.m., including Don Richards, mayor of River Falls; Jake Oelke, director of energy services for Wisconsin Public Power, Inc; Brian Zelenak, manager of regulatory administration for Xcel Energy; and Mike Stifter, director of facilities management at UWRF.

The final event, from 4 to 6 p.m., will be a bonfire behind the University Center, put on by the UWRF ECO Club, a group for building student commitment to campus carbon neutrality.

"We are in a time where critical decisions need to be made on global warming, which means today's leaders and the youth who will inherit the crisis need serious education on the issue," said James Speth, dean of Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. "Focus The Nation is our country's foremost model to create that level of education and interaction with lawmakers."

The final piece of Focus The Nation's teach-in model will be the Choose Your Future vote. Students, faculty and community members will be encouraged to vote on what they believe are the top five solutions from a list of 10-15 that will be available Jan. 21, 2008 at Vote results will be presented nationally in mid February. All students who vote will be eligible to win $10,000 leadership scholarship for a project to be completed by the end of August 2008.

Focus The Nation has created a teach-in model centered on the three most essential pillars for today's youth to embrace solutions to global warming: education, civic engagement and leadership. This educational initiative on global warming solutions is occurring at more than 1,000 universities and colleges and in all 50 states on Jan. 31, making it the largest teach-in in U.S. history.

For more information on the national teach-in or UWRF's participation, visit or call Kelly Cain at 715-425-3729.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:46 Central Daylight Time


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