More than 120 students across the UNC System gathered at Haw River State Park March 25-26 to learn how to advocate for marine ecosystems. A first-of-its-kind event, the Ocean Advocacy Workshop focused on motivating and teaching student attendees how to champion the oceans and environment through civic engagement.
NC State University, University of North Carolina Greensboro, North Carolina Wildlife Federation and the Plastic Ocean Project collaborated to host the event that addressed advocacy for environmental, economic and social sustainability through workshops on social media, communication, diversity and other topics.
“Students participating in the Ocean Advocacy Workshop got a chance to understand critical sustainability challenges that are currently facing our global oceans”, said Stacy Nelson, interim associate dean for diversity and inclusion and professor at the College of Natural Resources.
Students also had the opportunity to network and engage with leading environmental advocacy professionals and researchers during the two-day event.
Nelson led the workshop planning team from NC State and received a grant from the NC State Sustainability Fund to waive or reduce student fees to $25 for workshop transportation, food and lodging.
The hope is for the Ocean Advocacy Workshop to grow and become an annual event, Nelson said.
“Our young folks are our future teachers, industry and environmental leaders, and presidents and CEOs. Their voices and influences will be powerful,” Nelson said. “Knowing that they are not only concerned about the world we live in today, but they can become a catalyst for ensuring the best outcomes for our future generations is incredible.”