GCS 2019 Student Projects: Wasatch Front equity and Sustainability

student at whiteboard listing ideas

Conversations in the Wasatch Front: Equity and Sustainability

The students of Global Changes and Society 2019 decided that this semester’s theme would be place-based. The Wasatch Front is our community and our home, and with so many complex environmental issues at the forefront, we wanted to take a deeper look into the problems we are facing now and will face in the near future.

We starting having conversations with community leaders, expert researchers, government officials, non-profit organizations, and school officials on topics affecting the Wasatch Front, including air quality, green infrastructure, climate change, unsheltered homelessness, and resource scarcity.

Through these conversations, our class began to see that a clear problem in the valley is the disproportionate environmental impacts on certain socially and geographically vulnerable communities. We learned that many folks in these affected groups are unaware of or do not understand issues of poor air quality, and we began to realize the scope of impact that a lack of access to safe, healthy, and affordable food resources has in the Salt Lake valley.

We decided to approach the Wasatch Front theme through the lens of equity. In doing so, we felt we could have the greatest impact in creating sustainable, effective, equitable, and just solutions to environmental issues in the region. The following projects resulted from the conversations among ourselves and with the communities affected by these issues.

    • Dustin Roten, Atmospheric Sciences
    • Emily Frary, Professional Science Masters
    • Shruti Hegde, Chemical Engineering
    • Katherine Bui, Environmental Humanities
    • Mikala Jordan, City & Metropolitan Planning
    • Junsik Kim, City & Metropolitan Planning
    • Raul Ochoa, Geology & Geophysics
    • Eric Amerling, Chemistry
    • Stephen Cavanaugh, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    • Daniel Quintanilla, Geography
    • Leah Joyner, Parks, Recreation, & Tourism
    • Dennice Marin, Professional Masters
    • Matt Olson, Geography
    • Kristen Schulz, Law
    • Ang DeMarco, Anthropology
    • Rebecca Hardenbrook, Mathematics

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