Paving the Way to a Sustainable Future

“The Greening of Empire State Plaza” image by Cara Hanley

Student leaders at Rensselaer, along with other students and young activists from across the Capital Region, held a two-day workshop during the Sustainable Futures Conference in April. The Youth Congress workshop focused on what a world with climate justice looks like. “Activists must use political power against the fossil fuel, agriculture, and transportation industries that harm our planet beyond return,” says Kriti Sharma ’24, a Rensselaer architecture student and president of RPI Sunrise Movement, a club of student advocates for the Green New Deal. “Climate justice is the only route to a foreseeable future that can sustain human life as we know it.”

The four-day virtual conference was organized by the Future of Small Cities Institute and cohosted by the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) and the University of Albany. The conference brought the innovative sustainability efforts of Rensselaer, such as the newly launched Institute for Energy, the Built Environment, and Smart Systems, and the Capital Region to the forefront. National experts, politicians, scholars, students, and community leaders engaged in discussion surrounding the expansion of sustainability in all sectors of civic and urban community development.