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FSU to Focus on Sustainability and Climate Awareness at Focus Frostburg

Frostburg State University will again focus on sustainability and climate awareness during the upcoming Focus Frostburg event, an annual day of learning, on Wednesday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in and near FSU’s Lane University Center. The programs are free and open to the public.

Learn about FSU’s environmental commitment from a range of presentations by faculty and students on topics such as conservation, civic engagement, plastic housing, global sustainable development, social movements calling for climate action, industrial hemp and recycling. This year, there will also be a partnership with the regional community to feature topics on sustainable transportation, including the electric vehicle market. You can also participate in various activities and enjoy films on climate awareness.

FSU invites you to participate in this year’s Reduce, Reuse, Recycle poster contest, which highlights the talent and creativity of students in ART 207 Graphic Design. To help communicate environmental awareness for FSU’s celebration of Earth Week, students designed posters for this contest. But this year comes with a new twist: students are using an AI image generator as part of the ideation process. To view and vote for student-created environmental posters, visit FSU’s LGLG Facebook page at Voting begins on Wednesday, April 19, and ends at midnight on Sunday, April 23. Winners will be announced on Monday, April 24.

Vanessa Mukendi, a 2018 FSU graduate and the Conservation Research Program manager for Bats Conservation International, kicks off the 2023 Focus Frostburg events on Monday, April 17, at 7 p.m. in room 208 of Gunter Hall. Mukendi will speak about her pathway to the field of conservation, her current work with Bats Conservation International and her recent attendance at Nature Forward’s Taking Nature Black conference, which focused on the needs and interests of Black nature professionals, environmental justice advocates, educators and outdoor enthusiasts.

On Wednesday, April 19, there will be an Electric Transportation Expo on the Ort Library side of the Lane Center for much of the day. Hosted by the City of Frostburg Green Team, a variety of makes and models of electric vehicles, including pickup trucks and e-bikes, will be displayed, allowing attendees and passersby to get a close-up view of locally owned EVs.

Focus Frostburg begins at 10 a.m. in the Lane Center’s Alice R. Manicur Assembly Hall with “Renewal,” a feature-length documentary that capture the vitality and diversity of today’s religious-environmental activists. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., drop in when you can for an “EcoBricking Intro and Workshop” to learn more about EcoBricks and how to make them and join in to construct an EcoBrick bench. Also at 10 a.m., in room 162 of the Gira Center, students in the new class CMST 310 Civic Communication will discuss course learning and semester projects focused on civic engagement through the Communication Leadership Lab, including the #BobcatsAgainstBias dialogue about “Mental Health Civility: Navigating Bias and Inclusion” and the “Eat.Learn.Teach.” leadership residency and teaching kitchen demonstration focused on mindful eating.

Next, at 11 a.m. in room 111 of the Lane Center, Amanda Stanley will present “Can Plastic Housing Save the World?” Come hear how building from plastic may assist in cleaning up the planet while at the same time providing housing opportunities for those in need. In room 113 at the same time, SUST 455 students will share details of their efforts to support community partners working locally toward global sustainable development goals. The film “Food Chains” also at 11 a.m. in Lane Manicur Hall, focuses on farmworkers, who are routinely abused and robbed of wages, and reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce.

FSU will make its annual Arbor Day Proclamation at noon near the Clock Tower. There will be giveaways and other activities. The presentation at noon in Lane Center room 111, “Today’s Climate Action Movement: A Generational Divide?” by Myles Thomas and Dr. Kara Rogers Thomas uses the framework of social movements to explore protests calling for climate action. You can also take a tour of FSU Recycling Facilities at noon; meet Tracy Edwards near the vehicles between the Lane Center and Ort Library.

There will be another screening at 12:30 p.m. in Lane Manicur Hall. “Sun Come Up,” an Academy Award-nominated film, follows the relocation of the Carteret Islanders, a community living on a remote island chain in the South Pacific Ocean, and now, some of the world’s first environmental refugees. “Sun Come Up” provokes discussion about climate change, displacement and the rights of vulnerable communities around the globe.

There will be two presentations at 1 p.m. The Mountain Maryland Hemp Alliance will present “Industrial Hemp: The All-in-One Plant for Food, Fiber, Fuel, Health and the Future” in Lane Center room 111. In room 113, SUST 155 students will share details on FSU recycling and the Spring 2023 Campus Race to Zero Waste results. A bit later, at 1:15 p.m. in Lane Manicur Hall, “Sacred Cow,” a film about the current debate on eating and raising cattle for food, shows that animal-sourced foods are nutritious for humans and can be raised in a way that is beneficial for the environment.

Several events are planned for 2 p.m. In Lane Center room 113, Dr. Ben Norris will discuss FSU’s innovative and interdisciplinary non-thesis master’s degree focusing on practical application of concepts in environmental science, management and sustainability. In room 111, Dr. Elesha Ruminski will be the facilitator for “Greening the Campus.” For “Think Green. Be Green. Stop Littering on Campus,” Colin Creagan will explore what FSU does now and what more can be done to address litter. Trenton Buskirk, in “Building a Sustainable Future for Frostburg: Preparing for Electric Vehicles,” advocates for electric vehicles and discusses the advantages of government agencies and universities leading the way in research, infrastructure development and implementation of electric vehicle fleets. There will also be another tour of FSU’s recycling facilities at 2 p.m. Then, at 2:40 p.m. in Lane Manicur Hall, what starts as a film about plastic bags in “Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?” evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic’s effects on our oceans, environment and bodies.

The final presentation at 3 p.m. in Lane Center room 111, “Challenges and Opportunities in the Evolving Electric Vehicle Landscape,” by the City of Frostburg Green Team asks if our infrastructure is ready for the expected surge in the electric vehicle market and what a buyer new to EVs should consider.

Focus Frostburg tops off the day’s events with a keynote presentation by Michael Snyder at 4 p.m. in Lane Manicur Hall. In this talk, Snyder, a photographer and filmmaker, discusses his photographic work, “The Coming Coast,” a project that documents a journey along the coastline of the Chesapeake Bay as it may be in the year 2100. Along the way, he meets a diverse group of people to understand how individuals from various backgrounds, lifeways and perspectives can work together to protect a shared resource. Snyder is a Portrait of Humanity Award Winner, a Society of Environmental Journalists Member, a Bertha Fellow and a recent delegate to the United National Climate Conference.

Focus Frostburg ends with the film “2040” at 6 p.m., also in Lane Manicur Hall. Motivated by concerns about the planet his 4-year-old daughter would inherit, award-winning director Damon Gameau embarked on a global journey to meet innovators and changemakers in economics, technology, civil society, agriculture, education and sustainability. Drawing on their expertise, he sought to identify the best solutions, available now, that would help improve the health of the planet and the societies that operate within it. The community conversation following the screening will focus on initiatives underway in this area to improve our lives. Attendees will also share their own visions for 2040.

For more information, contact Dr. Kara Rogers Thomas at or visit

FSU is following CDC guidance based on current area conditions. For current health and safety guidelines, visit

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