Race is a determining factor in the presence or lack of personal opportunities, and it is time that we center race in our conversations and address America’s racialized social structure in the field of sustainability. People are impacted by racism in either negative or positive ways; this session will attempt to unpack some of the privileges and disadvantages that result. Once we have established a foundation to better understand racism, we will delve into current events that have resulted in widespread activism. In this candid session we will address racism head-on, and as a result could cause some discomfort, because these are sensitive issues with deep historical roots for us as a society and as individuals. We can’t run away from that discomfort; instead, we must confront the truth and situate ourselves within it as we strive towards social justice in sustainability.
Ben Kalscheur has served in the Texas A&M Office of Sustainability since 2010. He started as a graduate assistant and became the sustainability assistant manager in 2013 upon completion of his master’s in water management and hydrological science. Hailing from Wisconsin, Ben earned a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In the Office of Sustainability his core job function is running an Internship Program devoted to creating a culture of sustainability through action and outreach. Ben is a strong advocate for the importance of incorporating social justice into sustainability and strives to build diverse, dynamic teams that are built on the foundations of inclusion, respect and passion. Ben believes the only way we can create a sustainable world is by working together to make sure each and every one of us feels valued and included.