Green Careers Conference 2018: Why You Should Go

By: LAUREN D’SOUZA, Student Manager at the Roberts Environmental Center (CMC-’18)

The Roberts Environmental Center is very proud to announce the 4th Annual Green Careers Conference on Friday, February 2, 2018. 

You may have seen my name pop up a few times on the Hixon Center blog. Although the Hixon Center is an institution of Harvey Mudd College, I am a senior at Claremont McKenna. I’m also a student manager at the Roberts Environmental Center, which is CMC’s environmental research institute, and this is my third year working on planning the Green Careers Conference.  

Throughout my four years in Claremont, I’ve seen a beautiful thing: environmental institutes, resources, opportunities, and general buzz has increased dramatically at the 5Cs. I’m sure I’m witnessing a trend that has been fomenting for much, much longer, but I’ve noticed a wonderful growth among students interested in sustainability even since 2014.  

When I first arrived in Claremont, I sought out the REC specifically because I wanted more experience and interaction with environmental research and jobs on campus. However, if I didn’t know that I was interested in a “green career”—or that “green careers” were even out there—then I would have been clueless and lost. In my first year at the REC, one of our teams came up with a novel idea: to host a conference dedicated to showcasing the depth and breadth of environmental careers to students at the Claremont Colleges.  

The inaugural Green Careers Conference was a great success: four panels on environmental law, environmental businesses, environmental nonprofits, and environmental consulting; a career fair with organizations tabling in the I-Place Courtyard; and a fantastic keynote address by Professor David Orr of Oberlin College. I attended the conference as a bright-eyed observer, and loved the idea of having professionals with years of experience come to campus to discuss their experiences. The next year, I organized the environmental law panel, and I had a blast corresponding with alumni in my potential future profession and asking them all the questions my heart desired. 

Each year, we’ve improved and changed just a little bit more, but this year, we’re trying something completely new and exciting. Instead of panels on law, businesses, nonprofits, and consulting, we’re hosting panels on sectors of green jobs: energy, land use and transportation, and a general panel on green jobs for those who aren’t sure what sector is right for them. This year, every single panelist is an alum of the 5Cs, so they can discuss their experience at the Claremont Colleges and how a liberal arts education helped them succeed. Instead of a career fair, we’re hosting a networking reception for all panelists and attendees at the Athenaeum, so that students can establish closer relationships in the sectors in which they are interested. Visit the REC website for a full list of panelists and their associated organizations to see who you might be interested in seeing.

Lastly, we have a fabulous keynote speaker: Lauren Faber O’Connor, the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles. Lauren has had experience with the U.S. Department of Energy, the California EPA, and the Environmental Defense Fund, thus giving her an excellent platform to discuss the current landscape of environmental jobs at different levels and in different sectors. She is a superstar gracing us on the last day of her maternity leave, so you won’t want to miss her talk. Lauren will be speaking over a lunch program at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum—seats fill up quickly by reservation only, so students should be sure to reserve their spots online.

I am absolutely thrilled to kick off my last Green Careers Conference, and I encourage any student who cares about the environment to attend—I can guarantee that you will learn something. 

Also, remember to check out and RSVP to the Facebook event!