Panoramic view of globe room at cataldo hall.


Calendar of Events 

Spring 2024

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Before attending an in-person event, please be sure to review the Campus Visitor guidelines. You can find a map of campus here and information on parking here. Only the northwest door of the John J. Hemmingson Center will remain unlocked. 

Spring 2024

January 23 - Sustainable Commodities

Speaker: Deborah Di Bernardo

Deb Bernardo standing in front of the Zona Blanca Ceviche Bar sign
Date: Tuesday, January 23
Time: 5 pm PT
Location: Hemmingson Auditorium, Gonzaga University and livestreaming online
Free and open to the public

Our favorite commodities, coffee, chocolate, bananas - just to name a few - are going away due to deforestation and the climate change it creates.  As consumers we can and need to make a difference. Deborah Di Bernardo, owner of Roast House, will discuss sustainable commodities.

About the speaker: After 20+ years managing a law practice, Deborah Di Bernardo had a desire to get back into a more social and interactive life. Having grown up in a family-owned restaurant, she chose to recreate that lifestyle for herself; hence Roast House and 1st Ave Coffee were born.

February 14 - Held v. Montana: Montana Youth Use the Courts to Fight for a Livable Climate

Speakers: Eva L., Barbara Chillcott, and Melissa Hornbein

Young plaintiffs in Montana V Held case walk to the court room surrounding by supporters with signs
Date: Wednesday, February 14
Time: 5pm PT
Location: Hemmingson Auditorium, Gonzaga University and livestreaming online
Free and open to the public

Montana is one of only a handful of states that recognizes a constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment, including the climate. With our partners at Our Children’s Trust and the McGarvey Law Offices, Barbara and Melissa represented 16 youths who believe Montana supporting and promoting a fossil fuel-driven energy system that contributes to the climate crisis violates these rights. Hear from the lawyers who won the first youth climate case to go to trial in U.S. history. The trial aspect is important because it’s very easy for a judge to read court filings about why a government is harming people’s rights to a livable climate via its energy policies, but it’s a much different thing to look a child in the eyes and tell them their rights are not being violated as our climate changes.

About the speakers

  • Eva L. is a 17 year old high school senior from Livingston, Montana. Montana’s rivers, forests, and mountains have always been an important part of Eva’s life. It’s where she’s experienced her favorite activities like climbing, rafting, skiing, swimming, biking, hiking, camping, and backpacking. However, rising temperatures and abnormal precipitation trends due to climate crisis have harmed Eva. Frequent wildfires and smoke nearby have created poor air quality in Livingston, and more rapid snow melt has caused severe flooding in her area. Eva remembers the “Tsunami of 2018,” a flood on the Shields River that severely damaged a bridge near her home that her family needed to drive over to get into Livingston. Since 2018, flooding related to climate change has been impacting Eva almost annually.
  • Barbara Chillcott joined WELC in 2021 after 15 years working on water law and policy in Montana. Originally from South Carolina, Barbara earned a B.A. in economics from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and her law degree from the University of Montana School of Law. She previously worked to restore instream flows across Montana as a project manager and executive director of a statewide water trust. From 2010 through 2016, as the legal director for the Clark Fork Coalition, Barbara developed and advanced strategies for protecting and restoring the Clark Fork river watershed. She joined WELC after working as an attorney for the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation for five years on water rights law and policy.
  • Melissa Hornbein joined WELC in January 2020 after working in state and federal government. She holds a B.S. in botany and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Washington, and obtained her J.D. in 2008 from Hastings College of the Law. The next year, she earned a M.S. in environmental studies from the University of Montana. Before practicing as an attorney, Melissa worked in the field as a botanist/biological technician for various academic and governmental entities, including the National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey. She worked as an attorney with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation on tribal and federal water rights issues, and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Montana with the Department of Justice.

February 20 - Covenant of the Salmon People – Film Screening

Nez Perce Tribe members cook salmon on sticks over a fire
Date: Tuesday, February 20
Time: 6pm PT
Location: Hemmingson Auditorium, Gonzaga University. Livestreaming not available
Free and open to the public 

Covenant of the Salmon People is a 60-minute documentary portrait of the Nez Perce Tribe as they continue to carry out their ancient promise to protect Chinook salmon, cornerstone species and first food their people have subsisted on for tens of thousands of years. As a dammed river system and climate impacts threaten the extinction of Chinook salmon, a cornerstone of their culture and ancestral diet, they continue to do their part to uphold this relationship–but will it be enough to save wild salmon from extinction?

February 28 - From Spokane to Dubai: Field Notes from COP 28

Jointly hosted by the Office of Mission Engagement, Department of Political Science, and the Gonzaga Climate Institute

Date: Wednesday, February 28
Time: 6pm PT
Location: Hemmingson Auditorium, Gonzaga University. Livestreaming not available
Free and open to the public

The Office of Mission Engagement, the Department of Political Science, and the Gonzaga Climate Institute jointly present "From Spokane to Dubai: Field Notes from COP 28". Each year, global climate leaders and advocates gather to negotiate international agreements on climate policy at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP). In Laudate Deum (2023), Pope Francis articulated the vital importance of climate action, and pointed to the COP28 as a critical moment to realize climate commitments. At our Jesuit, Catholic, humanistic university, this is an essential conversation. We were fortunate to have several faculty and Spokane community members who attended COP28 in December 2023 who will report on their experiences in Dubai and indicate paths forward for climate action.

March 4 - A Community-Building Approach to Understanding and Addressing Climate Change Impacts

Speaker: Dr. Daniel Vimont

Daniel Vimont holds a trout with a river and trees in the background
Date: Monday, March 4
Time: 6 pm PT
Location: Hemmingson Auditorium, Gonzaga University and livestreaming online
Free and open to the public

In 2008, a small group of scientists and natural resource managers met to develop a community-building approach for understanding and adapting to the impacts of climate change in Wisconsin: the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI). Over the next three years, WICCI’s community-building approach grew to include more than 200 individuals and 70 organizations around Wisconsin, and by now it is nationally known and recognized as a model for understanding and adapting to climate change impacts. In this talk, Dr. Daniel Vimont will use WICCI’s community-building approach to highlight parallels between concepts of sustainability in complex-adaptive systems and a Jesuit approach to institutional change. In doing so, he hopes to highlight the importance that a Jesuit education can play in addressing the kinds of complex problems that increasingly present themselves in our rapidly evolving world.

About the speaker: Prof. Daniel J. Vimont is a Professor of Climate Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with research interests that focus on mechanisms and impacts of climate variation and climate change. His work spans the development of theoretical models of ocean-atmosphere interaction, predictive models of climate variation, and on-the-ground community-based efforts at addressing impacts of climate change. Throughout his career Dan has served as Director of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research and Co-Director of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts; and in advisory and steering roles for numerous regional and national efforts for understanding and adapting to climate change impacts. As a graduate of Gonzaga University, Dan is strongly motivated and guided by a Jesuit approach to research and education. Dan is a proud dad to three children (including a current Gonzaga Bulldog!), an avid fly-fisherman, outdoor enthusiast, and local food enthusiast.

April 12 - Expo '74: 50 years of Environmental Justice in the Inland Northwest

Expo '74 50th celebration
Date: Friday, April 12
Time: All day
Location: Barbieri Courtroom, Gonzaga Law School

Fifty years ago, the Spokane community hosted the first environmentally-themed world’s fair. The Gonzaga Climate Institute, in collaboration with the US Attorney's Office for Eastern Washington, the Washington State Attorney General's Office, and the Gonzaga Law School Center for Law, Ethics, and Commerce, will host a one day event at Gonzaga looking retrospectively at the environmental justice work done over this half century and what work remains to be done in the coming decades.

April 23 - Without Them I Am Lost – Film Screening & Conversation

Speaker: Charlie Pepiton

Headshot of Charlie Pepiton
Date: Tuesday, April 23
Time: 6pm PT
Location: Wolff Auditorium, Gonzaga University. Livestreaming not available

Without Them I Am Lost, a new feature-length documentary from Square Top Theatre, offers a glimpse into an Arctic community clinging to a fragile coastline in a rapidly changing world. The story follows American writer, Damon Falke, as he considers the implications of migrating to the far north of Norway. The people he finds thrive there. They understand the sublime power of nature. Their lives and stories are shaped by it. Directed by Charles M Pepiton, Without Them I Am Lost is a meditation on landscape and the shape of home.

About the speaker: Charles M Pepiton works as Professor of Theatre & Dance at Gonzaga University and Producing Artistic Director for Square Top Theatre (STT). His work includes Climbing Eros, a documentary filmed in Greece about pilgrimage, crossing distance, and returning to earth; Koppmoll, a documentary filmed in Norway about home, family, loss, and a nearly forgotten war; The Scent of a Thousand Rains by Damon Falke, a performance piece in verse for an actor and a violinist; and Laura, or Scenes from a Common World, an experimental film and gallery installation.

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502 E. Boone Ave
Spokane, WA 99258