Panoramic view of globe room at cataldo hall.


Calendar of Events

Fall 2023

Spring 2024

(Interested in a workshop? Click on Our Work.) 

Past Events

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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. 

Fall 2023

September 6 - Climate Change in the American Mind and Implications for Climate Change Communication

Speaker: Matthew T. Ballew, PhD

Matthew Ballew
Date: Wednesday, September 6
Time: 5 pm PT
Location: Zoom
Free and open to the public

Americans are changing their minds about climate change in a positive direction. While many Americans report pro-climate views and support several climate policies, national action on climate change remains a challenge. This presentation will cover U.S. public opinion about climate change, and challenges and opportunities for communicating with the public to promote more engagement and collective action on the climate.

About the speaker: Matthew is a Research Specialist at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and specializes in social and environmental psychology, research methodology with a specific focus on survey design/methods, and program evaluation. His research focuses on the personal, social, and cultural factors that shape people’s responses to environmental issues, how environments affect people’s health and well-being, and how communicators can leverage this knowledge to more effectively connect with their audiences and support opinion and behavior change.

September 19 - Rights of Nature, Indigenous and Advocacy Perspectives

Speakers: Jerry White Jr., Amelia Marchand, and Joaquin Marchand

Please join us Tuesday, September 19th to hear Indigenous leaders, Amelia and Joaquin Marchand, whose efforts are amplifying the value of, and advocating for the protection of natural systems in the context of First Foods and Indigenous traditions. Both will discuss the connections of culture to First Foods, ecological relationships with place through personal experiences, discuss the impacts of climate change, and ways in which Indigenous sovereignty is tied to relationships with the environment. These discussions provide the values and foundations that underlie any discussion of affording legal rights to living systems. Come in person or join remotely for presentations and a question/answer session.

About the speakers

  • As a Spokane Riverkeeper, Jerry directs programs that advocate for healthy river flows and clean water.  This includes public education, addressing pollution from runoff, from waste water discharges, protecting shorelines, and administering riverside litter pickups.  Jerry continues to partner, litigate, and collaborate in work that involves local watershed issues as well as state-wide issues. 
  • Amelia Marchand, MA, is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, with tribal heritage of the Okanogan, Moses-Columbia, Palus, Lakes, and the Chief Joseph Band of Wal’wama Nez Perce. She founded Indigenous-led conservation nonprofit L.I.G.H.T. Foundation, is a Public Voices Fellow of the OpEd Project, in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, serves as a volunteer board member with Conservation Northwest and the Center for World Indigenous Studies and is the Interim Senior Tribal Climate Resilience Liaison with the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center.
  • Joaquin has served on various nonprofit governing boards and in public service roles, including Conservation Northwest, the Center for World Indigenous Studies, Hearts Gathered, and as a former City Council for the town of Elmer City. Formerly, he was the designated Health Division Liaison for the Colville Tribes' Climate Change Working Group. A Colville Tribal citizen, he previously worked for the Colville Tribes for over ten years in the fields of finance, accounting, human resources, health administration, and grants project management. An Army veteran, Joaquin served three combat tours and is currently the Executive Director with the L.I.G.H.T. Foundation.

October 4 - Spokane Candidates Climate Change Forum

Spokane Candidates Climate Change Forum logo
Date: Wednesday, October 4
Time: 6 pm PT
Location: Globe Room, Gonzaga University and livestreaming online
Free and open to the public

What do local candidates for office think about climate change? How will it affect your vote in November? To aid citizens in their democratic deliberations, Gonzaga’s Center for Climate, Society, and the Environment is proud to host the Spokane Candidates Climate Change Forum on the first Wednesday each October. The Climate Forum has been hosted annually since 2019 and is a non-partisan space where candidates for local office can share with local voters and citizens what they would or would not do or support if elected to office.

October 11 - Commissioner Franz on Preserving Public Lands in the Age of Climate Change

Hilary Franz
Date: Wednesday, October 11
Time: 1 pm PT
Location: Foley Library, Cowles Rare Books Reading Room, Gonzaga University

Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz will discuss with Gonzaga University students how we can preserve and protect Washington’s public lands in the face of a changing climate. Students will have the opportunity to directly engage with the Commissioner on issues of concern to them.

About the speaker: Commissioner Franz has led Department of Natural Resources since 2017. In that time DNR has changed the way it fights wildfires, focused on building community resilience, launched a far-reaching forest health plan, and more. Commissioner Franz is committed to ensuring our public lands are healthy and productive and can help us mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis. The lands she manages sustainably generates hundreds of millions of dollars for schools and public services, like libraries and hospitals. In this role she has allocated millions of dollars to spark economic opportunities in struggling rural communities, supporting innovative industries like mass timber, investing in clean energy, and fighting for a strong future for our families.

October 27 - Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Storage Technologies: A Primer

Speaker: Pat Ferro, PhD, PE, CMfgE

Pat Ferro
Date: Friday, October 27
Time: 12 pm PT
Location: Hemmingson Auditorium, Gonzaga University 


Introduction to the science and engineering of hydrogen fuel cells and how they may be used in industrial and consumer applications, including cars. A review of how hydrogen may be stored, for land-based and on-board applications. An update on contemporary applications of hydrogen. Status update on government-organized research to increase the use of hydrogen in the energy infrastructure.

About the speaker: Pat Ferro is a materials engineer with twenty years of industrial experience prior to joining the faculty at Gonzaga University. His previous work includes assignments as a Process Engineer in the aerospace investment casting industry specializing in nickel-based superalloys and titanium alloys and as a Process Engineer in the silicon ingot and wafer manufacturing industry. Pat was also a Research Test Engineer for Ovonics Hydrogen Systems, which designed, prototyped and manufactured hydrogen products including portable hydrogen-based energy generation systems and hydrogen powered cars. Pat's responsibilities included developing and testing interstitial metal hydride alloys for solid hydrogen storage for on-board applications.

November 15 - The Future of Climate Education in the United States

Speaker: Dr. Deb Morrison, CLEAR Environmental and the University of Washington


In order to best engage in just climate mobilization, we must first know clearly what challenges we are facing and then consider all possible options for socio-ecological solutions. Climate education is a critical component of such mobilization. When we think of education, we must consider learning in formal schooling, informal settings, and professional and vocational learning for all people of all ages. In addition, we need to be expansive in considering diverse learning histories. This talk will start from this broad definition of climate learning to map out potential trajectories for understanding the future of climate education within the US and as part of the US obligations abroad.

About the speaker: Dr. Deb L. Morrison works at the intersection of justice, climate science, and learning. She is a climate and anti-oppression activist, scientist, learning scientist, educator, mother, locally elected official, and many other things besides. Deb works in research-practice-policy partnerships from local community to international scales. She works to iteratively understand complex socio-ecological systems through design-based and action-oriented research while at the same time seeking to improve human-environment relationships and sustainability. Dr. Morrison draws on an eclectic range of justice theory to inform her work in the world and to foster her continued journey for transformative liberation. She is a well-published author on diverse topics that intersect with climate justice learning and continues to foster collaborative writing partnerships across disciplines and communities that have historically been disconnected. Information about Dr. Morrison’s work can be found at

November 29 - Can We Solve the Climate Crisis and Protect Wild Spaces?

Panelists: Matt Bishop, Kyle Tisdel, and Greg Gordon

Can we solve the climate crisis and protect wild spaces?
New Date: Wednesday, November 29 (originally scheduled for Monday, October 16)
Time: 6 pm PT
Location: Hemmingson Auditorium, Gonzaga University and live streaming online
Free and open to the public

Panel discussion on the topic “Can we solve the climate crisis and protect wild spaces?” The panel will consist of two senior attorneys from the Western Environmental Law Center, Matt Bishop and Kyle Tisdel, and Gonzaga faculty Greg Gordon (Chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences).

About the speakers:

  • Kyle's work centers at the nexus of public lands and fossil fuel development, with the aim of aligning federal decision making with the demands of climate science, bringing a managed end to fossil fuel exploitation, and ensuring a just transition for indigenous and frontline communities that have endured generations of harms from fossil fuels. Kyle has been at WELC since 2011 and earned his law degree from Vermont Law School. 
  • Matt works on public lands issues throughout the West and leads the law center’s efforts to protect iconic Western predators including wolverines, Canada lynx, grizzly bears, and Mexican wolves. Matt is a graduate of Whitman College and earned his law degree from Vermont Law School.
  • After completing his BA in English from the University of Colorado, Greg spent the next five years working as a seasonal park ranger in Utah, Alaska, and Washington. In 1989, he moved to Montana to attend graduate school and then spent the next 20 years leading field studies programs in Utah, Montana, Canada, Chile, and Costa Rica. In 2005, he returned to the University to earn a PhD in History and was fortunate enough to land a position at Gonzaga in 2011.


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

Speakers: 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

  • 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?

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: Moot 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: Hemmingson 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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