E6: Educating Future Decision-Makers: Sustainability as a Pathway K-12 to University

There are many policies that do not solve public problems and many problems that are not being addressed with good policies. As the planet faces challenges to house and feed healthy communities, we can ask the following questions:

  • Why is science being done in prestigious institutions and policymakers are not using this data for decision-making?
  • Why is the media and policymakers paying attention to Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old climate activist from Sweden?
  • Are we creating viable pathways for our children who are in K-12 to succeed in a community college and then transfer to four-year universities and forming them as good stewards of our planet?
  • How can we all contribute to the formation of future citizens that can influence policymakers?
  • How can we form our future policymakers to understand the benefit of making science based decisions?
  • Why does the gap or bridge between science and policymaking vary from one state to another in the U.S.?
  • Are there best practices of forming students to bridge science and decision-makers?

The answers to these questions will be addressed by a panel of educators of higher education (community colleges and universities) from the states of Hawaiʻi, Florida, and Texas where major floods, droughts, and storms have affected the livelihood of these communities.


  • Maria Boccalandro, Director of Sustainability, Cedar Valley College
  • Brandon Morton, Sustainability Project Coordinator, North Lake College
  • Kara Casy, Senior Manager of Grant Project, El Centro College
  • Marianella Franklin, Chief Sustainability Officer, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Stephen Summers, Associate Vice President School of Arts & Sciences, Seminole State College of Florida
  • Robert Franco, Director, Office for Institutional Effectiveness, Kapi‘olani Community College; NCSE Community College Network, Leaders’ Alliance Executive Committee