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UMGC to Host Two Climate Events in April

Liz Connolly-Bauman
By Liz Connolly-Bauman

In conjunction with Worldwide Climate and Justice Education Week, which runs April 1-8, and to continue the conversation on how everyone can make a difference, University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) will host a virtual screening of a mini-documentary and a separate roundtable discussion focused on climate change actions people can take part in.

Both the April 2 film screening and the April 8 discussion will be held at 7 p.m. EST.

Bill Barron

“The goal of all the events this week and during Earth Month is to have people talk about the climate crisis and commit to being part of solutions,” said Sabrina Fu, PhD, collegiate professor and program director of UMGC’s Department of Environmental Science and Management.

The two events were also inspired by the #MakeClimateAClass initiative to encourage faculty and students around the world to talk about climate change.

On April 2, the 15-minute documentary “Dream Big for What you Want to Happen” follows concerned citizen Bill Barron as he bikes across Utah to attend 25 speaking events about climate change. He wants to shape a better planet for his daughter and future generations.

“We need to talk less and do more,” said Barron, the Mountain West regional director for Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Barron teamed up with two-time Olympic cross-country skier and former U.S. ski coach Peter Vordenberg to make the documentary. Vordenberg is a writer and filmmaker who focuses on outdoor adventures and social and environmental issues. When Barron’s daughter Emily was 7, she wrote the words, “Dream big for what you want to happen.” Barron said he has followed this message in everything he has done in his life, including being a three-time unaffiliated federal climate candidate in Utah.

After Barron and Vordenberg share their personal stories and discuss what led the team to create the documentary, the audience will have the opportunity to take part in a question-and-answer session.  

The April 8 roundtable discussion features (l-r): Paulo Maurin, George Donart, George Samuel, Keith Ohlinger and Andrew Eyerly.

During the April 8 roundtable discussion titled Climate Stories Across Our Nation, five speakers will offer firsthand stories on how climate change affects their careers and daily lives. At the conclusion of the discussion, the speakers will participate in a Q&A with the audience.

“We will discuss how various professions and communities can be part of solutions,” Fu said. “This will be followed by breakouts where attendees have a guided discussion on how they are experiencing climate change locally and how we can work together locally, regionally and nationally on climate actions.” 

The five featured speakers are: George Donart, a commercial fisherman from Alaska and volunteer who works on legislative efforts for Citizens Climate Lobby; UMGC alumnus Andrew Eyerly, who was a preventative medicine specialist during his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and now is conservative outreach director for Citizens Climate Lobby; Dr. George Samuel, a doctor in pulmonary medicine and infectious diseases; Keith Ohlinger, a farmer who raises Irish Dexter cattle, trees and honeybees in Howard County, Maryland; and Dr. Paulo Maurin, a coral reef researcher with the Hawaii Management Liaison for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Program. Maurin is also an adjunct associate professor of environmental science and management at UMGC.

The April 2 and April 8 events grew out of UMGC faculty and student engagement. Fu hosts a monthly brainstorming meeting with faculty, called Leading with Curiosity. She also connects with students in her role as faculty sponsor to UMGC’s Environmental Awareness Club. According to the club’s website, “any graduate or undergraduate student, alumni, faculty or staff member who has an interest in environmental health and safety, sustainability or related fields” is available to join.

“Environmental issues are trans-disciplinary, affecting every aspect of our lives. To meet workforce needs, my team and I strive to support the various growth areas with certifications as well as degrees,” Fu said. “Part of my work as director is to build relationships with industry, government and nonprofits and [to] practice each day the basis for our environmental portfolio: relevancy, relationship building and responsiveness.”

UMGC, which is committed to educating students and the UMGC community on climate change and the environment, offers a bachelor’s degree in environmental health and safety, a master’s in environmental management, an undergraduate Watershed Management certificate, and a new undergraduate certificate in Workplace Health and Safety launching later this year.

“Invite friends and family and see how we can engage with each other, and with our larger community to be part of solutions,” Fu said.

To register for the April 2 community viewing of “Dream Big for What you Want to Happen” and conversation, visit Also, visit to register for the April 8 Climate Stories Across Our Nation event.