Rhode Island Youth Summit For The Environment (Ryse)
The Rhode Island Youth Summit for the Environment (RYSE) is a conference in which youth can gather and question the role of environmentalism in our society and in communities around the world. Attendees leave the conference with newly informed perspectives, new skills, and newly formed networks.
The main impact of RYSE is to leave youth attendees with needed skills and experiences to be environmental leaders and advocates in their schools and home communities. Because attendees of the summit hail from different schools, backgrounds, and walks of life, a goal of the summit is for these individuals to meet other young environmental leaders in order to share ideas, perspectives, and best practices. With workshops covering varied themes such as diversity within the environmental sector, religion and climate change, food systems and labor, health and climate change, access to environmental education, ecofeminism, transnational social movements, and waste and equity, the organizers of RYSE sought to expose students to concepts they may have never considered before.
RYSE is open to all interested high school and undergraduates living and/or attending school in Rhode Island or nearby communities. RYSE schedules vary from year-to-year. In past years, participants could choose between several workshops during three different sessions. Workshops were broken up by introductions, energizers, lunch, or discussions. Workshops were led by Brown and University of Rhode Island student groups, graduate students, alumnae, faculty, and staff; local social organizations; and government officials.
In the future, organizers of RYSE should collaborate with more local organizations and schools to make programming less Brown-centric. Planning should also begin earlier to reduce stress in the weeks leading up to the event. Because RYSE is a new conference, work should be done to expand the event—in attendance, scope, and depth.