George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Honors College students help to host first-ever online Virginia Environmental Justice Summit

March 27, 2020   /   by Sophia Chapin

This Saturday, March 28th, Mason Environmental Justice Alliance (MEJA) will host an all-day event featuring speakers and group workshops.

Logo for Virginia Environmental Justice Summit

This Saturday, March 28th, Mason Environmental Justice Alliance (MEJA) will host an all-day event featuring speakers and group workshops. Although initially planned to be held at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, the summit has since been made virtual due to the novelcoronavirus pandemic.

But the disruption can be viewed positively: now that the event is online, everyone can join the conversation.

The event is intended to bring together activists, organizations, and students from an array of disciplines and communities across Virginia in an effort to exchange ideas, build skills, and network.

The summit comes at a time when many members of our community may feel isolated from their peers, presenting a unique and welcomed opportunity for engagement.

Emma Gregory, Honors College Student and president of MEJA, talks about her inspiration for the summit, “I’m really passionate in engaging people in the realm of the environment, while also focusing on justice and equity issues within the conservation movement.”

Gregory emphasizes that anyone, regardless of their disciplinary field or geographic location, can get involved.

[This event] engage[s] students from throughout the state of Virginia around environmental justice issues, which is really exciting.

Emma Gregory, Honors College senior

The summit will do just that, despite the challenges posed to organizing a conference while maintaining social distancing. Included on the agenda is a keynote speaker, break-out sessions on the topics of pipelines, food justice, and water quality issues, a grassroots activists panel, and skill building workshops.  Speakers include:


Speaker Affiliation Topic

Keynote: Don Edwards, 

CEO of Justice and Sustainability Associates Keynote
Jessica Sims Community Outreach Coordinator at Virginia Sierra Club "Fighting the Moutain Valleya nd Atlantic Coast Pipelines"
Michael Carter, Jr Carter Farms  "Achieving Justice in the Food System"
Mark Sabath Senior Attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center  "Implications of Success in Union Hill on Future Water Quality Issues"
Anneke DeLuyker Associate Professor at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation "Engaging Stakeholders for Success in Your Projects"
Mitra Kashani,  Organzier with the Sunrise Movement   "Climate Organizing 101 for the Modern-Day Student"
Travis Hammermill Organizer with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance  "Harnessing Your Voice for Power in Advocacy"


You can attend the online event from 10 AM to 5 PM this Saturday and support the efforts of Gregory, other Honors College peers, and students of MEJA as they bring together our community in a time of hardship. Visit the Virginia Environmental Justice Summit website at to register and receive the link.