Forward Fest public conversation series continues as part of A Year of Forward Thinking

Monday, Apr 12, 2021
by Jamie Saxon, Office of Communications

Princeton’s Forward Fest — a virtual public conversation series and a monthly highlight of the University’s yearlong A Year of Forward Thinking community engagement campaign — continues on Thursday, April 15, at 4 p.m., with a focus on Princeton’s leading-edge research and initiatives related to the environment. Princeton faculty will discuss the work happening at centers of excellence across the University that can give us a reason for optimism.

Princeton has deep roots in environmental research and discovery — and the University’s faculty, alumni and students have been “thinking forward” actionable solutions for the planet and for the campus itself. Built on a broad legacy of personal commitment, intellectual leadership, perseverance and innovation, the University’s interdisciplinary research is helping to address challenges and influence national policy related to climate change, food and water, biodiversity, energy and more.

The April 15 program features one-on-one conversations with four Princeton faculty across a range of environment-focused academic disciplines and centers and will conclude with a lively Q&A period. Attendees can engage in the Q&A by emailing questions in advance to or in real-time in the chat on YouTube.

The event also features videos highlighting environmental research and discovery breakthroughs at centers of excellence across campus — such as the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment — as well as a resource guide that allows viewers to further explore the collaborative work of Princeton’s faculty, students and alumni.

“While the faculty presentations in this Forward Fest focus on engineering and technology, important environmental activities at Princeton span the entire campus, from the humanities to the social and natural sciences, as well as engineering,” said Michael Celia, director of HMEI, the Theodora Shelton Pitney Professor of Environmental Studies, and professor of civil and environmental engineering.

He continued: “The University has remarkable disciplinary strengths in fields such as climate science, biodiversity, water, environmental policy, and the environmental humanities. These strengths, coupled with the inherently collaborative nature of the University, allow transformative work to be pursued with the goal of finding meaningful solutions locally, nationally and internationally. For nearly 30 years, HMEI has been a center for this kind of collaborative, interdisciplinary research and education, which transcends boundaries and provides practical tools, policies, and measures society can take to preserve the habitability of our planet.”

“The Andlinger Center focuses on developing technologies and innovations to address today’s energy and environmental challenges and anticipate those of tomorrow," said Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo, director, of the Andlinger Center, the Theodora D. ’78 & William H. Walton III ’74 Professor in Engineering, and professor of chemical and biological engineering. "We work to identify barriers to implementation, and bring together stakeholders to translate fundamental knowledge into practical solutions. The three faculty highlighted in the Forward Fest panel showcase the breadth of solutions we are working on — from low-carbon infrastructure materials to energy efficient building systems to models for understanding the complexities of the energy transition.”

Gathering a range of voices, Forward Fest aims to spark dialogue across the global Princeton community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and other interested thinkers — to engage with and explore big ideas and their infinite possibilities for shaping the future.

Forward Fest events are free and open to the public. All programming will be livestreamed on the Forward Fest website and on the University's YouTube channel. Registration is not required, but attendees can RSVP to receive a resource guide and event updates. Captioning will be available for all sessions. After the event, all programming will be viewable on the University’s YouTube channel.

Previous Forward Fest events have focused on public health, justice and the 2020 election; the promise and peril of data science and artificial intelligence; the arts and humanities; equity in education; alumni “forward thinkers” on resilience and exploration, and bioengineering. View all the sessions on Princeton’s YouTube channel and download accompanying resource guides for each theme on the festival site.

April 15 programming highlights: Thinking Forward the Environment

Mayu Takeuchi, a member of the Class of 2023 and chair of the Undergraduate Student Government’s sustainability committee, will introduce the session, which begins at 4 p.m. Takeuchi co-facilitated a 2021 Wintersession workshop on environmental justice and was a John C. Bogle ’51 Fellow in Civic Service last summer with the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance. Read about her experience on the John H. Pace Jr ’39 Pace Center for Civic Engagement website.

Juliet Eilperin, a 1992 alumna and Pulitzer Prize-winning senior national affairs correspondent at The Washington Post, will serve as moderator of the 75-minute program. She is the author of two books, "Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks" and "Fight Club Politics: How Partisanship is Poisoning the House of Representatives." She has worked for The Post since 1998 and previously served as White House bureau chief, national environmental reporter and House of Representatives correspondent.

Featured panelists are:

Jesse Jenkins, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and an associated faculty member with the High Meadows Environmental Institute. Forrest Meggers, assistant professor of architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and co-director of the Program in Architecture and Engineering Shana Weber, director of the Office of Sustainability and lecturer in the High Meadows Environmental Institute Claire White, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and an associated faculty member with the High Meadows Environmental Institute.

Additional multimedia programming will highlight the University’s sustainability action plan and the researchers and staff members who are helping Princeton achieve their goals in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, stormwater management and more.

Learn more about A Year of Forward Thinking and Forward Fest on the website. Watch a video about A Year of Forward Thinking. Engage on social media with the hashtags #PrincetonForward, #ForwardThinkers and #ForwardFest, and follow Princeton University and Princeton Alumni on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

View main article.