Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Leading the charge for climate action and justice

University of Redlands Bulldogs were among students across the globe bringing awareness to climate justice during the Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice. In its third year participating, Redlands also held a week-long Climate Action Week in March to offer more opportunities for students to learn about climate issues and solutions.

“We don’t have a lot of time to think about it, drag our feet, and let other people do the work,” said Valerie Rountree, assistant professor of environmental studies. “There is important work to be done regarding climate change and climate justice, and what better place to do that than on a campus where it’s part of the education and part of the experiences.”

As the event chair for the Climate Teach-In planning team, Rountree helped students lead various activities including a clothing swap, hot yoga at the S.U.R.F (Sustainable University of Redlands Farm) garden, a climate talk at Caroline Park, and a poster presentation at the Orton Center. The activities were used to initiate dialogue around climate change and environmental justice for the Bulldog community.   

“As College of Arts and Sciences Dean Justin Rose put it, ‘the Teach-In is really fundamental to the liberal arts education,’” Rountree recalled. “It is not just classroom education but engagement, collaboration, and communication outside the classroom, in ways that are very interdisciplinary, very practical, and challenge the way that we think and force us to interact with each other.”

Inspired by a Bard Institute of Sustainability conference attended by Rountree and her students, the desire bring the Climate Teach-In to the Redlands campus was unrelenting. Rountree was elated to hear student voices amplified for the cause and see those committed to living a more sustainable lifestyle. Students like Connor Green ’26, who has volunteered some of his time at the S.U.R.F. garden.

“I love that we have this space and I want to do more events like this,” Connor said about the yoga session and garden. “I was really looking forward to this event and what other students are doing around Climate Action Week.”

As the events wrapped and conversation around climate change ramped up, Rountree emphasized that “action has to come from us.” Normalizing the conversation and making it part of every day, “will lead to social tipping points, that will lead to more change.”