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KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students, faculty, staff and community are invited to participate in a conference call with the offices of Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker to hear directly from Senate staffers on climate and energy policy.

Dubbed “Let’s Talk, Tennessee,” the conference call will take place on Monday, April 12 at 11 a.m. (EST) and is hosted by UT Knoxville sociology Assistant Professor Paul Gellert in partnership with the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, a division of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. The call is part of the Bard Center’s nationwide initiative, Campus2Congress, which aims to engage young people directly with their policymakers in conversations regarding climate and energy legislation.

Gellert, conference call organizer, says this is a critical time for climate and clean energy policy as legislation is now being prepared on Capitol Hill that could define the U.S. response to climate change.

“By an overwhelming consensus, scientists concur that climate change is a serious problem,” Gellert said. “In fact, there is serious concern that we may be reaching a tipping point on climate change that will be difficult to reverse. These issues are going to affect the young generation like those who attend UT.”

The call will begin with a briefing by Reagan Richmond, a senior in environmental studies at UT Knoxville, who will discuss statewide campus engagement on climate issues. Senate staffers Curtis Swager and Justin Spickard will then discuss the positions on climate issues of Senators Alexander and Corker, respectively. After these two introductory briefings they will then respond to pre-submitted student questions and concerns, moderated by UT Knoxville sociology graduate student Sara Malley.

While the call is designed to connect campus to the Senate, interested community members are welcome to send in their own questions, and join the call as well. Gellert and the Bard Center for Environmental Policy hope to involve up to 500 Tennessee students, faculty, staff and citizens in “Let’s Talk, Tennessee.”

To join the call on Monday, dial 712-432-3100 and then enter conference code 253385. To sign up and/or submit questions for the Senators, visit:

For more information, contact

C O N T A C T:

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460,