Hope for the Future

Setting the stage for growth during one of the toughest chapters in our history, the 2021 Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability Summit focuses on Hope for the Future.

As we continue to face challenges due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is important that we, as a community and humanity as a whole, shift our way of thinking so that we are prepared to avoid or better handle the next disaster while also having hope for the future.

We can do this by recognizing that all our challenges must be solved on three levels: Equity, economy and environment.

Equity, economy and environment are at the core of sustainability and are demonstrated in the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2021 TRACS Summit will be virtual and will provide educational opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members on five specific SDGs that address hunger, health, education, inequality and climate change.

Date, Time and Location

November 8-9, 2021

Register Now!

Bina Venkataraman

Author of "The Optimist’s Telescope"

Monday, Nov. 8, 9 a.m.


Monday, Nov. 8, 2021

9 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

11 a.m.


Lunch on your own
Vendor and Sponsor Exhibits
Student Projects and Videos

1:30 p.m.

Jennie McDowell, vp Business Development, Dairy MAX- Your Local Dairy Council, Food Pantries and Campuses 
Dr. Tracy Johnson, Dallas College, North Texas Food Bank Partnership and Campus Food Pantries  
Dr. Anne Eggleston, Tarleton State University, Center for Environmental Studies  
Danae Gutierrez, Harvest Food Project Rescue

A survey conducted by Temple University found that approximately 50% of students at 100 different colleges could not afford a healthy, balanced meal and 35% were skipping meals because they did not have enough money to eat three healthy, balanced meals in one day. Join these panelists to hear how they’re tackling food insecurity for college students nationwide.

3 p.m.

Speaker: Monica Lira Bravo, board certified immigration and nationality law attorney and chair of the Dallas College Board of Trustees

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021

9 a.m.

Keynote Speaker: Susan Alvarez, assistant director of the City of Dallas Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability

In January 2019, the Dallas City Council approved the Dallas Climate Resolution which directed staff to develop an effective, actionable climate plan that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for climate change, and create a healthier and more prosperous community for Dallas and the surrounding communities. Come hear keynote speaker, Susan Alvarez speak on her role managing this bold plan and the efforts needed to ensure the City of Dallas reaches carbon neutrality by 2050. Susan is a Rice University alumnus, professional engineer, Certified Floodplain Manager and Texas Master Naturalist.

10:30 a.m.

Virtual networking opportunity

11 a.m.

Come be inspired as a series of experts on a variety of subjects provide solutions to some of the world’s most pressing questions. On subjects ranging from equity, economy and environment, speakers will take 15 minutes to share their fact-based opinions on why they think the earth and humankind will survive and thrive in the future.

City of Dallas representative
Fernanda Leite, associate professor, Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering
Katherine Lieberknecht, assistant professor, Architecture
Dev Niyogi, professor, Geological Sciences and Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering
Moderator: Brandon Morton, assistant director of Sustainability Operations, Dallas College

Texas is growing more rapidly than ever and crucial resources like food, electricity, housing, water, and jobs will be in even greater demand in the future.

Planet Texas 2050 (PT2050) is an eight-year sprint to find solutions that will make our Texas communities more resilient and better prepared to address the needs of all Texans. To do that, The University of Texas is bringing together architects, archaeologists, city planners, public health experts, geologists, engineers, computer scientists, artists – and more.

This panel brings a city of Dallas representative together with PT2050 researchers who are working on these issues to have a dialogue about Sustainable Texas Communities, Resilient Cities in a Post-Carbon Future, and Integrated Models for Complex Decision-Making.


Lunch on your own
Vendor and Sponsor Exhibits
Student Projects and Videos

1:30 p.m.

Dr. Carlos Cruz, dean of Student CARE Network & Basic Needs - Dallas College
Mackenzie Feldman, executive director, Herbicide-Free Campus
Thea Woodruff, PhD., lecturer and well-being in learning environments coordinator, Longhorn Wellness Center at the Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services, The University of Texas at Austin
Jillian L Denman, MS, LPC-S, director of Student Advocacy, San Antonio College
Moderator: Dalia Blell, LCSW-S, Counseling Services, Dallas College

As student needs become more complex, multidisciplinary student services teams are taking on the task to ensure the right support systems are in place to help students survive and thrive in our new world. This panel presentation will provide an overview of innovative programs from four Texas higher education institutions whose goal is sustaining the mental health and well-being of students.

3 p.m.

Speaker: Jill DeTemple, chair, Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University and academic associate at Essential Partners, Inc.

3:45 p.m.

Closing remarks


 Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability (TRACS) The Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability (TRACS) is a volunteer network for students, faculty, staff and sustainability professionals supporting higher education in Texas by implementing climate change and sustainability solutions across campus operations, academic curriculum, and off-campus fields of influence.

TRACS was formed in 2008 at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education conference in Raleigh, North Carolina with the support of the Environmental Science Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, the Texas State Energy Conservation Office and National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology Program.

Since 2008, TRACS has facilitated events and collaborations to forward campus greenhouse gas emissions reductions and sustainability initiatives, including the Annual TRACS Summit hosted by a different participating college or university each year. 

The early years of TRACS saw a great deal of progress in advancing sustainability on many campuses as new full-time sustainability staff were hired and successful student green fee campaigns on six public universities brought new energy and funding for sustainability projects.

The mission of TRACS is to provide resources, expertise, education, peer to peer support, and training to advance sustainability in Texas higher education through an annual statewide summit and diverse member-driven network of students, faculty, and staff.

Dallas College has been a proud member of TRACS since 2008.