Community Partnerships Address Environmental Issues

Rice Campus at dusk

Rice University Center for Environmental Studies (CES) has begun several long-term community partnerships that offer exciting opportunities for students and the Greater Houston area.

From March 30 to April 2 , CES hosted a four-day conference for the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) . The conference featured representatives from across the university and allowed students and faculty to learn about the most pressing environmental issues and how they can address those concerns. Rice faculty led several tours and panels, and the conference culminated April 2 with a dinner and series of events.

Also, CES and the Humanities Research Center launched a major arts incubator this spring to coincide with the SEJ conference. Nine artist-activists from Houston and New Orleans spent three days exploring Rice and Houston and worked with nonprofit organizations, Houston community leaders, and Rice faculty and students. On April 2, the artists presented works from their repertoire, as well as new material they created during their time at Rice. Envisioned as a long-term project, the incubator hopes to begin artistic collaborations across the Gulf Coast that will afford Rice faculty and students an opportunity to see internationally recognized artists share their works and community engagement expertise. The project is part of Diluvial Houston, a Rice initiative funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Diluvial Houston seeks to address the specific challenges Houston faces in times of environmental disaster. For more information, visit

The CES has also developed several new partnerships with community nonprofits that are creating opportunities for Rice students. Through the Diluvial Houston Initiative, three fully paid summer internships will be offered to Rice students to work with leading Houston environmental nonprofits: Air Alliance Houston, Bayou City Waterkeeper and the Citizen’s Environmental Coalition. Additionally, all three organizations now hold regular meetings with CES to help serve as liaisons to the wider Houston environmental community and co-create new initiatives for research and community engagement.

Finally, CES has partnered with the Houston Climate Justice Museum. The Climate Justice Museum will install an interactive exhibit based on Anna Tsing’s Feral Atlas project in the Solar Studios of CES. This will offer students an opportunity to engage with an environmental exhibit and bring visitors to the Rice campus to participate in a satellite show. For more information, please contact Weston Twardowski at or 713-348-4081.

— Weston Twardowski
Program Manager
Diluvial Houston Initiative


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