Campus Life

2021 Colloquium on the Environment to feature 'father of environmental justice'

Keynote speaker Robert Bullard will present 'The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice in the U.S.' on April 1

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Renowned scholar and activist Robert Bullard will present the virtual keynote talk at Penn State’s 2021 Colloquium on the Environment. Bullard will discuss “The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice in the U.S." at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 1.

The talk is open to all campuses and to the public. Attendees can register at

Robert D. Bullard Credit: Photo providedAll Rights Reserved.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Bullard to Penn State to learn more about his important work in the environmental justice movement and activities that may affect the environment and our health,” said Vice Provost for Educational Equity Marcus Whitehurst. “Dr. Bullard’s work has been tremendous in supporting these environmental equity efforts.”

Bullard is known as the “father of environmental justice” and has spent his career studying how environmental issues disproportionately impact communities of color. Environmental justice affirms the principle that all people and communities have a right to equal protection and equal enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

“Environmental justice is inextricably linked to many of the challenges we face today as a society, from the COVID pandemic to adapting to the impacts of climate change,” explained Paul Shrivastava, Penn State’s chief sustainability officer and director of the Sustainability Institute (SI). “Dr. Bullard’s address will help galvanize Penn State’s discussion of how we commit to ensuring a sustainable future that is fair and accessible to all.”

"While environmental justice questions have long been a challenge, events of this past year have only highlighted more how critically important it is to be engaging with energy, environment and justice questions to ensure a more just and equitable society going forward,” noted Lara Fowler, assistant director for outreach and engagement in the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE). “We are committed within IEE to pro-actively addressing these critical challenges."

The author of 18 books on sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, climate justice and community resilience, Bullard is the former dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University and currently is a distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy. He is also the co-founder of the HBCU Climate Change Consortium.

“HR is committed to promoting constructive dialogue and problem solving around diversity and inclusion. The issue of environmental injustice is of paramount importance in our social responsibility to foster equity in our communities and society,” said Lorraine Goffe, Penn State’s vice president for Human Resources and chief human resources officer. “This year’s Colloquium on the Environment is an excellent forum for learning and exchanging ideas on the need for environmental justice. HR is proud to contribute to such an important conversation.”

Penn State’s Colloquium on the Environment — co-sponsored by IEE, SI, the Office of Human Resources, Office of Educational Equity, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion — is the culmination of a year of programming and initiatives engaging the Penn State community on issues of environmental justice.

Registration for the colloquium is required to attend. For more information, contact Peter Boger at

Last Updated April 15, 2021