Conferences/Speakers/Other events

Fall 2022 Colloquium Series

Informal talks given by faculty and guests, both in person and via Zoom
Noon-1 p.m. on select Thursdays

Thursday, Nov. 17

Pam Mischen, associate professor of public administration at Binghamton University, will speak on "Community Types through the Lens of Sustainability: Understanding the Past and Present to Impact the Future" at noon Thursday, Nov. 17, in AA-340 (lunch will be provided) and via Zoom at https://binghamton.zoom.us/j/97940205741 

Everyone wants to live in an environmentally healthy, economically vibrant, and socially equitable community—but how many Americans do? Are there any communities in the US that we can call sustainable? This study examines 886 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas in the continental US and clusters them into 11 community types based on 17 sustainability outcomes. Drawing on the literature on sustainability transitions, we now seek to explain how these clusters came to be by identifying unique combinations of historical variables that predict inclusion into each cluster. By understanding the physical, demographic, cultural, policy, and economic factors that have resulted in these community clusters, we can better guide communities to a more sustainable future.

Thursday, Nov. 3

Kyle Gowen, PhD student in anthropology at Binghamton University, will speak on "Anthropological observations on the successes and challenges of the Broome County Food Council (BCFC)" at noon Thursday, Nov. 3, in AA-340 (lunch will be provided) and via Zoom at https://binghamton.zoom.us/j/97131277102 

Revitalized by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Broome County Food Council (BCFC) has brought together organizations and diverse stakeholders to collaborate on increasing food security throughout the region. Over the past several months, as part of a project for the Food Justice Working Group of the Sustainable Communities TAE, I have attended and participated in discussions on how the BCFC can better serve those who are food insecure. My presentation synthesizes these observations into three themes focused on the strengths and challenges of the BCFC. I conclude with insights into how the BCFC will continue to grow and change as it begins building a food plan for Broome County.

Thursday, Sept. 22

Neha Patankar, assistant professor of systems science and industrial engineering at Binghamton University, will speak on "Exploring uncertainties and tradeoffs on the way to net-zero energy systems" at noon Thursday, Sept. 22, in in AA-340 and via Zoom at  https://binghamton.zoom.us/j/92696533311 

Transitioning to zero-carbon energy infrastructure entails collaborative decision-making between utilities, policymakers, and stakeholders with conflicting objectives. In the real world, these conflicting objectives need to be resolved locally at a much higher spatial resolution than what mathematical models can handle. In this talk, I develop a framework that can make it easier for communities to create clean-energy plans that incorporate their community values and identify preferred least-regret spatial patterns of clean energy infrastructure deployment. I will present two case studies that use linear programming based spatially, temporally, and operationally resolved power system model to evaluate resource tradeoffs in the United States. In the first case study, I will demonstrate the modeling framework's utility for assessing the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). In the second case study, I will examine land-use portfolios based on several non-cost related metrics representing technological, social, and ecological objectives. Lastly, I will discuss my future research plans to develop a generalizable tool. It will allow decision-makers to explore technology and resource tradeoffs in real-time to facilitate collaborative decision-making.

Thursday, Sept. 8

Len Fisher, senior research fellow at the School of Physics at the University of Bristol, UK, will speak on "Communicating Complexity: The World’s Most Important Problem" at noon Thursday, Sept. 8, in AA-340 and via Zoom at https://binghamton.zoom.us/j/93760972557?pwd=aU0zdFJXVXJrdjFPME5xcGNndEYzUT09 

The multiple threats that the world now faces are complex in themselves, and are also interlinked in an overarching complex network. For effective governance, the consequences of these inter-linkages need to be understood and acted upon by the world’s decision makers [1]. Unfortunately, the record of those decision makers in this regard is not hopeful. In this talk I will examine avenues for communicating the importance of complexity to decision-makers, and ask how we can better promote it as a fundamental platform for the governance of global catastrophic risks. [1] Fisher, L., & Sandberg, A. (2022). A safe governance space for humanity: Necessary conditions for the governance of global catastrophic risks. Global Policy. http://doi.org/10.1111/1758-5899.13030

Australian scientist Fisher obtained his PhD in physics at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He is internationally renowned for his unique research on everyday real-world topics involving physics, chemistry and complex systems, and for his highly accessible and engaging scientific communication to the public. His recent research covers social and global issues, including global policy and adaptive governance for human sustainability. He is the recipient of the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics (1999) and the Medal of the Order of Australia (2019) for his contribution to science.


Spring 2022 Colloquium Series

Informal talks given by faculty and guests, both in person and via Zoom
Noon-1 p.m. on select Thursdays

Thursday, April 28

Binghamton University's Christopher Zosh, Jeremy Blackburn, Barrett Brenton, Robert Dinapoli, Carl Lipo, Pamela Mischen, Hiroki Sayama and Andreas Pape as well as William Rand from NC State and Brooke Foucault Welles from Northeastern University will speak on "An Agent-Based Model of the Collective Action Dynamics of Goal-Driven Groups" at noon, Thursday, April 28, in AA-340. The talk, which is open to everyone, will also be conducted via Zoom

We present an agent-based model of collective action dynamics in which individuals voluntarily associate with goal-driven groups to induce social change. The model assumes a multidimensional outcome space, where each dimension represents a different factor, such as policies on tax rate or education funding, or non-policy outcomes like maintenance of a community’s outdoor environment. In the outcome space is the world state, i.e. the currently enacted policy or status of non-policy outcomes. Individuals and groups have goal preferences in the outcome space. Individuals decide which groups to join based on groups’ goal preferences, and groups organize events to influence the world state. The role of on- versus off-line activity is reflected in the costs and effectiveness of individual effort. The model examines the membership of the groups, the actions the groups’ members undertake, and the movement of the world state (i.e., how and which goals are achieved). One key parameter of this model is the democratic responsiveness of groups, i.e. how quickly the goals of the group comes to match the goals of the membership. We find that democratic responsiveness of groups is only sometimes helpful in achieving positive social outcomes: in particular, democratic responsiveness can harm social outcomes if some groups can be captured early by a cabal of individuals. 

We discuss future extensions, including bringing this to social media data.


Thursday, March 24

 Jenny Osman from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), will present on "Food Systems Planning in NYC: The FRESH Program, Hunts Point and More." The talk will be held in AA-340 as well as via Zoom.

Osman is assistant vice president and has worked at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) for over four years at the intersection of food access, food systems and economic development. NYCEDC is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that works with and for communities across New York City to strengthen neighborhoods and create good jobs. Until recently, she directed the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program that supports the renovation and construction of supermarkets in underserved areas of NYC. Recently, she transferred into the Neighborhood Strategies Department where she applies her eight years of food systems experience and public health background to urban planning.


Fall 2021 Colloquium Series

Informal talks given by faculty and guests via Zoom
Noon-1 p.m. on select Thursdays.

Thursday, Oct. 21

Garrett Broad, associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Communication and Media at Fordham University, will speak on "No Magic Carrots: The Trade-Offs and Tensions of Food System Transformation" at noon Thursday, Oct. 21, in AA-340. The talk, which is open to everyone, will also be conducted via Zoom.

Broad’s research and teaching focuses on the food system, media and social movements. He is the author of "More Than Just Food: Food Justice and Community Change," as well as a variety of articles on food's relationship to environmental sustainability, economic equity, and the well-being of humans and animals.


Spring 2021 Colloquium Series

Informal talks given by faculty and guests via Zoom
Noon-1 p.m. on select Thursdays.

Thursday, May 13

Ambassador Sarah E. Mendelson will present a webinar on "The role of universities in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals: Carnegie Mellon’s Experience to Date and Looking Ahead." Mendelson is distinguished service professor of public policy at Carnegie Mellon University and head of CMU’s Heinz College in Washington, D.C. She previously served as the U.S. Representative to the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council. There she led on international development, human rights, human trafficking and humanitarian affairs. Prior to her appointment, she served as a deputy assistant administrator at the United States Agency for International Development in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance from 2010-2014, where she was the agency lead on democracy, human rights and governance. 

A long-time policy entrepreneur, she has spent 25 years working on development and human rights as a scholar and a practitioner. She spent over a decade as a senior adviser and the inaugural director of the Human Rights Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She also worked as a senior fellow in CSIS’s Russia and Eurasia Program, overseeing focus groups, public opinion surveys and social marketing campaigns in Russia.  

Her current work centers on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At CMU, she co-chairs the University's Sustainability Initiative. She recently co-moderated Room 16 for the Brookings Institution and The Rockefeller Foundation flagship initiative “17 Rooms.” As part of this work, she is engaged in growing and supporting the generation that will demand and deliver the SDGs — Cohort 2030 — with a focus on building peaceful, just and inclusive societies. She currently also serves as a lead on the Freedom House-CSIS-McCain Institute Task Force on “A New U.S. Strategy to Promote Democracy and Combat Authoritarianism” launched in October 2020.

Zoom webinar link

Thursday, April 29

Editor William Burnside will introduce the journal Nature Sustainability. He will discuss its potential as a venue for sustainability-related work and discuss the broader landscape of publishing related to this growing area. Nature Sustainability publishes compelling original research and opinion from a range of fields — from the natural and social sciences to engineering and ethics — about sustainability, it's policy dimensions and potential solutions. Topics covered include but are not limited to conservation, agriculture, economic development, land change, technological innovations, Earth-system science, economic analyses and relevant public health. These often though not always relate in ways to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and are framed systemically.

Zoom link

Thursday, April 22

Alex Jimerson, Haudenosaunee, belonging to the Wolf clan of the Seneca Nation/Onöndowa’ga:’ will speak on "Engaging with the Land and Mapping our World with Words."

This discussion is to examine and evaluate some of the language that is embedded in a "Culture of Domination" as examined by Stephen Newcomb's Pagans in the Promised Land. Jimerson will juxtapose this with the writings he has encountered among Haudenosaunee writers such as John Mohawk in Basic Call to Consciousness. He will also go into depth about his language revitalization journey and how he has connected it to the Indigenous Food Sovereignty Movement. He will expand his thoughts on encouraging others of the significance of language and suggestions on engagement with food and language.

Zoom link.

Thursday, April 8

Angela Ferguson, a member of the Onondaga Nation Eel Clan, will discuss her role as the Onondaga Nation farm crew supervisor since 2015 at noon Thursday, April 8, via Zoom. This will include a review of numerous food security and food sovereignty initiatives that the farm is responsible for within their community. 

An additional focus of her presentation will be on linkages with the Braiding the Sacred Network. This group brings together hundreds of indigenous corn growers to share knowledge from respected elders, seed sharing and planting methods. 

Zoom link

Thursday, March 25

HIroki Sayama, professor of systems science and industrial engineering at the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University, will speak on "What a Systems Scientist has Been Doing About COVID-19" at noon, Thursday, March 25, via Zoom. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges to our communities at multiple scales. Meanwhile, it also has created a huge demand for scientific expertise in modeling, simulation, and analysis of epidemic and other socio-economical dynamics. In this talk, I will give a brief overview of projects I have been working on in response to COVID-19 since early 2020, including the campus traffic modeling and the geographic visualizations of COVID-19 activities. I will also discuss the lessons learned and identify the unique skills and abilities of interdisciplinary Systems Science researchers that have the potential to help address various societal challenges.

Zoom link 

Thursday, March 11

Jeremy Blackburn, assistant professor of computer science at Binghamton University, will speak on "What is going on?!?! A 5-year Retrospective of Data-driven Research."

In this talk, I will give a 5-year retrospective on my group's work toward quantifying, understanding and mitigating socio-technical problems. In particular, I will provide an overview of the particular challenges associated with socio-technical problems. I will then describe various slices of our research related to hate speech, toxicity, online extremism and conspiracy theories. Throughout the talk, I will show how the peculiarities with different social media platforms and online communities require the novel application of various data science techniques and directly impact the real world.

Blackburn is an assistant professor of computer science at Binghamton University. He is broadly interested in data science, with a focus on large-scale measurements and modeling. His largest line of work is in understanding jerks on the internet. His award-winning research into understanding toxic behavior, hate speech, and fringe and extremist web communities has been covered in the press by The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Infowars, among others. He has an Erdos-Bacon score of O(7), has been quoted by Zizek and has had at least one League of Legends account permabanned.

Zoom link

Thursday, Feb. 25

Dan Filer, Chesapeake Watershed Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) research coordinator, will discuss the CESU and the opportunities that our membership represents for Binghamton University researchers. The Chesapeake Watershed unit of the CESU is consortium of universities and federal agencies that include the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, USGS, Fish and Game, NRCS, NOAA, U.S. Army Corp, BIA, BOEM, NASA, AIHE, BLM and DoD. The consortium offers funding opportunities related to natural and cultural resources as well as social science and historical research. Filer will present on the CESU’s goals and priorities and discuss how Binghamton faculty can work with the CESU to access federal funding and research opportunities.

Zoom link: https://binghamton.zoom.us/j/97555017831  

About the CESU Network: The 17 CESUs bring together scientists, resource managers, students and other conservation professionals, drawing upon expertise from across the biological, physical, social, cultural and engineering disciplines (from anthropology to zoology) to conduct collaborative and interdisciplinary applied projects that address natural and cultural heritage resource issues at multiple scales and in an ecosystem context. Each CESU is structured as a working collaborative with participation from numerous federal and nonfederal institutional partners. CESUs are based at host universities and focused on a particular biogeographic region of the country. Find more information about the CESU online.