State Senator Liz Krueger was first elected to the New York State Senate in 2002, and is the ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee. She is a strong advocate for tenants’ rights, affordable housing, improved access to health care, social services, and more equitable funding for public education. She sponsors several bills to make New York State more environmentally sustainable, including the New York State Bring Your Own Bag Act, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, and the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Review Act. Prior to her election to the Senate, Senator Krueger spent 20 years running non-profit anti poverty organizations.
THANK YOU to our wonderful panelists!
Mark Maynard Parisi,Managing Partner of Union Square Hospitality Group, Director of Operations at Porchlight, USHG's first stand-alone cocktail bar.
Mark will share the story of how the Union Square Hospitality Group made the switch to sustainable straws. He will offer valuable insight about the challenges and process involved in a restaurant making this switch so that our student activists can develop an informed and empathetic approach.
For almost two decades Mark has been affiliated with the Union Square hospitality group. He served as general manager of their flagship restaurant, Union Square Cafe before moving on to co-found Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard in 2002. For 13 years, Mark led the strategic growth of Blue Smoke, which expanded to multiple locations, and for two years, Mark simultaneously served as Managing Director of Operations for Union Square Events, the catering and events services branch of USHG.
Melissa Elstein, NYC Community Organizer and Sustainability Activist, Co-founder West 80s Neighborhood Association and Love Your Street Tree Day
Melissa knows how to inspire people, and how to promote a good cause! She will share her wisdom around what makes for successful grassroots campaigns and how to approach others to get them passionate about your cause.
Melissa is a yoga, ballet, and qigong/Tai Chi Easy teacher who volunteers as a grassroots community organizer on issues ranging from the environment to historic building preservation on the Upper West Side. As a co-founder of her non-profit, the West 80s Neighborhood Association, Melissa has organized and hosted large community events, such as the “UWS Zero Waste & Recycling Forum” and “Love Your Street Tree Day” gatherings. Her advocacy work successfully creates effective intergenerational coalitions that join neighbors, local businesses, government agencies, elected officials, non-profits and schools to work toward the common good. As a member of the NY/NJ Plastic Free Waters Partnership and Plastic Straws Working Group, Melissa has presented on easy ways a busy New Yorker can reduce one’s plastic pollution footprint. For her volunteer community work, Melissa was featured on NY1’s “Mayors of NYC” series and has received awards from the the West Side Spirit newspaper, Coalition for a Livable West Side, and Community Free Democrats.
Cafeteria Culture is an environmental education organization, creatively working with youth to achieve zero waste schools, climate smart communities, and plastic free waters. Their interdisciplinary K-12 programs foster youth-led solutions on critical sustainability issues by merging citizen science and civic action with the arts and video production. Students take on the roles of environmental leaders, advocates, and storytellers, providing a critically needed voice in NYC’s environmental movement. Cafeteria Culture was founded in 2009 as Styrofoam Out of Schools, and catalyzed the complete elimination of polystyrene (aka, styrofoam) trays from all New York City (NYC) public schools and now ten other cities, resulting in the diversion of over half a billion polystyrene trays per year from landfills, incinerators and student meals across the US.
Debby will share her experience and advice pertaining specifically to the challenges - and opportunities - of reducing plastic waste in our schools.
Eric Weltman, Senior OrganizerFood and Water Watch,a national NGO that champions healthy food and clean water for all
Eric will help us understand why the problem of plastic pollution is so urgent, and how we can work towards getting rid of straws by bringing this issue to our elected officials, businesses, schools, and other institutions.
Eric has over 25 years of experience leading social justice campaigns and building progressive power. He has helped direct ground-breaking coalitions, organize high-visibility media events, write influential publications and manage successful initiatives to pass legislation and fund programs. Eric also has extensive experience conducting trainings on media outreach, advocacy, organizing and public speaking. He has taught urban politics at Suffolk University, and written for such publications as The American Prospect, In These Times, Truthout.org, and Dollars & Sense. A native of New Jersey, Eric graduated from the University of Michigan and earned an M.A. in urban & environmental policy from Tufts University.
Our goal will be for students and educators to leave the event with the tools they need to approach and engage others in everyday life about this issue. We plan to share out the results of this initiative at the annual Sustainability Through Student Voices conference on April 27, 2019.
Why it's not a straw 'ban.' Some members of our communities who have allergies to metal, or need plastic straws in order for foods to be accessible. Our goal is for everyone who does not specifically need plastic straws to avoid using plastic straws, or better yet, replace them with reusable or compostable alternatives.
Straws movie screening and Panel Discussion
Join the Sustainability Through Student Voices team at the kick off for our campaign to reduce or replace plastic straws! We will screen the short film Straws, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.
Arrive a little early to grab a snack and get settled for our 6:30pm start.
The movie is about 30 minutes long and appropriate for students in 5th grade and older.
We expect the panel discussion to last 30 - 45 minutes.
Location: The Town School, 540 East 76th Street, NYC 10021, 212-288-4383
At the event, we'll preview the special app created just for this campaign!