Building a Regional Network of Universities Across Borders Under Covid

The new reality under COVID-19, including closed international borders, has created unprecedented challenges and opportunities for our just established university-lead collaborative network for international, interdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach activities on sustainability and resilience. The Organizing Urban-rural Transects for a Sustainable Transformation of Economic PartnershipS (OUTSTEPS) network, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation in the US, holistically evaluates the assets, opportunities, and barriers to creating a trans-border connected urban and rural region that has the high potential to become an equitable climate refuge at a global scale in the coming decades. The OUTSTEPS approach leverages the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the seven dimensions of the PEOPLES Resilience Framework, an Integrated Quantitative Measure and Modeling of Sustainable Development and Disaster Risk Reduction that was introduced by the Global Assessment Report (GAR) of United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in 2015. The three panelists, who represent three of the eight founding universities, will share their experiences, challenges, and solutions to overcome boundaries and build bridges to establish OUTSTEPS.


Introduction by Chris S. Renschler, Professor, Department of Geography, University at Buffalo – The State University of New York (SUNY)

Susan Clark, Director of the Sustainability Initiative & Assistant Professor, Department of Environment and Sustainability, University at Buffalo – The State University of New York (SUNY)

Susan (Sue) E. Powers, Spence Professor in Sustainable Environmental Systems & Director, Institute for a Sustainable Environment, Clarkson University

Richard (Ross) Shaker, Principal Investigator, S3 (Spatial & Sustainability Sciences) Lab & Associate Professor of Environmental and Urban Sustainability, Ryerson University

Moderated by:  Francois Grey, Professor, University of Geneva