Student Conference 2020: The Intersection of Crisis and Transition

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Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Remote students
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Course Description: 

December 17, 2020

Conference background

The Department is hosting a Student Conference as an integral part of the Fall Semester program. The Student Conference is a mandatory, one-credit course and consists a presentation only.

The aim of the Student Conference and only one abstract/paper (Individual Assignment) during the Fall Semester is to support complex thinking and interdisciplinary work among students. The conference will be partially organized by students, so they can gain some experience in the organization and management of scientific events. Director of this conference is Dr. Zoltan Illes. ( Organizing Committee members: Reka Toth ( Tunde Szabolcs ( and Krisztina Szabados ( Please note that 3-4 student volunteers can also participate in Organizing Committee. Dr. Illes would like also to encourage students to apply as volunteers for 3 different types of organizational and managerial work: room booking group, beverage providing group and publication and material providing group. Each group should consist of 3-4 students. If you would like to act as a volunteer, please respond by e-mail to as soon as possible and by November 10 the latest. The conference will be held on Thursday, 17 December starting from 9:00 a.m. After the presentation of the keynote speaker, student presentations will start at 10 a.m. Each power point presentation will be 15 minutes long (followed by Q&A 5 minutes) and will be organized in panels by type of problems and/or by faculty adviser professional interests. Panels will run in parallel, in different rooms. Each panel will be led by a chairman and a committee member(s) of the session. (In these sessions involvement of the professors and Ph.D students of the Department will be negotiated and organized by Prof. Zoltan Illes.) We plan to finish conference at 16.00 with closing reception. (For all those students who are participating on-line from all around the world at different time zones, presentation timing will be adjusted according to their convenience organized by Organizing Committee.)

Conference theme

The theme of this year's conference is “The Intersection of Crisis and Transition.” Crisis and transition appear at themes throughout the environmental discourse and can even be thought of as sometimes being in opposition to each other, or at opposite ends of a spectrum. Crises are thought to be immediate and urgent, and sometimes brief. From oil spills to the rapid loss of rainforest, crises draw out attention because they unfold in front of our eyes and many of their effects can be immediately seen and anticipated. Transitions are thought to occur more slowly, over longer periods of time, and without the drama of crises. Environmentalists have long grappled with the fact that crisis management alone cannot solve our environmental problems, even if crises take up a great deal of the attention that the public pays to an environmental issue. Transitions are required in order to create a more sustainable society and stable and acceptable environmental quality.

Presentation topics

You can focus exclusively on crisis or transition, or address both. Your topic should broadly fit into two clusters out of three what you already chose for the Fall Semester. (E.g. local landfill topic, which fits to both to resource management and environmental justice clusters.) The department offers 5 clusters: sustainable management of socio-ecological systems (SES); environment and resource governance (ERG); energy transitions and climate change (ETC); environmental justice, politics and humanities (JPH); resource management and pollution control (RMP).

Supervision-Faculty Consultants

Faculty mentoring is an essential element of the conference. Each student will be matched with a faculty consultant, who will help the student reach the key milestones: writing a high-quality abstract, producing a high-quality paper and presentation, and delivering it in a professional manner. Students should contact their assigned faculty consultant early in the process to discuss their modes of interaction. Students should email to Dr. Zoltan Illes, cc. to Reka Toth by 20th of November 2020 their Student Proposal Form.

Milestones (including student conference deadlines)

November 9-13: Initial discussions with faculty

November 20: Deadline for submission of proposed topic.

November 23-25: Student allocation decided, and the consultations begin

November 30: Deadline for submission of draft abstract

December 4: Draft abstract graded and returned with feedback

December 5-14: Consultations continue

December 15: Deadline for submission of final abstract/paper

December 17: Student Conference

December 18: Student Conference grades calculated and communicated

January 4: Deadline for paper grades/feedback


Conference Presentation = 100%

* Note: The presentation will be based on the Abstract/Paper developed for the Intro to Advanced Cluster Courses


Minimum 3 Intro to Advanced Cluster courses taken for Grade (ERG, ETC, JPH, RMP, SES)