Water in the West Symposium looks to inspire action

Promotional graphic for the 2020 CSU Spur Water in the West Symposium: open laptop with water splashing from the keyboard, Symposium logo on the screen.

The first 100 students to sign up for the third annual Colorado State University Spur Water in the West Symposium will be able to learn from nationally renowned experts in water issues for half price. The two-day event, set for Nov. 18-19, usually sells out, but this year’s virtual format will provide access to a broader geographic audience than in past years.

True to its mission as an initial offering of the Denver-based CSU Spur campus opening in 2022, the Symposium brings together diverse speakers to discuss water issues in the West and beyond — a topic of increasing importance as fires and droughts top headlines.

The Symposium has always highlighted solutions and collaboration;  the 2020 Symposium will take that a step further and focus on inspiring action.

“To fashion the creative solutions needed to assure the future water demands in Colorado and the West, a powerful story needs to be told that motivates us all to action,” said Tom Vilsack, advisor on the CSU Spur project and former U.S. secretary of agriculture.

Symposium details

Nov. 18-19, 2020

Students: Use code WITWStudent for 50% off ($20)

Visit csuspur.org/witw for more information and registration.

“The Water in the West Symposium this year focuses on how to weave that powerful story that reaches hearts and minds,” Sec. Vilsack continued. “Learning from both messaging successes and failures during this year’s Symposium will better equip all those who attend to create a powerful and persuasive story about why now is the time for action on water in the West.”

The keynote address from Gary Knell, chairman of National Geographic Partners — who previously led National Public Radio and Sesame Workshop — will focus on the power of storytelling. How messages are shared will continue with a panel titled “Moving Minds: How Social Movements, Campaigns, and Storytelling Shape Public Sentiment,” featuring speakers from TIME, Stonyfield Organic, and Stanford University.

The Symposium will eventually be held at the CSU Spur campus’s Hydro building, which breaks ground Oct. 27 and will be complete in 2022. Hydro will be open to the public with educational exhibits, have a backyard space with access to a restored South Platte River, and also will be home to research labs and Denver Water’s water quality lab. Hydro is a building meant to create understanding of and connection to water, and the Symposium is meant to be a distinct convening of that conversation — neither focus is new to CSU.

“CSU has been a global leader in water issues and education for more than a century, and our Water in the West Symposium leverages that expertise to get us talking about the most pressing water challenges facing Colorado and the planet,” CSU System Chancellor Tony Frank said.

“The beauty of Water in the West is that it brings together policymakers, practitioners, nonprofit and government leaders, academics, scientists, and students to really engage in depth around issues that are core to our way of life. It’s part of our CSU System commitment to convene conversations around important global issues — and inspire the next generation to get involved and take action.”

About CSU Spur

In 2022, the CSU System will open CSU Spur, where innovative ideas and unforgettable experiences come to life at the National Western Center. CSU Spur’s three buildings at the center of the landmark project in north Denver will ignite and fuel new ideas around water, food and health and their impact on our lives and our world. Spur is where learning is open and accessible to all. Where researchers tackle the world’s most pressing problems around water, food and health. Where art and culture challenge and surround you. Where rural and urban, local and global intersect. Learn more at csuspur.org.