From Accounting Class to Climate Action: Experiential Learning at COP24

In December, I had the opportunity to lead the Dartmouth/Tuck delegation as the head observer to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland. Four Tuck students and I participated as part of the Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organizations (RINGO) constituency, the second largest of nine Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) constituencies recognized by the UNFCCC.

 My mornings began with daily RINGO meetings, followed by back-to-back convenings for the rest of the day. Through the RINGO network, I interacted with students and faculty across disciplines, ages, regions, and backgrounds. Unique perspectives, such as that of a master’s student studying greenhouse gas management and accounting at Colorado State University and an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s in architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, greatly enriched the previous days’ sessions.

Some of the most meaningful encounters during my time at COP24 were on Gender Day and Education Day. Gender Day included a predominantly female panel on the intersection of climate change, technology, and gender and the focus on gender-responsive climate policy. Education Day included vital conversations about how education can advance implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals and took a fascinating look at different countries’ innovative approaches to climate education.

Another more personal highlight was spending time with my Polish AirBnB host, Jolanta, and her husband. Despite our language barriers, I received a sweet message from Jolanta checking in on me since I had been away at the conference venue for more than twelve hours.

In my work at the Center for Business, Government & Society, I am always striving towards improved integration of all stakeholders and cross-sector collaboration to solve society’s most pressing issues such as climate change. Participation in COP24 has been one of my most memorable engagements while working at Tuck, and I am so thankful for the connections created through the RINGO network. I look forward to continuing to advocate for better stakeholder integration, socially and environmentally responsible business, and rights-based, urgent climate action.

Rachel E. Brooks manages social impact and experiential learning programs for the Center for Business, Government & Society at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Prior to Tuck, she spent two years on Jeju Island, South Korea as a Fulbright grantee and then served as chief coordinator of Fulbright Korea’s onboarding program. A native of Virginia, Rachel graduated from the College of William & Mary with a bachelor’s degree in public policy and honors in interdisciplinary studies.


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