March 10: Diversity educator discusses environmental racism

By Beverly Makhani, Office of Undergraduate Education

SchmidtPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University diversity education coordinator Jenne Schmidt will present “Connecting Waste and Race: Building an Environmental Justice Movement Out of Garbage” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, in Room 203 of the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education.

The free, public event ties into this year’s common reading book, “Garbology,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Humes.

Schmidt plans to focus on how environmental justice extends beyond plants and animals, with real implications for marginalized communities. Diversity and social inequality will be incorporated into the environmentalism discussion.

At WSU, Schmidt facilitates social justice educational programs and conducts cultural competency trainings. She says she is “deeply committed to developing anti-oppression education that seeks to cultivate an equitable and inclusive WSU community.”

She has a master’s degree in women and gender studies from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s degree in American ethnic studies from Willamette University. Prior to joining the WSU diversity education team, she was a legal assistant serving disabled and low-income communities in the San Francisco area and a community organizer advocating affordable housing on the south side of Chicago.

WSU faculty teaching first-year courses across many disciplines use topics from the common reading book to engage students in critical thinking and academic conversations. For more information, see


Karen Weathermon, WSU common reading co-director, 509-335-5488,