2nd Annual Sweetwater

Student Conference on Issues of

Personal, Local, & Global Significance

About the conference:

Thank you for your interest in our 2nd annual student conference! This conference came about because teachers and students in Sweetwater recognized the need to give students a place to teach each other about important ideas they were learning in school. We seek to answer questions like:

  • What issues affect us, our community, and our world?
  • To what extent are these issues both local and global issues?
  • How can we contribute to a better community for ourselves and for others?
  • How does what we learn in school help us live and develop in a more sustainable way?
  • How can we take action to address issues of sustainability locally and globally?

This conference is also an opportunity to bring in experts who are already taking action to make the South Bay of San Diego a more sustainable place to live. As the conference nears, check back for a list of organizations who will be participating!

Why participate?

Are working on your 9th grade human geography action-research project? - or-

Have you done meaningful research in one of your courses at school?

This conference provides a space for you to present your work to others and also learn about things relevant to your future!

Keynote Addresses

Dr. Serge Dedina

Serge is the Mayor of the City of Imperial Beach. He is also co-founder and Executive Director of WILDCOAST. Serge received the Surf Industry's Environmental Award, San Diego Zoological Society’s Conservation Medal as well as the California Coastal Commission’s “Coastal Hero” Award in recognition of his conservation achievements. He was named a UCSD John Muir Fellow in 2013 and was honored as a 2016 Peter Benchley “Hero of the Sea.” Before co-founding WILDCOAST back in 2000, Serge was the founding Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Baja California - Sea of Cortez Program where he helped to initiate successful efforts to protect Loreto Bay National Park, Espiritu Santo Island Reserve and Cabo Pulmo National Park. He grew up in Imperial Beach, California, and spent his childhood helping to preserve the Tijuana Estuary as a National Wildlife Refuge and has worked on water quality issues in the San Diego - Tijuana region since 1980. Serge is an avid surfer, swimmer and former State of California Ocean Lifeguard. He is the author of Saving the Gray Whale, a book based on the three years he lived in the gray whale lagoons of Baja California; Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias; and, Surfing the Border. Serge has a Ph.D. Geography, University of Texas at Austin; M.S. Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison; B.A. Political Science, University of California, San Diego.

Ms. Vivian Moreno

Councilmember Vivian Moreno was elected to represent the City of San Diego’s Eighth City Council District in 2018. She has dedicated her career to improving the region’s most underserved communities through experience, volunteer work and public service and served as a Policy Advisor and Council Representative to Councilmember David Alvarez for eight years. Councilmember Moreno’s priorities include ensuring that the residents of District 8 receive the equitable services and resources they need for better quality of life, including the building of more housing for our working families, repairing our streets and roads, ensuring safe routes to school, advocating for more parks and libraries for our youth and promoting initiatives that bring jobs to the district.

With a strong passion towards the advancement of youth and women in San Diego, the Councilmember has served on the boards of community-focused organizations, including Border View Family YMCA and MANA de San Diego. The Councilmember has also been active in engaging and encouraging young adults to participate in civic life by registering more than 3,500 new voters at her alma mater, UC San Diego. Councilmember Moreno is a lifelong resident of San Diego and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a focus on International Relations from the University of California at San Diego. She lives in San Ysidro and enjoys traveling, reading and spending time at the beach.

We are now accepting applications for students who wish to showcase or present their work!

General overview and explanations for student participation

Just want to attend the conference?

Click here to RSVP. If we reach our conference capacity, we will close registration, so register today to secure your place!

Learn more about the conference!

Watch or read this news story by KPBS education reporter Megan Burks about last year's conference!

Hear what students said about last year!

"I liked the presentations, and their topics....I learned that there is so much we can do to help solve these issues, and we are not helpless."

"The event was wonderful. The students were very well informed about their projects and presented with passion. I learned about so many different issues that affect our community. I hope this program continues in our district. It will make an positive impact with our kids, parents, teachers, and community."

"I liked that there were tons of different students, from different schools and we were able to interact with one another."

"It was inspiring."

"There wasn't a boring moment, we were always moving and entertained."

Conference Schedule

7:30-8:00: Students set up their workshops and showcase pieces

8:00-8:30: General Student check-in for conference and breakfast goodies!

8:30-9:20: Welcome/Keynote Speakers

9:40-10:10: Session 1

10:20-10:50: Session 2

10:55-11:30: Students showcase their projects to conference attendees & community

11:30-12:00: Presentation of awards to outstanding projects & closing remarks

Conference Sponsors