Dec. 3, 2009

Preview: 2010 Symposium on Sustainability

by Paula Van Brocklin

Details are coming together for Iowa State's second annual Symposium on Sustainability, Feb. 23-24, 2010. Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the conference for free, which also will be web cast live. Others outside the university may attend at a cost of $60 per person. A sustainable buffet lunch catered by ISU Dining is part of the Feb. 24 activities.

Following are highlights of the two-day event. For a developing list of symposium activities, periodically check the Live Green web site.

Feb. 23

The symposium opens Tuesday evening, Feb. 23, with a reception and poster session (7 p.m., Great Hall, Memorial Union). Students, faculty and staff are invited to submit posters that detail specific research projects that support campus sustainability. Submission deadline is Jan. 15. Additional poster guidelines are available from the symposium web site.

The symposium's opening lecture begins at 8 p.m., featuring Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia Inc., an outdoor clothing company concerned with environmental ethics. Patagonia developed an Earth Tax, pledging 1 percent of its sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. In 2001, Chouinard was instrumental in creating One Percent for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that contribute at least 1 percent of their net annual sales to approved environmental organizations.

Feb. 24

A full day of sustainability discussion kicks off Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 8 a.m. (Sun Room, MU) and continues through 5 p.m. A keynote address by Leith Sharp, founding director of Harvard University's Green Campus Initiative, begins at 8:20 a.m. In her presentation, "Green Economy Campus: Change Management for Sustainability," Sharp will address green strategies for a campus community, including cost-effective building design and operations, purchasing, renewable energy, organic landscaping, cleaning, greenhouse gas reduction and more.

Panel discussions

Four panel discussions make up the bulk of the day's events. The first session begins at 9:30 a.m., focusing on how ISU students are implementing green practices. A small group of ISU students will participate in the panel, which will be moderated by Chandra Peterson, vice president of the Government of the Student Body.

At 10:15 a.m., ISU green teams will discuss their initiatives. Panelists include Sarah Passonneau, chair of the library's green team; Darryl Knight, chair of the residence green team; and John Miranowski, chair of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences green team. Moderator is Merry Rankin, director of sustainability.

The afternoon panels begin with a 1:30 p.m. discussion on the university's interdisciplinary sustainable education programs, moderated by Arne Hallam, LAS associate dean. The final panel begins at 3:15 p.m. and features ISU Extension's efforts in creating sustainable farms, families and a bioeconomy. Extension specialist Andrew Larson -- a small farm sustainability coordinator -- is the moderator.

Let your voice be heard

At the close of the symposium on Feb. 24, attendees will have an opportunity to share their thoughts, questions and suggestions on how ISU can enhance its sustainability initiatives. The open forum begins at 4 p.m. in the Sun Room, MU.

How to register

Though the Symposium on Sustainability is free to the campus community, you need to register if you plan to attend. If you can't stay for the entire event due to class or work conflicts, you may come and go. However, Rankin encourages faculty and staff to rearrange their schedules to spend as much time as possible at the symposium.

"This is a very informative event, and it should be very beneficial," Rankin said. "I would encourage people to make other arrangements if they can."