Building a Sustainability Community in Pennsylvania
with Keynote address by Second Nature's Anthony Cortese well received.
October 20th, 2010: over fifty people from PERC member and affiliated schools as well other interested parties including people from PERC Sponsors gathered to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing Pennsylvania campuses working on sustainability today.
A number of member schools sent multiple registrants, no doubt taking advantage of the free registration for members policy, but also adding a variety of perspectives to the collective intelligence in the room.
The majority of the morning consisted of two panels. The first focused on Engaging People in Sustainability with speakers from Penn State and Dickinson as well as a Penn State student discussing specific programs for both students and staff.
The second panel dealt with Financing Sustainability and had speakers from the Sustainable Energy Fund, DEP, the EPA and presenters from Slippery Rock University discussing their student- initiated Green Fund. A list of speakers and their presentations is available at the Member conference page (login required).
Executive Director Josh Hooper gave us a look at what PERC has accomplished toward its stated objectives for the year, including the development of our new web site and the social networking potential it has for enhancing connections between members. Many objectives have been completed; many others are underway. Founder/ government liaison Don Brown talked through proposed changes in the bylaws. The bylaw amendments were passed by the member schools attending--the revised version is available here.
After a networking lunch, participants took part in the "Sustainability Cafe" lead by PERC President Erik Foley of Penn State and Vice President Neil Leary of Dickinson. Based on the World Cafe process, the session was designed to elicit specific areas of interest and gather commitments to action. Keynote Speaker Tony Cortese arrived early enough to take part in the cafe process and commented on the enthusiasm it was generating. After the cafe, Tony gave an inspiring keynote address, much of it focused on the value of working together at the statewide level and the benefits he saw PERC and its schools can provide. Tony's entire talk is available as the playlist video (the five segments should automatically play back in order) at the top of this page.
PERC is experimenting with its first web forum (login required), allowing people to contribute reflections on the conference in the forum. All members and sponsors are encouraged to contribute.
According to PERC president Erik Foley, All PERC members and all conference attendees can expect a "next steps" followup on the data gathered from the Sustainability Cafe.
Thanks to everyone who made this event possible.