UF to host statewide conference on campus and community sustainability efforts

October 24, 2006

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Office of Sustainability will host a statewide conference Oct. 25-26 to inspire campus sustainability efforts throughout the state.

Organizers hope the conference, called “Campus and Community Sustainability: Sharing Best Practices and Visions for Florida’s Future,” will give colleges, universities and communities the chance to share ideas and contribute to each other’s sustainability efforts. The conference will highlight the synergies between institutions and their communities and emphasize the role of higher education in creating a more sustainable future.

“One of our main goals for this conference is to ignite sustainability movements on the other campuses of the SUS (Southern University System),” said Mark Brown, director of the Center for Environmental Policy. Brown is serving as the conference co-chairman.

The conference will be held in the Reitz Student Union with various activities featured on the Colonnade and North Lawn. Workshops and activities will last from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 25 and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct 26. Participants will attend five of about 25 breakout sessions, with topics ranging from alternative energy sources to global climate change and real world models of sustainable living.

Highlights of the conference are guest speakers Michael Shuman on Oct. 25 and Carl Hiaasen on Oct. 26. Hiaasen, a graduate of the University of Florida, is an award-winning journalist and author. He has been nominated for three Pulitzer Prizes. Shuman is an acclaimed attorney and economist and the author of “The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses are Beating the Global Competition.”

Participants will be encouraged to share and exchange ideas of the best practices throughout Florida’s colleges, universities and communities. Representatives from UF, Florida State University, University of South Florida and University of Central Florida will host a question-and-answer panel.

“This is the first in what we hope will be an annual event,” Brown said. “We are the first, but hopefully another campus will host it next year.”

The conference is geared to the faculty, staff and students of Florida’s institutes of higher education and local community leaders; however, anyone with an interest in developing stronger local sustainability practices is encouraged to attend.

Registration for both days is $100 for general participants and $35 for students. This includes full access to conference events, including all panels, workshops, roundtable discussions, breakfast, lunch and refreshments. Registration for evening sessions is also available for $40 and $20 for general and student participants respectively. If students wish to attend but cannot afford the cost of the conference, they are encouraged to fill out the sponsorship form on the event Web site.

People are encouraged to contribute in other ways including sponsorships or exhibits promoting sustainability concepts.

More details concerning deadlines, prices and scheduling are available on the Web site http://www.sustainable.ufl.edu/conference/index.asp.