Industry, Government and Academia Come Together for Sustainability
University Public Affairs
During the past five years, Virginia Commonwealth University has strived to become a leader in sustainability.
Its efforts have paid off as VCU today is recognized as a national leader in sustainability by such environmental pillars as the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Sierra Club, The Princeton Review, the College Sustainability Report Card, League of American Bicyclists, U.S. Green Building Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
As part of its leadership role, the university is taking the next logical step in its efforts: helping others advance their own environmental efforts. To do so, VCU is hosting the first statewide Energy and Sustainability Conference, bringing together leaders across business sectors to discuss how sustainability is changing their organizations. The conference takes place Jan. 30-31 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 N. Third St. For information on registering as a sponsor, exhibitor or attendee, visit http://www.vsbn.org/vcu-esc2013/.
"VCU has worked hard to be recognized as a leader in sustainability," said Ed Bennett, executive director and deputy, VCU Facilities Management, "so helping to promote and host a conference of this magnitude is a chance to continue our growth and encourage others to improve their sustainability posture."
Whereas most sustainability forums are geared toward facility operators and managers, this event aims to focus on building owners and decision-makers. Topics will include what corporate executives think about sustainability and the state's biomass infrastructure.
"This conference is the first of its kind in the commonwealth bringing industry, government and academia together under one roof," said VCU Sustainability Director Jacek Ghosh. "VCU made a commitment five years ago to tackle climate change and has led the way in this difficult endeavor in the commonwealth. Hosting the Energy and Sustainability Conference is an important venue to encourage others to accelerate their commitment to sustainability as well as our own."
The event also will include high school and college students who, in the future, will be impacted by the decisions these leaders make today.
"I am especially thrilled to have as many as 150 college students and 100 high school students in attendance with their own education track," Bennett said. "Many students are speaking and the chance for them to interact with each other and the business partners and other attendees is a great learning opportunity."
Track sessions will focus on manufacturing, health care, government, K-12, commercial real estate and higher education market sectors. Breakout sessions will focus on specific vertical market issues and case studies on energy and sustainability, operations and maintenance and creative financing.
Corporate sponsors Trane (the air conditioning subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand), GE and Dominion are working closely with VCU Facilities Management and the schools of Business and Engineering in planning the event.
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