Massachusetts Sustainable Communities and Campuses Conferences April 20 and 21, Boston
Sydney Blackwell, March 23, 2012, Boston, MA — It’s no accident that Massachusetts is a national leader in energy efficiency and is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020. Massachusetts is serious about sustainability at every level. From homes to universities, future-minded individuals and groups not only implement, they hone, and innovate.
And, most importantly, they share their ideas and best practices.
Campuses and communities will have an opportunity to do just that when local and state leaders from government, education, business, and communities come together at the second Massachusetts Sustainable Communities Conference Friday, April 20, and the first Massachusetts Sustainable Campuses Conference Saturday, April 21, at the UMass Boston Campus Conference Center .
“Campuses and communities are similar in so many ways. By gathering peers and experts to explore campus and community sustainability, we can collectively expand our efforts,” says conference director Jen Boudrie. “This conference brings together people from rural, urban, and suburban communities, and from large and small campuses, private and public, across the state: UMass, community colleges, MIT, and Clark, Tufts, andHarvard Universities will be there. The common thread is sustainability.”
Keynote speakers at the two back-to-back conferences will include Green Communities Director Meg Lusardi from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources; Geoff Chapin, founder and CEO of Next Step Living; and Ed Terceiro, retired vice president and CFO of Mount Wachusett Community College.
Dynamic partnerships and exciting projects are expanding sustainability statewide. Over 30 topic sessions will be led by recognized experts: Peter Cooper, manager of Sustainable Engineering and Utility Planning at MIT; Nancy Hazard, Greening Greenfield Energy Committee member, previous director of NESEA and Tour de Sol; Steven Strong, president of Solar Design Associates; Kevin Doyle, principal at Green Economy, NE Clean Energy Council Committee; Adrian Dahlin, founder of GreenLinks Tufts; president and CEO of Rising Green … to name a few.
“The conference is an opportunity to engage in conversation with your colleagues, friends, and neighbors. The panels and presentations will highlight visionary projects and people and will remind us that we all need to be heroic in our efforts to heal the planet,” says Susan Jennings, director of the Office of Campus and Community Sustainability at UMass Dartmouth.
Conference sponsors—Next Step Living, National Fiber, Greener U, Pare Corporation, Nexamp, and UMass Dartmouth—are all dedicated to community sustainability.
Conference director Boudrie’s experience in environmental sustainability leadership in her community and her 20-year background in instructional design and college teaching led her to see a clear need to connect people and resources. She has created the conferences with the support of an advisory group and on-site conference team comprised of professionals from government, business, education and communities.
“Lots of local initiatives are popping up all over the state,” Boudrie says. “Some better known ones might be in Boston , Cambridge , Greenfield , andNorthampton , but every town and city in the state has something going on. For example, many communities have solar installations – big or small. Most are already saving money with energy efficiency and conservation, and are still working hard on that, too. It’s the same with campuses.”
Speakers and exhibitors this year represent cities and towns across Massachusetts: Acton, Boston, Belchertown, Boston, Buzzards Bay, Cambridge, Danvers, Dartmouth, Devens, Dorchester, Easton, Framingham, Franklin, Greenfield, Harvard, Holliston, Lowell, Maynard, Marlborough, Medford, Needham, Newton, Northampton, Pittsfield, Raynham, Roxbury, Salem, Sharon, Waltham, Wayland, Winchester, Worcester and more. Regions represented include Cape Code, MetroWest, Pioneer Valley, and Southeastern Massachusetts .
Full details about the campus and communities conferences can be found at www.MaSustainableCommunities.com
First-time conference confirms Mass campuses spearheading sustainability efforts
Ajita Perera, Examiner.com, April 29, 2012 –At the first Massachusetts Sustainable Campuses conference held April 21 at UMass Boston, an impressive picture emerged of what campuses and schools are currently doing to implement sustainable and green efforts in their microcosms.
The two-day conference included nearly 500 sustainability experts and peers from government, business, education, and nonprofits from two countries (USA, Canada), nine states (CT, HI, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT), 94 Massachusetts communities, and 45 campuses and schools who are contributing to local and global sustainability. There were 32 sessions with about 90 presenters while 41 exhibitors showcased services and products for sustainability.
On Saturday, which was dedicated to campuses, about 20% of the attendees were students of all ages. Seven high school students co-presented with their teachers Cate Arnold from Boston Latin High School and Karen DiFranza a sustainability teacher form Hubbardston. Ten college students provided posters or presented on sustainability topics from Clark University, MIT, Northeastern University, Suffolk University, UMass Amherst, UMass Dartmouth and UMass Lowell. The rest attended sessions to learn about sustainability initiatives on campuses across the state.
Conference director Jen Boudrie said the event was an extraordinary opportunity to connect people to see what is happening on campuses across the Commonwealth. “Staff, faculty and students are achieving amazing results. We now have a net zero energy campus at Mount Wachusett Community College and a net zero energy building at North Shore Community College. Several campuses, like Harvard University, are purchasing 10-25% of their food from local farms and composting their food waste. Campuses throughout the state are adopting bike share programs. Sustainability is being integrated across the curriculum and new programs and courses are being created every year like the facilities director program at Mass Maritime Academy.”
Boudrie who leads green efforts in the city of Marlborough, declared, “there is an extraordinary transition going on, a real movement towards more sustainable development, that co-benefits our environment, our economy, our health, and society. It is evident on campuses and communities across the state, and at all levels, from top to bottom.”
Key Massachusetts sustainability personalities and proponents delved into topics such as: Facilities Directors and Sustainability – What does the Job Involve?; Sustainable Food Systems and Campuses; Clean Energy Initiatives on Campus; Creating a Culture that Values Sustainability; Career Preparation for Sustainable Development; Project Financing and Getting to Net Zero Energy on Campus and many more.
Because a campus is a self-contained community, it is a microcosm that can serve as a testing ground for renewable energy initiatives. Today’s students who are engaging in sustainability efforts are ambassadors who will carry solutions and visions into the future.
One of the most impressive campus success stories is no doubt Mount Wachusett Community College which converted an all-electric facility to a closed- loop biomass fueled hydronic system. With its renewable and efficiency projects in place, MWCC is one of a few campuses in the world that is approaching Zero Net Energy and Zero Net Carbon.
Ed Terceiro, Chief Operations Officer and Resident Engineer at MWCC shared a plethora of noteworthy statistics. At the end of the day, MWCC will have reduced its carbon emissions by 2900 metric tons, a reduction of 92% from baseline. This total reduction is equivalent to annual emissions from 569 passenger cars or electricity use at 352 homes.
Henrietta Davis, Mayor of Cambridge and Harvey Michaels, Energy Efficiency Scientist and Lecturer, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT jointly discussed ‘Higher Education and Community Leadership’ and the roles that colleges and communities play in sustainable development. There was an open dialogue with the audience on the boundaries, connections, and crossovers that exist between campuses and communities. During session breaks participants were busy networking. Some were heard exclaiming their keenness to implement certain ideas and replicate success stories validated by speakers.
Conference director Jen Boudrie received accolades for organizing such a timely conference and assembling such a stellar gathering of experts. The impressive lineup of speakers, key institutions represented and the sheer volume of information, ideas, statistics and forward looking projections around the topic of sustainability, made this first time conference a very timely event and one to watch in the years to come.