2018 Conference

Our 2018 conference gathered 200 people from 4 states, 15 nonprofits, 25 businesses, 35 schools & colleges, and 50 Massachusetts communities.

Conference Comments
How did the conference benefit you?

  • I’m likely to make a stronger stand against wasteful use of natural resources.
  • Coastal processes & climate resiliency planning that were presented will benefit my work in an adjacent community. Same for agriculture presentations; I can bring lessons learned to my work with new knowledge of how it’s done elsewhere.
  • We’re in the process of designing a new school and will take the information and try to implement these ideas in the design.
  • Networking opportunities
  • Met potential collaborators.  Gained insight on municipal sustainability programs.
  • Found a speaker to come talk at my school and made a couple of connections that I will follow up on in my role as Sustainability Director
  • I met some amazing people and wanted to networked more.
  • We’ll be building a new school in the next 3 years. Our team took away a lot of good information on how to utilize green initiatives.
  • I learned about a bunch of stuff I didn’t previously know about but it’s too soon to know about any changes.
  • I made some good contacts.
  • Information I learned about sustainable building systems – designs, solar, retrofit options – can directly be applied to my work.
  • Will make new contacts for solar design and installation work.
  • Most of the benefit to me was from people I met at lunch and after sessions were over, conversations that started in the session carried over into the hallway. No real changes in sustainability practices as a result of the conference, but a lot of ideas for improvements in how I do my job which is to teach others about sustainability.
  • I attended to see the variety of  local sustainability efforts and organizations here in New England as I investigate how to make a career switch. I’m getting in touch with several speakers for informational interviews / casual meetings to learn more about their work.
  • Lunch was good; having outside time during lunch was a good idea. Having students present research at the conference in their own “track” was great – have not seen that at other conferences I’ve been to and it’s a good idea.


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The Conference
The annual Sustainable Communities and Campuses Conference connects stakeholders from communities, campuses, companies, and nonprofits.  Everyone wanting to learn about best practices, current trends, and resources will find this conference timely, practical and valuable.


  • Engage in cross-sector dialogues
  • Learn about best practices and current trends
  • Go home with knowledge and resources to advance community and campus sustainability


  • Government:  Municipal and state elected and non-elected officials and staff
  • Education:  University, college, training, K-12, staff, faculty and students
  • Business:  Owners and representatives
  • Community:  Non-profit group leaders and members
  • Everyone interested in learning about sustainabilitymasccc graphic b

45 Presenters  + 4 Student Groups
Leading experts and practitioners from communities, campuses, businesses, government, and non-profits

16 Exhibitors 

  • Business products and services
  • College certificate and degree programs
  • Non-Profit organizations

Green Event

  • The conference purpose and mission
  • Reduced printing, packaging and conference materials
  • Zero Waste includes recycling, composting, and donating unserved food to local shelter.  This year our unserved vegetarian wraps from Vela Juice Bar were donated to the SSAC/Emergency Assistance Food Program in Plymouth.
  • Carbon offset for annual conference travel and building energy is a donation to a local organization.  This year the donation was given to Annawon Weeden of First Light Foundation to support his excellent culture and nature programs.

Registration Fees
The $30-$75 registration fee covers keynote presentation, breakout sessions, exhibitors, lunch, and networking.

An advisory team of professionals representing communities, education, business, government and nonprofits; and an on-site conference team helped with this conference which was created and hosted by Green Workforce Training.

Click on presenters’ names to view PowerPoint presentations.

8:00-8:30 Registration, Exhibits, Networking

8:30-9:30 Keynote:  Making Sustainability History
Hear from extraordinary people advancing sustainability.
Annawon Weeden  Educator, First Light Foundation
Greg Watson  Director for Policy and Systems Design, Schumacher Center for New Economics
Mary O’Donnell  CEO, No Fossil Fuel LLC; Clean Power Inc.
Scott Durkee  Director, Energy Office, City of New Bedford

9:45-10:45 SESSIONS

Massachusetts Milestones

Hear how policies have impacted the state and communities environmentally and economically.
Marc Pacheco Senator, State of Massachusetts
Scott Durkee  Director, Energy Office, City of New Bedford

Low Carbon Transportation
EVs (electric vehicles) and public transit are trending.  Learn about EV infrastructure and purchasing options for home and business, a proposed transportation RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), and a new line of EVs for campus and community fleets.
Larry Chretien  Executive Director, Energy Consumers Alliance of New England / Mass Energy
Josh Ostroff  Partnerships Director, Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA)
Aaron Stegemann  Director, Strategic Accounts, GemCar/Polaris

Weathering Storms: Research and Resilience Strategies
We saw super high tides and flooding early this year.  How did your community or campus do? Check out research and resilience strategies in the face of a changing climate.
Ellen Douglas  Associate Professor of Hydrology, School for the Environment; Graduate Program Director, MS/PhD programs in Environmental Sciences and Marine Science & Technology, UMass Boston
Darci Schofield  Senior Environmental Planner, MAPC
Nancy Durfee  Climate Resilience Officer, Town of Scituate
Valerie Massard  Director of Planning, Town of Duxbury

Campus Sustainability: Challenges, Achievements, Plans
Hear about projects and partnerships that advance sustainability practices and education.
Kathy Driscoll  Environmental, Health, Safety & Sustainability Officer, Mass Maritime Academy
Gallagher Hannan  Director of Operations, Mill City Grows
Ruairi O’Mahoney  Director of Sustainability, UMass Lowell

Schools can be learning labs where students engage in sustainability-related projects.  Students give presentations that describe their projects.
Dighton-Rehoboth High School  The Community Watershed
Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School 
– Eliminating the organic waste stream from the cafeteria and restaurant, and using multiple compost methods

11:00-Noon SESSIONS

Engagement:  Policy and Action
Leading advocates talk about 100% renewable energy goals, coastal ecosystem protection, and efforts to use safer chemicals in Massachusetts.
Ben Hellerstein  State Director, Environment Massachusetts
Korrin Petersen  Senior Attorney, Buzzards Bay Coalition
Pam Eliason  Senior Associate Director and Training Manager, Toxics Use Reduction Institute, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Solar Challenges and Solutions
Learn about amazing solar projects, net-zero-energy, solar + storage and “SMART”, the new MA solar program.
Steven Strong  President, Solar Design Associates
Haskell Werlin Government Affairs, Solar Design Associates

The Water Planet: Problems & Solutions
Our water planet needs more protection from pollution. Hear about global and local challenges and opportunities.
Barbara Burgess Founder and Chair, Women Working for Oceans (W2O)
Rick Reibstein  Lecturer, Environmental Law and Policy, Boston University and Harvard DCE; Retired Senior Environmental Analyst, State of Massachusetts

Facilities Management – A Greener Decade
Significant improvements have happened statewide in buildings and facilities.  Learn about achievements, innovations, a marine learning lab, and much more.
Betsy Isenstein  Director, Energy and Sustainability, Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance, State of Massachusetts
Steven Lohrenz  Dean and Professor, School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

Compelling Student RESEARCH
Hear from students doing work for environmental agencies and organizations like DEP, EEA, Boston Public Health Commission, community developers, and others.
Brandeis University Students
     Transforming Space – Sustainable Food & the Kingston Market
Boston University Students
     Medical Symptoms of Toxic Exposure
     Community Electricity Aggregation
     Bees & Neonics
     Tree Retention

12:00-1:15 Lunch, Exhibits, Networking

1:15-2:15 SESSIONS

Sustainable Development: Designing Communities for the Future
Greener landscapes, smart urban design, and planned community projects are transforming communities.  The community of tomorrow will look a bit different and it is being created today!
Scott Horsley  Principal, Horsley Witten Group
Tony Green  Managing Partner, The Pinehills

Working Together:  Connecting Energy Needs & Resources
Cross-sector work and innovative projects get the job done. Learn about Solarize Mass, a nonprofit co-op installing 32 MW of solar and wind on the Cape and Islands, and Massachusetts’ Green Communities program updates.
Matt Arner President, Solar Flair
Liz Argo  Manager, Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative
Joanne Bissetta  Deputy Director, Green Communities Division, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

Sustainable Lifestyles & Education
Living smarter, simpler and better with less includes organic farming, net zero energy, and helping to educate others.
Janice McPhillips  Farm Educator and Outreach Coordinator, Friends of Holly Hill Farm
Peter Kane  Environmental Science Instructor, Norfolk County Agricultural High School

Creative Approaches to Sustainability in Schools
Explore strategies for incorporating sustainability into projects.  What hasn’t been done before or could be done in a different way? How are we making history by being innovative?
Cate Arnold Faculty Advisor, Boston Latin School Youth Climate Action Network, BLS Freight Farm, EPIIC, Boston Latin School
Robert Gomes  Community Outreach Coordinator, Greater New Bedford Regional Technical High School

2:30-3:30 SESSIONS

Better Building Solutions
Buildings are often the source of the highest emissions within the control of residents, cities, towns, and campuses. Zero energy frameworks figure out how buildings are doing and what you need to do.
Seth Federspiel  Net Zero Energy Planner, Cambridge
Travis Anderson  Design Director, Placetailor

Organic, Local, Sustainable Food
Hear about current trends in local farming practices and farm-to-consumer enterprises that serve schools and colleges.
Karen Schwalbe  Executive Director, Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP)
Jen Faigel Executive Director, Commonwealth Kitchen

Environmental Justice
Everyone has a right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean, healthy environment!
Deneen Simpson  Environmental Justice Director, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Danah Tench  Deputy General Counsel, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Career Development
Explore education, work experience, personal interests, and steps for fulfilling work that you love.
Michelle Waters Ekanem  Director of Diversity and Civil Rights, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Kelly DeMello  Care and Action for Students Team, Career & Professional Services, Mass Maritime Academy

3:30-4:00 Networking


Milestones to Celebrate

Millions across the Commonwealth are advancing sustainability day by day, action by action. Here are some amazing milestones:

Communitiesmass pic 18
Sterling installs a Municipal Microgrid
Cuttyhunk Island Microgrid powered by solar
Scituate has 100% Municipal Wind
New Bedford owns 16MW Solar
Holyoke has 95% Carbon Free Electricity
Northampton is the first 5-STAR Community
Cambridge voted most Walkable City in the USA
150 do Municipal Electric Aggregation aka CCA

Mount Wachusett Community College approaches carbon neutrality
Hampshire College goes for 100% solar electricity
MIT’s solar plant energy project

Green Communities designation reaches 210
#1 in Energy EfficiencyMass Save data, Energy Efficient state buildings
Water Conservation measures are working (conservation and fixing leaks reduced peak use by more than half)
Clean energy snapshot
25,000 acres preserved with CPA funding

Grassroots Accomplishments
Toxics reduction and organizing in communities
Natural gas leaks mapped in Massachusetts
Pipeline protests have been effective
Plastic bags banned in 61 Communities
36 years of Organic Farming advocacy

Innovation & Achievements
Greentown labs in Somerville
Community Supported Agriculture increased 95% since 2007
2000+ LEED Buildings in Massachusetts
Hundreds of EV charging stations
100+ Bike paths in Massachusetts
Climate action in higher education
Over 100 land trust and conservation organizations
200+ Active compost sites
 in Massachusetts
Solar dock
 in New Bedford


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