The Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) recently hosted its first event of the third annual Sustainable Community Development Series at the Smith Opera House in downtown Geneva. The series, which aims to connect students, faculty and the community with environmental issues of the region, is made possible thanks to support from Isabel Foundation.
The Sustainable Community Development Series is one of many ways that FLI collaborates with regional environmental partners and state and local government offices. FLI is dedicated to the promotion of environmental research and education about the Finger Lakes and surrounding environments.
Cari Varner, program manager of the Community Design Center and Sustainable Community Development Program at FLI, says the Lecture Series is a great opportunity for the community, even for those who do not have an environmental studies background. All events in the series are free and open to the public.
“The Finger Lakes region is home to some really progressive and pro-active efforts towards achieving sustainability – both in academia and in the public and private sectors,” says Varner. “This lecture series aims to bring the best and brightest to the Geneva community, and give students, faculty and the public the opportunity to learn about these efforts.”
This year’s series covers five different topic areas including: energy and waste, built environment, food and water, science and technology and sustainable community development. Varner says the series can serve as an important to have the opportunity to raise awareness and build knowledge around the various issues.
“You can come to these lectures and have an opportunity to add to your learning without necessarily taking a full-blown course to see if it interests you,” she says.
The first showing in the series was the documentary, “Rebels with a Cause.” The film details the struggle of ordinary citizens in California trying to make a difference in the environment.
The film was followed by a discussion featuring Jason Yots, president and CEO of Preservation Studios; Kyle Crandall, president of Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition; and Todd Taylor, a civically engaged resident of Geneva N.Y. The event was moderated by Assistant Professor of Architectural Studies Gabriella D’Angelo.
According to Varner, the series gives HWS and the greater community a unique opportunity to view the film as it is only being screened in limited venues around the country.
The following lectures will take place in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library:
Energy and waste: Monday, March 3, at 7 p.m. Speakers: W.S. “Lanny” Joyce, PE, CEM, director of energy and management, Cornell University; and Mike Kelleher, Executive Director Energy and Sustainability, SUNY ESF. Moderated by Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies Tom Drennen.
Food and Water: Monday, March 10, at 7 p.m. Speakers: Rachnas Vas, president and CEO of Quench and Nourish; Elizabeth Henderson, farmer with Agricultural Justice Project; and Patty Love, program director at Lots of Food. Moderated by Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Robin Lewis.
Science & Technology: Monday, March 31, at 7 p.m. Speakers: Kevin Stack, founder and CEO of Northeast Green Building Consulting, LLC; and Josh Stack, attorney and counselor of law with Northeast Green Building Consulting, LLC. Moderated by FLI Research Scientist Susan Cushman, director of Introductory Biology Laboratories in the HWS Department of Biology.
Sustainable Community Development: Monday, April 14, at 7 p.m. Speaker: Joni Monroe, executive director with the Rochester Regional Community Design Center. Moderated by Assistant Professor of Sociology Erwin Kosta.