The fourth annual Community Development Speaker Series will bring local and national presenters to Hobart and William Smith Colleges to discuss innovations and advances in sustainable development in the Finger Lakes.
“We have some key people, locally and nationally, who have some interesting thoughts about sustainability, and we are bringing these people to campus to inform the HWS community and the community at large,” says Jim Ochterski, community development center program manager at the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI). “People who attend can expect some really interesting insights about sustainability and what it’s come to mean in different communities and in different industries.”
The Sustainable Community Development series is one of many ways that the FLI at Hobart and William Smith 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.
The series will kick off on Monday, Feb. 23 with a talk titled, “Sustainable Communities and Resilience to Weather Disasters,” at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room of Warren Hunting Smith Library. Eric Ameigh, project coordinator for the City of Boulder, Co., will share insights about torrential flooding in their small, tourism-based college city, following historic rain storms in the Rocky Mountains in September 2013. Steve Griffin, CEO of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center in Penn Yan, N.Y., will present the issues they faced in the wake of the May 2014 major village flooding and steps to help with the rebuilding and recovery. Both speakers will convey the lessons their communities learned and tips for Finger Lakes communities to be better prepared to face forthcoming weather catastrophes.
The series will continue on Monday, March 9, at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room with a lecture titled, “Sustainable Consumerism – from Electronics to Apparel,” to discuss simple steps consumers can take to make purchasing decisions with environmental and social concerns in mind. Callie Babbitt, assistant professor at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology, will introduce industrial ecology and sustainable consumer electronics design. She will explain how the material and energy impacts of household electronics have been changing over times, what the implications are, and understanding consumer behavior in order to re-design this system. John Eades, of Vere Sandals in Geneva, will explain their process that eliminates production waste, and share how consumers can favor quality products that place local manufacture, eco-materials and waste minimization as priorities.
On Monday, March 30, at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room, the series will cover two of the Finger Lakes most sought after attractions – food and beverages. The talk, titled “Sustainable Food and Beverages in the Finger Lakes,” will include insight from Brian Nicholson, president and CEO of Red Jacket Orchards, and from Laura Winter Falk, a local culinary and wine tour manager and the author of the new book, “Culinary History of the Finger Lakes.” Nicholson will discuss the sustainable growth of the fruit farm and their beverage processing facility across generations, as well as how they’ve achieved national recognition without growing too fast. Winter Falk will share perspectives on tourism and sustainable food production and consumption in the Finger Lakes.
To conclude the year’s series, Steve Curwood, executive producer of National Public Radio’s award-winning weekly environmental news program, “Living on Earth,” will give a lecture on communicating sustainability. Curwood is the recipient of a shared Pulitzer Prize for Public Service as part of the Boston Globe‘s education team. He has worked as an editor and reporter for the Bay State Banner and as contributing editor at Black Enterprise magazine and the Boston Phoenix. Curwood is also the recipient of the 2003 Global Greens Award and the 2003 David Brower Award given by the Sierra Club for his creation of “Living on Earth,” and also received a 1992 New England Environmental Leadership Award for his work on promoting environmental awareness. The president of the World Media Foundation, Inc., he is also a lecturer in environmental science and public policy at Harvard University. The lecture will take place on Monday, April 13, at 7 p.m. in Albright Auditorium.
“These speakers don’t come around too often,” Ochterski says. “All of the speakers, whether they’re talking about disaster resistance with weather disasters or consumer electronics, are going to have some really valuable things to bring to the table. I think it’s beneficial for our own thoughts about sustainability to be seeded with new insights and perspectives.”