CSU, Chico News

Registration Open for University’s This Way to Sustainability Conference IX

Date: 02-05-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Jim Pushnik, Director
Institute for Sustainable Development

Registration is now open for California State University, Chico’s ninth annual This Way to Sustainability Conference, the nation’s largest student-run conference. Slated for March 6-8 in the Bell Memorial Union (BMU), the event is expected to draw more than 1,400 participants and nearly 150 speakers exploring approaches to a sustainable society.

Themed “Growing Toward a Sustainable Future,” this year’s event will give special focus to sustainable food and agriculture. Programming on Saturday, March 8, will take place at the University Farm, where several workshops showcasing sustainable farming practices will convene in a round-robin style. A tour of Bertagna Orchards and Son Kissed Vineyards will follow.

Keynoting the conference are Anya Fernald, cofounder and CEO of Belcampo; Karen Ross, secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture; and Danya Baumeister, cofounder and keystone of the nonprofit Biomimicry 3.8.

Fernald, who heads a group of innovative agriculture companies, will speak on Thursday, March 6. She has been named to Food & Wine magazine’s “40 Big Food Thinkers 40 and Under” list and to the New York Times’ “Nifty Fifty”; appeared as a regular judge on Iron Chef America from 2009 to 2011; and coauthored two books for Slow Food’s international publishing house.

Ross, who has served in the Brown administration since 2011, will speak on Friday, March 7. Prior to her appointment, she served as chief of staff for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and as president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers for 13 years. Friday afternoon, Baumeister, whose company focuses on using models in nature to solve human problems, will share adaptation success stories for sustainability and offer ideas for the path forward.

Other conference presentations will focus on sustainable solutions in the areas of business and economy, education, energy and water, lifestyle and more. Sessions are designed for beginners as well as those with advanced knowledge.

Three awards will be presented during the event, including the Paul Persons Award, recognizing faculty members furthering sustainability through teaching, and two Greenie Awards, recognizing businesses, individuals, students, nonprofits and others for their sustainability efforts. A screening of a new documentary film by CSU, Chico anthropology professor Jesse Dizard, “Treading Water,” will also be offered.

This Way to Sustainability is planned and executed with extensive student involvement. As coordinators, students work directly with speakers, perform moderator duties, provide speaker introductions and act as conference hosts. Because speakers are culled from a variety of sustainability-related industries, students gain valuable networking opportunities and interactions with leaders in the field.

A complete schedule of the conference, including times for the keynote addresses and registration information, can be found at http://www.csuchico.edu/sustainablefuture/conference. Online registration for the event is open until Feb. 28. General admission is $25 per day; admission is free for students with valid student ID.

The This Way to Sustainability Conference IX is hosted by the Institute for Sustainable Development and Associated Students at CSU, Chico with the generous support of community sponsors including Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Rawlins Endowed Professorship and Oxford Suites Chico and in-kind donors Hotel Diamond, Madison Bear Garden and Pita Pit.

The Institute for Sustainable Development provides leadership in the development of sustainable solutions to the increasingly complex challenges of tomorrow through on-campus actions and the development of public-private partnerships focused on innovation, communication, conservation and education. For more information, call the institute at 530-898-3333.