University of Rochester

University of Rochester Hosts Sustainability Conference
National, Local Panelists to Discuss Local Solutions to Global Concerns

March 29, 2007

Sustainability is not only a global concern, but it is also a local concern affecting the Rochester community.

That's why eight nationally known speakers, including educators, authors, business leaders, and activists are coming to University of Rochester's first Sustainability Conference on Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14.

Pathways to a Sustainable World offers two days of sharing, learning and action, and is a uniquely affordable community event, based on solutions and success stories of what is working in today's world. In addition to the eight speakers, the conference is locally enriched with sessions and workshops on regional issues and community solutions, networking and entertainment, and meals featuring locally produced food. It will equip participants with models, resources and networks, encouraging everyone to act as forces in the transformation toward a restorative future.

Featured speakers include David Abram, an ecologist, anthropologist, and philosopher, and author of Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World, and David Orr, distinguished professor of environmental studies at Oberlin College and one of the foremost speakers on sustainability, and author of many books including The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift.

Judith Hook, director of the Program of Movement and Dance at the University of Rochester and organizer of the event, said the conference.aims to bring the University community and the greater Rochester community together to explore ways to create a truly sustainable world, which means satisfying human needs without diminishing the chances of future generations.

"This conference is the community's opportunity to have a dialogue and start conversations that will help shift the way we think," Hook said. "It's about being educated citizens."

While there is a cost for the conference, a sliding scale registration is offered so that all can afford to attend. In addition, several free pre-conference workshops are available.

Arming people with the tools, resources, and motivation needed for transformation will prepare those who are devoted to environmental, economic and social change but are ill-equipped, said James Allen, University of Rochester professor of computer sciences and also an organizer of the event.

"There is a growing concern that changes need to be made," Allen said. "People want to help, but there it is easy to become overwhelmed with the vastness of the problems."

Ideally, Hook said, the conference will expand and improve, offering an annual forum for discussion and interaction in which people can share knowledge and skills, and be inspired and motivated towards creating a genuinely sustainable world.

Community members are also invited to participate in two free pre-conference workshops from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 13, in Hubbell Auditorium in Hutchison Hall on the University's River Campus. A workshop on local business networks will be lead by Judy Wicks, founder of the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia and co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and Michael Shuman, author of The SmallMart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition will lead the discussion. A second workshop with Christopher Uhl, professor of biology at Pennsylvania State and author of the book Developing Ecological Consciousness: Paths to a Sustainable World, will discuss how educators can teach to help create a sustainable world. Registration is required.

The conference is presented by the Program of Movement and Dance and sponsored by Dining services, Student Activities, Center for Entrepreneurship, the Sustainability Roundtable, along with student groups the Finance and Economic Council, Grassroots, UAG, and USGO. Sponsors from the community include Foodlink, Coffee Connection, Organic Alley, Organic Home Delivery, and City newspaper,

People should pre-register for the event. Meals are not guaranteed for on-site registrations. To register for the conference or for a full schedule of events visit For more information, contact Pathways to a Sustainable World, Program of Movement and Dance at (585) 273-5150, e-mail, or write to Box 270051, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627.