Green community event coming to Valpo this fall
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent June 28, 2012 3:42PM
Neal Armstrong, left, speaks during a press conference announcing plans to host a GreenTown event in Valparaiso Thursday June 28, 2012. Armstrong, a Valparaiso University graduate, is on the board of Seven Generations Ahead which is a co-producer of the sustatinability conference. Valparaiso mayor Jon Costas, VU president Mark Heckler and John Harris, of a5 (left to right) look on. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 30, 2012 6:29AM
VALPARAISO — The future is visiting Northwest Indiana this September, and it’s sustainable.
It will also bring municipal officials and private sector people interested in sustainable communities to Valparaiso University and the city on Sept. 27-28.
Valparaiso and the university are hosting the 10th GreenTown: The Future of Community conference, co-produced by marketing firm a5 Inc. and Seven Generations Ahead since 2007.
Valparaiso officials attended GreenTown in Terre Haute in the fall, and City Administrator Bill Oeding called it “an amazing experience.”
“It’s exactly what we’re trying to do in Valparaiso,” make the community more sustainable, Oeding said Thursday morning at a news conference.
John Harris, of a5, said the event should bring about 300 people to Valparaiso University, and the Indiana Green Campus Network will have 30 representatives attending.
Conference sessions will cover green economy, fit cities, clean water, and sustainability planning and implementation.
Richard Jackson, chairman of environmental health sciences at University of California at Los Angeles and author of “Designing Healthy Communities,” will speak to the public at Central Park Plaza downtown.
“What we hope to do is connect the dots with people in the public and private sectors,” Harris said.
Each learns what the others do, and that leads to planning.
Harris noted Valparaiso already is working with sustainability.
Mayor Jon Costas said, “Our goal at the city of Valparaiso is to become the most livable community of its size in the Midwest.”
Besides introducing the V-line and ChicaGo Dash bus lines, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from city vehicles and no longer discharging overflow into Salt Creek, the city paid upfront for Central Park instead of leaving debt for future generations.
VU President Mark Heckler said the university is interested in sustainability as educators and as a Lutheran institution that believes in taking care of God’s creation.
As the school has grown, it has reduced its energy and water consumption and made the campus more sustainable.
The new engineering building is up for platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, the first engineering building for that international environmental accreditation.
Neal Armstrong, who sits on the Seven Generations Ahead board and is a 1992 VU graduate, said the GreenTown conferences have been a Midwestern happening and attract people from Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana, and now they’re trying to branch out.