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March 11, 2011

La Salle to Host Inaugural Sustainability Symposium

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La Salle University will host its inaugural Sustainability Symposium, on Saturday, March 19, 2011. The free symposium, “Sustainability: Is it More Than We Think?” is part of the University’s Explorer Connection initiative, and offers an interdisciplinary approach to examining and practicing sustainability, drawing on key issues of sustainable development from a local, national, and global perspective.

“Many people solely equate sustainability with environmentalism, often overlooking other major components of sustainable development,” said Julianna Gwiszcz, Director of La Salle’s Explorer Connection and Symposium Coordinator. “According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

“Sustainable development requires us to employ a more holistic approach that takes into consideration the social, political, economic and environmental factors that impact us as individuals, communities, and nations,” said Gwiszcz.

The Symposium will feature a special keynote address, “From Sustainability Development to Sustainable Well-Being,” by Maurie Cohen, Ph.D., associate professor and Director of the Graduate Program in Environmental Policy Studies at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. There will also be interactive breakout sessions each focusing on sustainable issues from a local, national, or global perspective. The symposium will conclude with a catered lunch prepared by La Salle’s Executive Chef Royer Smith in the tradition of sustainable well-being.

“The goal of the symposium is not to preach or convert people, said James Smither, Ph.D., professor of management at La Salle, and Symposium advisory committee member. “It is intended to help us all become more informed while also raising issues, encouraging discussion and debate.”

The Symposium is the culmination of the Explorer Connection’s year-long Sustainable Development Series (SDS) that was designed to increase awareness of sustainability issues such as poverty, energy conservation, community capacity building, and government corruption. Some of the SDS events include: presentations on fair trade and sustainable farming and HIV in developing countries, a screening of the film “Invisible Children,” and an environmental issues panel. 

“Sustainability is increasingly important across all disciplines—both socially and academically,” said Gwiszcz. “As more and more corporations and organizations adopt sustainability mindsets, our students are able to see how sustainable development can impact their future careers; whether they are a business, nursing, science, or education major, each has a role to play.”

The La Salle University Sustainability Symposium is free and open to the public. Registration is required. For additional information about the Symposium, click here.