Pacific Northwest Sustainability Conference to Create Synergies

The Center for Sustainable Communities at Willamette University will host a sustainability conference April 20 and 21 in Salem, Ore.

"Creating Synergies: Community, University and Business" will provide a forum for business leaders, professionals, scholars, students and activists from throughout the Northwest to share experiences, network and explore opportunities for collaboration. All are welcome.

Sustainability advocates are invited to offer individual or group presentations, discussion panels, information tables, vendor booths or poster projects that address the "four E's" of sustainability: environment, equity, economics and education.

Organizers are particularly interested in presentations that highlight curricular reform, dialogue between educators and business leaders, sustainability research, social justice and sustainable communities, student activism, green building, launching and managing sustainable businesses, the green ecumenical movement, alternative energy and sustainable agriculture. Please complete the online submission form by March 21.

Saturday field trips will include visits to businesses and communities that are guided by sustainable principles, including LifeSource Natural Foods, a wind-powered store that sells 100 percent organic produce; Pringle Creek Community, a neighborhood guided by principles of community-oriented planning, earth-friendly construction and energy efficient practices; Kettle Chips, a natural snack food manufacturer; and the Oregon Garden, which offers more than 20 specialty gardens on 80 acres in historic Silverton. A guided hike in the Cascade Mountains will also be available.

A free Earth Day celebration Sunday, April 22, at Salem's Riverfront Park will feature food, music, information booths and activities for children. There will be opportunities to buy plants, browse children's books with sustainability themes, and learn about sustainable lifestyles.

Online conference registration begins March 20. Registration is $30, and free for all students. A limited number of student scholarships are available to defray the cost of travel and lodging. To apply for a scholarship, note interest on the registration form.

Conference partners offer hotel accommodations within walking distance of Willamette University. Salem is served by shuttle service from Portland International Airport, Amtrak and Greyhound Bus Lines. Attendees are encouraged to help make the conference a carbon neutral event by purchasing carbon credits at TerraPass, (Carbon credits fund renewable energy projects that reduce greenhouse gases, offsetting carbon dioxide emitted when people drive or fly.) Directions and campus maps are available online.

Visit or contact Joe Bowersox at (503) 370-6220 for information.