By: RANDALL MOSSMAN
Students who are interested in creating a more sustainable future will have the opportunity to meet with several local businesspeople during the spring semester.
The campus will host the Sustainability and Innovation Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Wednesday nights in Weikamp 1001.
The lectures are free and open to the public, and will be recorded, and available for streaming online in the near future.
The events are a series of 11 lectures, given by local businessmen and women, who will explain how their companies implement sustainable practices, as well as give advice for how everyone can become more sustainable.
Mike Keen, the director of the sustainable studies program, said the theme for the lectures revolves around the question, “How do you take sustainability and put it into practice in the real world?”
Keen said that the lectures not only offer expert advice, but they also allow students to network with professionals within the sustainability community.
Keen said that the event came out of guest lectures that were given in some capstone classes for sustainability majors.
Keen realized that more people, outside of the students in the classes, could benefit from these lectures. With help from a few sponsors, the lectures have been transformed into a public event.
“We want to bring the environment, economy and society into harmony with one another,” said Keen.
He believes that being more sustainable forces businesses to not worry as much about money, and to focus more on how their operations impact the society.
This sentiment is echoed by Dan Plath, who works with environmental policy for local gas and electric company NIPSCO. Plath commented on how NIPSCO is no longer looking at business on a quarter-by-quarter basis. “Looking down five, ten, literally sixty years, we’re influencing two generations ahead of us,” Plath said. “Eight years ago, none of this existed. We’re moving towards a much more sustainable future.”
Keen hopes the take away from these lectures is that business and sustainability can go hand-in-hand, that one doesn’t need to sacrifice one for the other.
“You can make a difference while you’re making a living,” Keen said.