SIT launches public Sustainability Speaker Series

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BRATTLEBORO — School for International Training will launch its 2017-18 Sustainability Speaker Series with several public events this month, including free lectures on the SIT campus by well-known sustainability advocates including Tony Hillery of Harlem Grown, 350.org Board Chairman KC Golden, environmental anthropologist and researcher Tatiana Schrieber, and others.

The series is part of SIT's ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability and education. It is funded in part by a $100,000 grant SIT received earlier this year from Windham Regional Commission to install a campus-based solar energy system, an outgrowth of SIT's 2014 climate action plan, which aims to make the campus greener and more energy efficient. The grant also supports SIT's efforts to expand community outreach and enhance curriculum at SIT Graduate Institute.

In July, SIT joined a coalition of regional colleges to support a new "Ecovation Hub" aimed at bringing jobs, investment and visitors to the area in the wake of the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. SIT, Greenfield Community College, Antioch University New England and Keene State College have pledged to provide education, training and support for efforts to enhance environmentally friendly industries and expertise.

This month, SIT Graduate Institute launched two new MA degrees related to environmental sustainability: one in Climate Change and Global Sustainability and another in Global Leadership and Social Innovation.

The SIT Sustainability Speaker Series starts on Thursday, Oct. 19, with two afternoon talks: Food and Farms for Progressive Social Action and Shade Crops under Solar Arrays in Vermont.

Following is the full schedule of events for October. The speaker series will continue in spring 2018.

- Thursday, Oct. 19

Food and Farms for Progressive Social Action, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., at the SIT campus. Speakers include Tony Hillery, founder and executive director, Harlem Grown; Abrah Dresdale, coordinator, Farm & Food Systems, GCC/Franklin Jail; Tom Grasso, Environmental Defense Fund.

Shade Crops under Solar Arrays in Vermont, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the SIT campus. Speakers will be Morgan Casella, project manager, Dynamic Organics; Tatiana Schreiber, Environmental Studies, Keene State College

- Thursday, Oct. 26

Climate Change and Social Action, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., at the SIT campus. Speaker will be KC Golden, senior policy advisor, Climate Solutions.

- Friday, Oct. 27

Secret of the Seasons Climate Co-Opera, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden in Brattleboro. Speakers include KC Golden, senior policy advisor, Climate Solutions; and John Ungerleider, a professor at SIT. The SOS co-opera is a reflective, participatory musical journey that engages the audience with the challenges that global climate change is bringing to our lives. Audience dialogue and thought-provoking songs are designed to move participants from fear and denial to hope and action in response to the threat of global warming. Sliding scale admission from $8 to $20 benefits Strolling of the Heifers' year-round community initiatives. Tickets available at the River Garden from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays noon to 4 p.m.

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