The Vancouver School District will be hosting its first Annual Sustainability Conference on January 21st 2013. The conference will be held on a non-instructional day in order to facilitate district wide participation. The conference is designed to bring together the entire community to discuss, learn and take action toward achieving a comprehensive set of goals to advance and accelerate sustainability across our schools and district operations.
"The Sustainability Conference will provide a venue for the school district community to discuss and develop a clearer understanding on how to operationalize sustainability in our schools," says Kirthi Roberts, VSB's Manager of Sustainability & Climate Action.
The keynote address will be delivered by Prof. John Robinson, who was recently named the '2012 Canadian Environmental Scientist of the Year' by Canadian Geographic. Robinson has received numerous awards for his contributions to advancing Sustainability both nationally and internationally and is also responsible for building North America's greenest building (CIRS) at the University of British Columbia.
What is truly innovative about this conference is that we are uniting the various stakeholders across VSB to not only learn about sustainability, but to create an action plan that will set the VSB on track to becoming a leader in sustainability," says Tesicca Truong a recent graduate and the student chairperson for the conference.
Dr. Vanessa Timmer, also a well acclaimed Sustainability Professional will speak about 'Systems Thinking' and its relevance to Sustainability and Prof. Simon Donner from UBC will speak on how to integrate Sustainability in our lives and in our schools.
"While the morning session is focused on learning from prominent experts on sustainability, in the afternoon, led by experienced facilitators, the conference delegates will be given an opportunity to work in groups to discuss and develop a plan of action for mobilizing sustainability in schools and in business operations," says Roberts.
The Networking Luncheon will provide an opportunity for schools to showcase their sustainability efforts and successes and the catering for the conference will be provided through one of our own culinary arts programs. Another important feature of the conference is the Sustainability Art produced by students of Emily Carr University of Art + Design - especially designed for the VSB Conference.
In order to manage overall conference expenses and due to space limitations the conference organizers are hoping to keep the total attendance under 400 delegates. Each secondary school can send a delegation of 10-12 students and staff, and elementary schools will also be able to send a smaller delegation and there will be some space allocated for students and staff from neighbouring school districts. Trustees, Senior Management, other Department Managers, School Administrators and Building Operators, will be invited in addition to students and teaching staff.
More details on how to register for the conference will be available soon including a dedicated conference website.