Pitt's 2nd Annual Blue, Gold, and Green Sustainability Festival April 8-9 to Include Leading 'Green' Thinkers

Issue Date: 
March 29, 2010

The University of Pittsburgh’s second annual Blue, Gold, and Green Sustainability Festival expands on last year’s showcase of Pittsburgh’s green-leaning businesses and artists to include appearances by leading thinkers in sustainability. Sponsored by the University’s Office of the Provost, the two-day festival will be held April 8 and 9 at the William Pitt Student Union and in the adjacent Schenley Quadrangle courtyard.

On April 8, the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., featuring a street fair, charity bike-building competition, sustainability panel discussion, and Heinz Distinguished Lecture. The celebration continues on April 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a focus on student-generated ideas and research, as well as a career fair for students aspiring to careers in sustainability. A full schedule and event details are available on the festival Web site at www.bluegoldandgreen.pitt.edu.

Headlining the festival is Stuart L. Hart, the Samuel C. Johnson Chair in Sustainable Global Enterprise and a professor in Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, who is a noted authority on how businesses can incorporate environmental preservation and the alleviation of abject poverty into their business models. Hart will speak in the Student Union Ballroom at 4 p.m. April 8 and appears as part of the Heinz Distinguished Lectureship, which is supported by the Heinz Endowments and cosponsored by the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. An author of six books and more than 60 papers, Hart is credited for helping to establish the concept of corporate sustainability with his 1997 Harvard Business Review article “Beyond Greening: Strategies for a Sustainable World.” He also cowrote the landmark 2002 article “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid,” which provided the first articulation of how business could profitably serve the needs of the four billion poor in the developing world. The second edition of his book Capitalism at the Crossroads (Wharton School, 2007) featured a new foreword by Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

The festival kicks off April 8 with a sustainability expo in the William Pitt Union that features local artists and food vendors, as well as expositions by companies actively reducing the human footprint. In the Union’s Kurtzman Room, Pitt student groups will host a Sustain-a-Bowl that features booths constructed from salvaged and/or recyclable materials—with no Styrofoam, duct tape, or harsh paints allowed. The Sustain-a-Bowl includes free food and prizes. In the Assembly Room, local and national companies will exhibit steps they’ve taken to work conservation into their business plans and products.

At 11 a.m., the Schenley Quadrangle becomes a street fair with handmade local crafts and local food vendors. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Quadrangle courtyard, five teams from Pitt and local companies will compete in a charity bicycle-building challenge to earn bike parts and construct a new BMX bike. After the event each team will donate its bike, a helmet, and a bike lock to five children from a local after-school program.

A discussion session titled “Sustainability at Pitt” begins at noon in the Lower Lounge of the Student Union with Pitt researchers and administrators speaking about sustainability initiatives on campus, including the perspectives of academics and research, student activities, facilities, and food service practices and goals.

The festival’s second day begins at 9 a.m. in the Student Union Ballroom with the Student Sustainability Symposium, which will spotlight student-led initiatives to implement green practices on Pitt’s campus and in the Pittsburgh region. At noon in the Ballroom, professionals with careers focused on sustainability will meet with students and discuss their work in progressing and promoting environmental stewardship.

In organizing the event, Pitt abided by the festival’s green principles, including printing posters and postcards on recycled paper with soy inks, reusing foam-poster boards from past University events, and decorating the event with Velcro banners that can be “erased” and reused.