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Kansas State University

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K-State SustainabilityExperts will talk about how institutions of higher education in Kansas can partner to build a new sustainability network for the state at the 2010 Sustainability Conference at K-State Jan. 29-30.

The conference's goal is to host discussions with higher education leaders, students, faculty and staff throughout Kansas about how to increase collaborations and build on each others' strengths in sustainability, according to Ben Champion, director of sustainability at K-State. He said a conference priority will be discussing how the higher education community in Kansas can cooperate more effectively toward serving statewide sustainability needs.

The conference's keynote speaker is Debra Rowe, president of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development. Rowe will present "Kansas: Creating National Models for Statewide Sustainability Networks" at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in Banquet Rooms C and D at the Alumni Center, and "Education and Action for a Sustainable Future" at 8 a.m. Jan. 30 in Forum Hall of the K-State Student Union.

In addition, Karl Brooks, the newly named regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency's Region 7, will lead a program on environmental issues, policy and law.

"Though Kansas has plentiful renewable energy in the form of wind, biomass and solar resources, there is no concerted statewide higher education strategy for research, education and advocacy about how to use these resources in environmentally, socially and economically responsible ways," Champion said. "Brooks will delve into the changing landscape of energy policy and decision-making in Kansas, in addition to discussing the ways in which higher education can be involved in responsibly shaping our state’s energy future."

The conference also will feature a variety of panel sessions, poster presentations and more by experts on topics including climate science, sustainable communities and facilities and education in sustainability.

Presentations Friday, Jan. 29, will be at the K-State Alumni Center, and events Saturday, Jan. 30, will be at the K-State Student Union.

The U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development includes individuals, organizations and institutions in the nation dedicated to education for sustainable development. It acts as a convener, catalyst and communicator working across all sectors of American society.

Champion said the conference is geared toward university students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni, extension agents, leaders in education, commerce, government and nonprofit entities, as well as the general public.

More information on the conference, including a schedule of events, conference fees and registration information, is available at

The first K-State Sustainability Conference, in January 2009, recently received the Great Plains University Continuing Education Association's Outstanding Noncredit Program Award.