Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Students help Fort Worth go green

It’s one thing to tell people to embrace sustainability, but Abby Schlipmann wants to give them the tools to actually do it.

A grad student in Environmental Science, she was one of the 12 TCU students who studied at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute last summer. The program is an intense three-week workshop that examines a variety of environmental issues including what Europeans are doing to lower their individual and nation’s carbon footprints.

They also began planning how to take what they learned back to TCU and Fort Worth. Now six members of the group have organized Urban Futures, a symposium bringing together a myriad of environmental experts to discuss ‘green’ issues in the local community. The Urban Futures: Utilizing Green Technologies symposium will be held on Thursday, April 9 from 4 - 7:30 p.m. at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.

“We decided we wanted to showcase what Fort Worth is doing and what Fort Worth has to offer,” Schlipmann said. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from students, but mostly we’ve heard from a lot of businesses who are contacting us to participate and show off their products.”

The symposium will include local exhibitors from all sectors of ‘green’ technologies, including energy, ‘green’ design, environmental consulting and agriculture.

Following an introduction from Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief, LEED-certified architect Peter Pfeiffer of Bailey and Pfeiffer Architecture Firm in Austin, TX will end the event with a keynote speech titled, Mainstreaming Green – Real, Relevant, and “Do-able” Green Building in an Urban Setting.

“Ninety percent of the most effective green building strategies you can employ are those that are implemented at the very start of the project design process,” said Pfeiffer. “Real green building is more about smart design decision than about the expensive techniques that you tack on.”

Tickets are $35 per person. TCU students with valid ID are admitted free. Admission includes complimentary valet parking and an assortment of hors d'oeuvres. For more information and to make online reservations visit the Urban Futures Web site,

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