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Sustainability Leadership Initiative for High School Students to Begin at Oberlin

July 17, 2014

James Helmsworth

This month marks the inaugural Foresight and Leadership Sustainability Initiative (FLSI@Oberlin), a program dedicated to fostering leadership around environmental issues in high school age students that takes place on Oberlin's campus. The program, which runs from July 20 to August 2, will see students exploring sustainability from a multi-issue perspective, covering energy and climate, food, natural resources, and, land use, as well as the economic and social, environmental dimensions of sustainability.

FLSI@Oberlin will bring 18 teenagers from across the world to Oberlin. Students will take classes on sustainability and visit green facilities throughout the region including Ohio City Farm, one of the nation's largest urban farms, and Trail Magic, a solar-powered home in Oberlin with energy-generating features that allow it to give power back to the grid. While at Oberlin, students will stay in Robert Kahn Hall, a LEED Silver residence hall, and study in Adam Joseph Lewis Center, named the most important green building constructed in the last thirty years by Architect Magazine.

The program, which prioritizes interactions with "real world" practitioners will find students meeting with sustainability leaders from across the region, including Ted Howard of the Democracy Collaborative and Evergreen Cooperatives, Jim Rokakis ’77, Director of the Thriving Communities Institute at the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, and Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Special Assistant to the President of Environmental Studies David W. Orr. They will also hear from a number of Oberlin staff members tasked with developing and maintaining the school's environmental and sustainability initiatives, including Assistant Vice President of Energy Management and Sustainability Meghan Riesterer. "Working with students, whether it's high school or college, is one of my favorite things," says Riesterer. "Students have incredible ideas and they ask really great questions."

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