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Catawba Center's Sustainable Communities Leadership Institute Begins

September 08, 2006

Category: Environmental Science


The Catawba College Center for the Environment will launch its Sustainable Communities Leadership Institute in October to advance sustainability in the state and the region.

The institute is a program designed to educate and equip current and emerging leaders in the state to become effective change agents on issues spawned by rapid growth. Its purpose is to create a network of leaders and community action groups capable of transforming communities in sustainable ways.

Sustainability is defined as “living so that the current generation meets its needs without compromising future generations' ability to meet their needs.”

A strong component of the institute will include instruction in intensive collaborative community leadership. This approach provides leaders with tools and techniques for bringing diverse stakeholders together to focus on the vision they have for their communities. David Chrislip, co-author of Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference and co-founder of the Denver Community Leadership Forum, will work closely with the center staff to design the leadership sessions.

Catawba students will have opportunities through institute workshops and conferences to learn from thought leaders and leaders in the state who confront sustainability issues on a daily basis.

2006-2007 – Institute's Planning Year
The institute will hold a three-day retreat in October for the first participants, who will include the Advisory Council, select leaders from North Carolina and select student leaders from Catawba College. During this retreat, participants will explore the environmental challenges the state faces and the driving forces behind them. They will also learn about how leaders in successful communities are addressing these challenges in sustainable ways. 

Two follow-up sessions are scheduled during the fall. They will, among other things, explore the lessons learned from successful civic leadership development programs and define the workshops and forums for the spring of 2007.

The general public will be able to join institute participants in four mini-conferences and a Sustainability Fair during the spring.

Advisory Board
A number of state and regional leaders, who share the Center's goals of transforming the region toward sustainability, have agreed to serve as advisors to the Institute:

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  • Katy Ansardi, Executive Director, Sustainable NC
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  • Philip Blumenthal, President, Blumenthal Foundation
  • ;
  • Bill Holman, Executive Director, NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund
  • ;
  • Edward Norvell, Legal Counsel, Conservation Trust for North Carolina
  • ;
  • Dyke Messinger, President, Power Curbers, Inc.
  • ;
  • Linda Rimer, N.C. and S.C. Liaison, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • ;
  • Larry Shirley, Director, NC Office of Energy
  • ;
  • Wanda Urbanska, President, Simple Living TV Network
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In addition, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and the Alcoa Foundation have committed substantial funds to the enterprise.

For more information, individuals may email centerforenv@catawba.edu or call (704) 637-4295.