The UofL Green Careers Speaker Series offers opportunities for students to connect to community sustainable initiatives and learn about available green jobs. Rooted in such models as the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference, which brings leaders together and seeks to build a Green Infrastructure Model, this speakers’ series strives to present opportunities across an array of professions, including highly popular ones such as business, engineering and law.

Students thus can gravitate toward this event to find future professions not discussed in their typical course of study or majors. President Obama has pledged $60 billion dollars to the creation of the green industry yet has not defined what form such jobs would take; this event hopefully can clarify some of the ambiguity surrounding this future economic sector. 

Two speakers provided wonderful insights in the fall 2010 offerings. Ben Evans, co-organizer of Bluegrass Bioneers, kicked-off our speaker series during Sustainability Week. Evans stressed that one may have to personalize sustainability to find a suitable career. Equipped with diverse talents, Evans discussed his experiences discovering his environmental vocation despite seemingly unrelated previous career paths. Look for Evans’ movie Your Environmental Road Trip (YERT) to come out soon.

Maria Koetter, the second speaker, focused on business-oriented insights and shared her experiences trying to persuade companies to adopt more eco-friendly practices. As the founder and President of Bgreen2, LLC, Koetter provided an overview of the growing field of green business. Her information and experience were especially applicable to business students who do not wish to follow the business-as-usual model.

Save these dates in spring 2011: Jan. 20, Feb. 17 and March 24. Speakers include an environmental lawyer, a sustainable architect and other professionals. The Green Careers Fair will take place in conjunction with Community Engagement Showcase. Beyond opportunities for networking and learning about green careers, this event offers opportunities for community outreach and revitalizing student interest in sustainability initiatives. This event thus plays a dual role of education as well as advocacy for eco-friendly work in the community.  

Our goal is to get the word out about the speakers series and Green Careers Fair to as many people on campus as possible. If you have suggestions of speakers or participants, please let us know. We hope see strong student, faculty and staff turnout in the spring and to expand these efforts in coming years. We are working with the Sustainability Council and other campus organizations to coordinate and develop this event. Feel free to e-mail Akash Gupta  or Joe Lacasse for more information or with suggestions.