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Green Summit puts emphasis on sustainability

April 16, 2007

When Chris Samila went to Costa Rica recently on a quick trip to see the Arenal Volcano, he noticed that many homes in Costa Rica used compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

Instantly, a light went on in his head.

“In the middle of the jungle, they're using CFLs. Why not here?” he asked himself.

Samila, a senior in ASU's School of Global Studies, also began to realize that he and his generation would be the ones most affected by the depletion of the world's resources.

He also had a conviction that “green” businesses could make money, while at the same time protecting the environment – but they also would need green-minded customers.

“I really did not realize the global scope of the issue until I began studying here,” Samila says. “The school also opened my eyes to the global economic potential of making America a strong leader in sustainable technology.

“I see Arizona being a hub for at least the solar aspects of sustainable technologies, if not biotechnology and other emerging industries. To make this happen, we need a strong coalition of consumers, producers and government leaders.”

All of those thoughts coalesced, with help from the School of Global Studies Student Association and other organizations, to produce the Green Summit, a one-day sustainability event that will take place on the Tempe campus from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., April 19.

All of the activities will be centered in a large tent on the Student Services Lawn. There will be two components to the summit: a showcase of products and designs, and a career fair. Representatives of various companies and agencies will speak throughout the summit at designated places in the Memorial Union.

More than 40 exhibitors will show green building products and materials, consumer products for the home and office, and architecture and planning firms will exhibit sustainable designs and highlight the building process for a green building.

City and state government representatives will be on hand to showcase their sustainability projects and initiatives. The city of Tempe, for example, will feature its transportation center, which will open in 2008 with sustainable elements, such as a living roof.

The career fair will allow students and other job-seekers to learn about companies that are using green products and focusing on sustainability, and that have job and internship opportunities available.

Major sponsors of the summit are ASU's Entrepreneur Advantage Projects, an initiative of University as Entrepreneur, which received funding from the Kauffman Foundation; Salt River Project; and architectural firm HDR.

Samila hopes the summit will send out one major message: that there is great economic potential for green industries, in Arizona and the larger world, and that educated consumers will make the difference.

He's hoping that 15,000 people will pass through the tent and will carry with them a renewed excitement about the possibility of a sustainable future.

The Green Summit is conducted by the School of Global Studies Student Association, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Global Institute of Sustainability.

It's tucked right in the middle of “Pass the Passion: A Month of Sustainability Awareness,” sponsored by RAD Recycling (Ready Aware Devoted Recycling) a student organization led by Terra Ganem.

Ganem is a sophomore majoring in nonprofit leadership and management in the College of Public Programs .

For more information about the Green Summit, visit the Web site

For information about “Pass the Passion,” go online to