Showcasing sustainability

Sep 162010
Authors: Emily Johnson

The 11th Annual Sustainable Living Fair, which will take place at a new location this year, will offer something green for everyone as part of its mission to promoting sustainable living in Fort Collins.

In the hopes that attendees would dust off their bikes and hit the city’s paths, the fair’s location was moved from an open space adjacent to New Belgium’s brewery in North Fort Collins to Legacy Park, at 300 Woodlawn Drive.

Keynote-speaker presentations, exhibitions, workshops on how to use gardens more productively and on using locally-grown products, children’s activities featuring solar-baked cookies, entertainment and a meditation tent will be available all weekend.

Powered by renewable energy and using a zero-waste policy, the fair is a uniquely eco-friendly event.

“I don’t know of any similar event in the region,” said Fair Director Kristina Cash.

Cash expects about 12,000 people to attend the event, despite the economic downturn.

“We seem to have more interest this year and a larger variety of exhibitors and workshops,” Cash said. “I think there is a fairly broad demographic that is interested in sustainable living.”

Cash said she believes the event is timely and not only reflects the values of Fort Collins but also defines them. The community is full ofexpertise and interest in sustainability.

CSU’s Student Sustainability Center Director Chris Anderson said the fair’s mission echoes that of the center’s, explaining that SSC works to empower students to advance sustainability principles and practices at CSU and beyond.

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability, SoGES, is an umbrella organization for research and curricular efforts in sustainability at CSU. SoGES houses the Student Sustainability Center.

Many departments at CSU will be present at the fair including:

  • Environmental Learning Center,
  • Service Learning,
  • Soil Sciences,
  • The Colorado Water Institute,
  • The Warner College of Natural Resources,
  • The Institute for the Built Environment,
  • The Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise graduate program,
  • The Challenge Ropes Course,
  • The Engines and Energy Lab, and
  • The Interdisciplinary Studies Program in Organic Agriculture.

Anderson was picked six months ago to act as CSU’s liaison for the fair Steering Committee, tasked with on-campus marketing. It’s a good fit for him.

“I’ve been involved in sustainability initiatives since high school, where I helped start a recycling program in my district’s elementary schools,” he said.

For the last year he’s been working with people around campus and in the community to build relationships and collaborate on projects and programs to promote sustainable living.

“I’ve been especially involved in thinking about how to institutionalize sustainability at CSU,” Anderson said, “ … there’s an idea that we’re all in this together so we need to find ways for everyone to give what they can to build a sustainable future.”

He hopes to see many CSU students there and that they will be inspired by community members sharing their success stories.

“There’s a lot to do. Hopefully a little bit of motivation will get things started,” he said.

Allison Kotewicz, a sophomore mechanical engineering major and associate director for the SSC, will be attending the fair for the first time this year. She’s looking forward to seeing the best the region has to offer in one venue.

“I think the best discussions about sustainability start when everyone gets together,” Kotewicz said. “We can think a lot more holistically about our impact when locals businesses, nonprofits and even groups like our CSU Student Sustainability Center work together.”

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at

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