Detroit — (May 20, 2014) — This week, hundreds of sustainability and green building advocates from around the country will convene in Detroit for the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Mid-Year Meeting, a gathering of volunteers dedicated to transforming lives and communities through high-performance structures that advance the health and well-being of the planet and everyone who uses buildings every day to live, learn, work, heal and play.
“USGBC is at the forefront of national efforts to revitalize and renew our cities and communities, and there is no more appropriate setting for our 2014 Mid-Year Meeting than Detroit, a place brimming with opportunity for dynamic, sustainable reinvention,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Our network of passionate green building professionals and volunteers bring with them extraordinary energy, creativity and vision.”
Engagement with the Detroit community is the cornerstone of the 2014 Mid-Year Meeting. Three large-scale community sustainability project tracks will involve attendees in community-enhancing projects across the city. The projects were developed in coordination with a dozen local community organizations, tackling sustainable problem solving, completing on-site service projects and advancing green building advocacy.
Bringing a new level of innovation to the Mid-Year Meeting, two large-scale problem-solving labs will punctuate the community service agenda, including a Building Performance Workshop and a Sustainability Scrimmage. The workshop will bring Detroit community and faith-based organizations together with green building professionals to create simple step-by-step action plans to green local facilities and save money. The scrimmage will bring together eight to 10 local high-impact organizations and 80 accomplished professionals from USGBC to tackle some of Detroit’s most challenging issues within the built environment. Both events will be on Wednesday, May 21, at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.
“We are setting a new precedent for how we bring our global green building community together with our local hosts,” said Kimberly Lewis, senior vice president, community advancement, conference and events, USGBC. “As hundreds of USGBC’s dedicated professionals and volunteers descend on Detroit, we’ve incorporated sustainability projects with a dozen local organizations to establish lasting relationships between USGBC’s existing community and new partners.”
Service projects will take place in schools and neighborhoods across the city, as well as an advocacy meet-up hosted at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. The on-site projects, all taking place Wednesday, May 21, include:
Detroit Central City Community Mental Health Inc.
Project: Weed and prepare flowerbeds and garden plots, plant seedlings and label with premade signs, and build a fence to define and protect the garden.
West Village Neighborhood Association
Project: Clean and de-weed alleyways and clean and replant a neighborhood rain garden at Shipherd Greens Community Garden.
Jefferson Chalmers Community Food System Project (JCCFS)
Project: Design a blue-green infrastructure system for JCCFS greywater reuse and build garden beds for a community food system.
Detroit Public Schools Go Green Challenge
Project: Teach techniques for implementing future sustainability practices at Clippert Academy and Cody Detroit Institute of Technology College Prep High School.
Project: De-nail wood flooring that has been removed from houses slated for demolition and move and organize lumber in new warehouse space.
The USGBC Mid-Year Meeting will also feature an Opening Plenary dinner and salon discussion on Wednesday, May 21, at 7 p.m. The panel, led by USGBC board member Majora Carter of the Majora Carter Group, will focus on exploring the complexities of sustainable avenues for Detroit’s renovation and reinvention. The panel will feature a cross-section of developers, activists and entrepreneurs including Rev. Joan Ross, former Executive Director of the Greater Woodward Community Development Corporation; Phillip Cooley, co-owner of Slows Bar BQ and general contractor of Detroit-based O’Connor Development Group LLC; and Pashon Murray, Michigan-based entrepreneur and activist and founder of Detroit Dirt. USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi and USGBC Board Chairman George Bandy, director of sustainability at Interface, will also deliver remarks.
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