GW Hosts 2015 GreenGov Symposium on Federal Government Sustainability

June 10 event will examine strategies and challenges of sustainability efforts in the next decade.

June 08, 2015

By Brittney Dunkins

The George Washington University will host top minds in government, business, sustainability and research June 10 for the 2015 GreenGov Symposium.

The conference is a strategizing session to fulfill the mandate outlined in March by President Barack Obama in Executive Order 13693, “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.”

In the directive, President Obama calls for strict benchmarking to create a cleaner, greener future for federal government operations reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing water and energy efficiency, among other aims.

According to GW Executive Director of the Sustainability Collaborative Kathleen Merrigan, meeting those goals requires research and collaboration between the public and private sectors.

“GW hosted the first GreenGov symposium in 2010, and it’s fitting that the symposium returns to the Foggy Bottom Campus,” Dr. Merrigan said.

“As a university, we are at the nexus of sustainability-focused academic learning, research and policy-building, and now we will provide a home for policy discussions of meaningful solutions to pressing sustainability problems,” she added.  

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) cohosts the event, which will be held at the Jack Morton Auditorium. A live stream of the event will be aired 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the GreenGov Symposium website.

Members of the public and attendees are also encouraged to submit questions and comments to speakers via Twitter using #greengov.

Dr. Merrigan said it is the first of three symposiums to be held at GW in the next year on greening the federal government. The partnership also will prompt research and a series of case studies on the development and progress of green strategies.

GreenGov was founded in 2009 through an executive order signed by President Obama. Since its launch, federal agencies have adopted green policies and projects, including a 7-megawatt solar power system at the U.S. General Services Administration’s Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colo.

The most recent GreenGov symposium was held in 2012.

The 2015 conference will feature a high-profile roster of speakers including keynoters Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Secretary of the U.S. Navy Ray Mabus, and General Services Administration Administrator Denise Roth.

Speakers will address issues such as clean energy, water waste management, sustainable supply chain practices such as sourcing food and other resources, and energy-efficient building construction, operations and federal fleet vehicles.

In addition to discussing green strategies, the conference will embrace sustainable practices offering a catered lunch prepared by D.C. Central Kitchen, a regional nonprofit organization that works to reduce hunger and trains unemployed adults for culinary careers.

Attendees also will receive TapIt water bottles from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, D.C. Water and regional water utility companies. The partners are partnering with metro area businesses to provide free tap water.  Participating TapIt locations can be accessed via smartphone app and online.

“This conference is an opportunity to showcase GW’s sustainability expertise. GW faculty and students will be on stage, alongside federal and private sector sustainability leaders.  Dr. Merrigan said. “To borrow [School of Media and Public Affairs Director] Frank Sesno’s apt phrase, on June 10, we will be engaged in important discussions about how to ‘move the planet forward’”