Despite the snow covered morning, over 500 attendees joined together at the David L. Lawrence Convention center to learn and share ideas surrounding sustainable innovations at Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Sustainability EXPOsed. Duquesne University and the MBA Sustainability program served as a platinum sponsor for the event, which allowed our cohort to present posters featuring research throughout breaks in the day. Poster topics ranged from utilizing gamification principles for engagement to transforming waste into profit.
The agenda included TED-talk style presentations followed by break out salon conversations that allowed for intimate discussions with presenters. The presenters included local innovators John Buckley, managing director of Corporate Social Responsibility at BNY Mellon; Candi Castleberry-Singleton, chief inclusion and diversity officer at UPMC; and Donald Carter, director of the Remaking Cityies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Other presenters traveled from around the country including Projjal Dutta, director of sustainability initiatives at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York; and Jerry Tinianow, chief sustainability officer at the Officer of the Mayer Michael B. Hancock City and County of Denver. Various other organizations were represented as exhibitors, and we were able to network with them throughout the day.
Paul Hawken closed out the day as our keynote speaker. He is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist and author. He has played a significant role in changing the relationship between business and the environment through leadership as sustainability thought leader. One classmate, Nick, reflected that Hawken’s “optimism is refreshing and enlightening. He reframes pertinent issues in a way that encourages his audience to embrace the challenges they face presently and in the future”.
I hate to admit that often, as students, we are so caught up in our classes and education that we forget about the world outside the walls of Duquesne. Sustainability EXPOsed allowed us to see the professionals in the region that are interred in the same problems and innovative sustainable solutions that we focus on in the classroom. Personally, I left feeling energized after meeting so many professionals that are passionate about the same topics that I value.