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Hope Wanted: From Rust to Sustainability

Featuring: Ilona Ballreich, Branden Born, Eric Ewell, Dan Fernandez, Aaron Whigham

May 7, 10:00 am – 11:30 am CT

This webinar is part of the free #2020 EPIC-Network Webinar Series. As part of the transition from an in-person conference to a free, and online, event series, this webinar is open for anyone to attend. After the event ends, its recording will be posted to this page until June 30, 2020.

The “Hope Wanted: From Rust to Sustainability” webinar was recorded on May 7, 2020 at 10:0 AM CT.

Webinar Description

The majority of municipalities and communities in the world are rural. Medium cities to large urban hubs are few in number in comparison. Facing rusting infrastructure, divestment, and out-migration, communities across the globe are looking for answers to sustain livability. This session provides a scenario workshop for participants to brainstorm effective strategies for working in communities with minimal resources.

Representatives from Pennsylvania State University, CSU Monterey Bay, and the University of Washington will highlight three different cases in which they are poised to begin EPIC-N partnerships, but with questions about how to move forward in municipalities and communities faced with hardships. This session was planned before COVID-19 began its global spread, and now feels even more relevant.

After the case stories are presented, and drawing on the experience of those in the webinar, participants will work in teams and reflect on how to assess community readiness for engagement (key indicators or hallmarks to look for), promising points of departure (where to begin), successful community strategies, partnering with other colleges and universities in the same community (sharing the work), and setting realistic expectations. Participants are encouraged to bring their own context to the table for advice from the room. The session goal is for participants to leave feeling better prepared to employ the EPIC Model with communities that have experienced significant economic decline.

Resources and Recording from the Webinar

The #2020EPICN Free Webinar Series ended June 30, 2020. Free access to the event’s recordings and resources is now available only to EPIC-N Members. Membership is now FREE to assist in the global response and recovery to COVID-19. Sign up today to gain access to the recordings and resources from this event and all of the other benefits associated with EPIC-N Membership*.

*Read about the benefits and non-financial terms of membership.

Presenter Bios

Ilona Ballreich is the program manager of the Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC), a program of the Sustainability Institute at Penn State. Ilona works closely with faculty, students, and community partners to ensure meaningful, experiential student projects focused on the sustainability needs of the community. The SCC facilitates over 50 projects in primarily rural and small urban communities annually. Ilona brings two decades of experience in community development to her position, including as executive director of a non-profit arts organization. She developed festivals and venues, authored newsletters, and conceived and edited a book about central Pennsylvania.  She is trained in community development strategies and active in numerous community organizations. She holds a degree in industrial technology and architecture and is currently enrolled in the community and economic development masters of professional studies degree program at Penn State.

Branden Born is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington, where he has been on the faculty since 2003. He received his master’s degree and Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin. He studies planning process and regional governance using the food system as a lens for analysis. His interests include questions of democracy in societal decision-making and the role of the state and planning in a neoliberal context. His interests bridge the theory-practice divide, and he works to include praxis considerations in his teaching and research activities. Professor Born helped found the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Regional Food Policy Council, and served on that council for eight years; he also helped establish the Washington State Food System Roundtable and sat on that through the development of a statewide food system 25-year prospectus. He has collaborated with researchers, community members, and local governments on several healthy community initiatives in Seattle and King County, Washington. He is a co-author of the American Planning Association’s Planning Advisory Service Report on Planning for Community and Regional Food Systems and has written articles addressing food systems planning theory and practice that have appeared in refereed journals including Journal of Planning Education and Research, Journal of Applied Food Systems and Community Development, Journal of Urbanism, and Urban Geography. He is the Co-Director of the University of Washington’s Livable City Year, a program that engages communities and classes across the university in yearlong city-selected projects.

Eric L. Ewell, a native of the City of Duquesne since the age of four, grew up playing football and attending the Duquesne Education Center from K-12 and graduated in the 1997. After graduation, Eric attended Youngstown State University where he and high school sweetheart, Sonia married and graduated. Then the Ewells moved home to pursue post graduate employment. Shortly after coming back to Duquesne, Eric began work as a management trainee at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. After leaving Enterprise Eric had a strong desire to make a difference for young people who were growing up in Greater Pittsburgh and wanted to have his work intersect with his ministry and passion. Since coming to this conclusion, Eric has had many amazing opportunities to do just that. Eric has worked with youth and adults helping to enrich their lives and produce better outcomes for all. Eric currently serves as the Director of Continuing Education and Co-Facilitator of the Mon Valley Launchbox for Penn State GA.

Daniel Fernandez received all of his degrees in Electrical Engineering, with his BSEE from Purdue University in 1987, his MSEE from Stanford in 1988 and his Ph. D. from Stanford in 1993. He has been a professor at CSUMB for 24 years. While at CSUMB, he has served 3 years as Chair of the Academic Senate, 6 years as Chair of the Division of Science and Environmental Policy, and 3 years as Chair of the Senate Curriculum Committee Council. He teaches physics and classes in sustainability, systems thinking, infrastructure, and capstone for Environmental Studies students. He also ran, for 9 years, a yearly conference on sustainability entitled Focus On Community And University Sustainability (FOCUS) and has brought many speakers to CSUMB, including Dr. David Orr and Dr. Fritjof Capra. He coordinated the Environmental Studies program and developed and currently manages the Sustainable City Year Program at CSUMB, which partners the needs of regional governing bodies with relevant class projects. He also served on the steering committee of the California Higher Education Sustainability Committee (CHESC). His research involves collection of water from fog and he has deployed and maintains, with help from student assistants, a network of standard fog collecting devices from central to northern California. He was the recipient of the President’s Medal for outstanding service to the university in 2012 and was named a CSUMB Faculty Sustainability Champion in 2018.

Aaron Whigham is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Penn State University Greater Allegheny (PSUGA) and founder of the Mon Valley Launchbox. He is a proven pillar in both the campus and local community working to create access points to resources and forging relationships for government and community stakeholders. Aaron’s “win-win-win” approach to leadership has proven to be extremely successful and rewarding to all parties involved. Over Aaron’s eight-year career at PSUGA, he has led several campus-wide efforts and teams in change and efficiency initiatives that have yielded higher retention and degree conferral rates. Aaron lends his strategic leadership and business acumen to current and aspiring entrepreneurs through the Mon Valley Launchbox, a business incubator that strives to cultivate a solvent ecosystem within the Mon Valley. Aaron has provided local aspiring entrepreneurs with high-level fortune 500 strategies and tactics to help them navigate industry challenges.

More about the #2020 EPIC-Network Webinar Series

Usually only paying EPIC-N Members can attend and review recordings of the EPIC-N Webinars. This event is different. Until June 30, anyone can engage in this contact! After June 30, recordings are posted to the EPIC-N Member Commons, a password protected space for member programs to access the full range of resources EPIC-N provides. Details about membership can be found here.

View the list of all of the #2020 EPIC-Network Webinar Series events here.


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