JCCC to offer line-up of sustainability-minded speakers

From debt ceilings to farm fields, Johnson County Community College is taking a look at sustainability issues in its upcoming, four-part speaker series.

Sustainability will be the theme in a lecture series that runs every Tuesday from Sept. 13 to Oct. 4. The lectures will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Auditorium of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park.

The topic of sustainability fits nicely with JCCC’s long term goals, said Phil Wegman, program director for the work force community and economic development branch at the school’s community services division.

“One of the strategic initiatives of the college is to champion environmental sustainability through the curriculum, through infrastructure by transforming the physical campus into a living lab. It’s a perfect place for the community college to be,” Wegman said.

In the past, the series, which mainly attracts students, retirees and other none-working folks, has focused on issues such as retirement or investments. But sustainability is something that people have grown increasingly interested in, Wegman said.

“Our goal in community services is to meet the learning needs of our community. And, an area they want to learn about, want to know about is how can they be more efficient and how can they conserve resources,” Wegman said.

And at JCCC, sustainability covers energy conservation, the economy, climate issues, depleting water resources and leaving behind a smaller carbon footprint.

Speakers in the series include:

  • Sept. 13: Chris Kuehl, the cofounder and managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, will speak about economic sustainability. In particular, Kuehl will focus on how the debt ceiling debate will affect the economy now and in the future.
  • Sept. 20: Mike Ryan, who is the college’s campus farm and community outreach manager, will talk about the school’s 2.5-acre vegetable farm and its role in building a sustainable agriculture program.
  • Sept. 27: Bill Helming, executive director of Bill Helming Consulting Services in Olathe, is an agriculture economist who will provide a long range forecast of agriculture production in the region.
  • Oct. 4: Kristin Riott, executive director of Bridging the Gap, will share tips on how to save money, be healthier and help the environment by going green.

The lectures are free and opened to the public, but registration is required. To register call the JCCC continuing education office at 913-469-2323. Or enroll online. Click on the find a class link and search for “speaker”.

By Christine Metz

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