Dr. Hill and students

Santee Cooper Lecture to address sustainability, higher education on Feb. 8

Wofford hosts conversation between Jack Byrne, Allyn Steele

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Jack Byrne, left, director of the Sustainability Integration Office at Middlebury College, and Allyn Steele, former Wofford director of community sustainability, will discuss “Choices and Consequences: A Conversation About Change in the Sustainability Landscape at Wofford and Beyond" on Feb. 8.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Two experts will address the state of sustainability and higher education on Wednesday, Feb. 8, in the Santee Cooper Lecture Series, hosted by Wofford’s Environmental Studies Program. 

Allyn Steele, former Wofford director of community sustainability, and Jack Byrne, director of the Sustainability Integration Office at Middlebury College, will participate in the 7 p.m. program, “Choices and Consequences: A Conversation About Change in the Sustainability Landscape at Wofford and Beyond.” It will be held in the Olin Teaching Theater in the Franklin W. Olin Building on campus and is free and open to the public. It is the second in the 2011-2012 Santee Cooper Lecture Series on Sustainability and Energy Issues. 

Wofford and Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility, began the lecture series in 2009 to provide the college and the Spartanburg community with a forum for discussing timely and pressing environmental issues on energy and sustainability with leading experts from around the world. 

At Middlebury, Byrne is actively involved with the campus community to advance and support leadership in creating a more sustainable future. He is working to implement Middlebury’s strategies for becoming carbon neutral by 2016 through renewable energy, conservation, efficiency, and offsets after all other measures have been taken. Byrne is co-founder of the non-profit Foundation for Our Future at the Center for a Sustainable Future. He is a founder and was the first executive director of River Watch Network, an international non-governmental organization supporting community-based watershed conservation. A graduate of the Honors College of Kent State University, Byrne holds a B.S. in biology and a master’s degree in environmental law from the Vermont Law School. 

Byrne has been a guest speaker at Wofford previously. As part of the college’s Gold Black & Green Lecture Series in April 2009, he spoke on “Vulnerability and Resilience in Turbulent Times – in Pursuit of a Sustainable Future.” At that time, he said institutions of higher education create leaders and citizens of communities who can bring about change.

Steele was Wofford’s first staff member appointed to develop a more ecologically sustainable and carbon neutral campus. He introduced systems thinking/deep ecology models to campus operations through workshops and trainings and co-chaired the campus’ American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment task force. He was instrumental in creating partnerships among Wofford and five of the area’s other institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations, and the City and County of Spartanburg, which continue today. Steele is now pursuing a master’s in divinity at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tenn.

For more information about the Santee Cooper Lecture Series, contact John Lane, director of Wofford’s Goodall Environmental Studies Center and a professor of English and environmental studies, at 864-597-4518 or laneje@wofford.edu.