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GreenTown: The future of Community, an event hosted by the city of Valparaiso, will come to Valparaiso University on Sept. 27-28. The conference, which will attract hundreds of people from the public and private sector from all around Indiana and the Midwest, is designed to create healthy, sustainable communities.

“Vibrant and visionary — that’s Valparaiso,” said Jon Costas, Mayor of Valparaiso. “Increasingly, we are working more closely with partners in the community to foster a sense of cooperation; we need each other to make our communities stronger for generations to come. And by hosting GreenTown in Valparaiso on the campus of Valparaiso University, we are making a case for a stronger future.”

According to Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler, Valparaiso is an excellent choice to host GreenTown because of the cooperative spirit between the University and the city. The University, he said, is driving toward the goal of a sustainable campus, by making buildings energy efficient, developing a car-sharing program, and building a solar furnace, making Valparaiso University the only U.S. undergraduate institution in the U.S. with one. “We are working on ideas and solutions — big and small — and, as we learn, the next generation is, too. That will make them leaders in the future,” Heckler says. “And it will make Valparaiso a community people want to live and work in.”

Co-produced by a5 and Seven Generations Ahead, GreenTown has been a catalyst for sustainability around the Midwest since 2007, with events held in communities such as Chicago, Oak Park, Elgin, Aurora and Lake County in Illinois; Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Terre Haute, Indiana. In addition to connecting the dots between government and the private sector, GreenTown fosters community sustainability planning and implementation.

Keynote speakers for GreenTown Valparaiso include:
* Richard Jackson, professor and chair of environmental health sciences at UCLA, is a physician, author, and advocate for healthy, sustainable communities. Jackson’s recent book, Designing Healthy Communities, and his public television program of the same name argue that the built environment has a huge impact on human health — and that the trend has made us less healthy over the past three decades.
* Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy, will talk about the importance of historic preservation in communities. He is a former director with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The complete GreenTown Valparaiso agenda will be posted by August 1. Sessions will cover:
* Green economy
* Sustainability planning and implementation
* Local food, healthy living
* Clean water
* Complete streets
* Green infrastructure
* Energy
“¦and more.

Pre-conference workshops will take place in the afternoon on Thursday, Sept. 27, and include:
* Towns & Gowns: How Towns and Higher Education Collaborate to Develop Healthy, Sustainable Communities.
Led by the Indiana Green Campus Network, this workshop will bring together leaders from colleges and universities around the state of Indiana.

* Making Sustainable Midwestern Landscapes
Led by the Midwest Ecological Landscape Alliance, this workshop will teach participants how to create healthy landscapes for people and planet and profit.

* The Natural Step: Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future
Led by Mike Keen, Professor of Sociology, Director of the Center for a Sustainable Future, Indiana University South Bend, this workshop utilizes the Natural Step framework to drive sustainability.

In addition to the city of Valparaiso and Valparaiso University, GreenTown is supported by: Valparaiso Economic Development Corporation (VEDC),ӬPorter County Economic Development Alliance (PCEDA), Northwestern Indiana Regional ҬPlanning Commission/MPO (NIRPC) and Indiana Dunes Tourism.

Sponsors include Andrews LeFevre Studios, Cardno JFNew,ӬConservation Design Forum,ӬDavey Tree Expert Company,ӬElara Engineering,ӬPizzo & Associates, Ltd., Recycled Granite and Unilock.

Sponsorships and exhibitor slots are available through Charles Colley at ccolley@a5inc.com.

To learn more or to register, go to www.greentownconference.com.

About Valparaiso University
Valparaiso University is a comprehensive independent Lutheran university with more than 4,000 students on its campus located in Northwest Indiana, an hour from Chicago. Valpo is a community of purpose-driven, service-minded and ethical individuals who embrace the pursuit of truth with freedom, humility and compassion. Valpo has been identified as one of the top master’s-level institutions in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report magazine for the past 22 years. Valparaiso University offers 110 undergraduate academic programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering and Nursing. Valpo also has a distinguished honors college, a School of Law and more than 40 degree and certificate programs in its Graduate School and Continuing Education Division. Valpo has been recognized for its commitment to outstanding teaching, preparing thoughtful leaders with strong cross-cultural skills and global awareness, and dedication to serving others.