Epicenter 2012

In the Epicenter

From growing mushrooms in coffee grounds to cutting clutter without filling up landfills, speakers will offer an environmental twist on entrepreneurship at a student sustainability conference planned at JCCC this month.

“Epicenter 2012” runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, in the Regnier Center. “We hope the students will take away another way of thinking about sustainability,” said Kim Criner, JCCC sustainability education and engagement coordinator, who’s organizing the event.

This is the second year the JCCC Center for Sustainability and Student Sustainability Committee have teamed up to offer the event, which drew about 150 attendees in 2011.

Last year’s participants asked for more time to talk to each other, Criner said, so this year’s speakers will present their material for 15 to 20 minutes at the start of each 35-minute session, with round table discussions of the topic to follow. In addition, campus case studies, which give students a chance to share projects happening on their campus, will close the day.

The conference is offered at no charge to high school and college students. Registration is required. The deadline for registration is Thursday, Oct. 18.

Among the speakers at the event are:

  • Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, co-founders, Back to the Roots. The University of California, Berkley, grads founded Back to the Roots, a 100 percent sustainable urban mushroom farm that transforms coffee ground waste into the growing medium for gourmet mushrooms.
  • Michael Foust, executive chef, The Farmhouse, a restaurant in Kansas City, Mo. Faust’s restaurant is a farm-to-table restaurant, using locally grown meat and produce.
  • Jessica Haberstock, president, KU chapter, Engineers Without Borders. Engineers Without Borders partners with communities worldwide to improve quality of life through environmentally and economically sustainable engineer projects. The KU chapter has been working with a community in Azacilo, Boliva, to develop solar composting latrines for each family.
  • Sarah Carpenter, owner/operator, The Clutter Maven. Carpenter, a JCCC graduate with associate’s degrees in interior design and interior entrepreneurship, has created a niche business helping people organize their homes and keeping their unwanted clutter out of landfills.
  • Jennifer Gunby, project manager and civil engineer, GBA Architects + Engineers. Gunby leads the firm’s Energy Studio, which provides energy audits, comprehensive energy studies, renewable energy feasibility studies, LEED certification and turnkey renewable energy projects.

The conference includes lunch, which will be locally sourced, including produce from the JCCC campus farm. The conference concludes with tours of sustainability projects at JCCC.