FORWARD Symposium

FORWARD Symposium: Enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous Louisiana for all.

By Alejandra Guzman

Click aqui para español->FORWARD Symposium

The economic and social success of our community is dependent upon how well we can create balance and promote sustainable practices in the business and public sectors, education, and society in general. To achieve this, we must rely on a foundation of awareness and education on the matter.

Organizations around the world, such as U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), are taking a leading role in these efforts. This organization with an international footprint promotes a movement of community leaders, professionals, businesses and innovators working to accomplish healthy, efficient communities, and to develop equitable buildings.

I have the honor of serving as a board member for the USGBC Louisiana chapter. Our group´s mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous Louisiana for all.

One of our signature programs is the FORWARD Symposium and for the past three years it has focused on engaging a diverse community of forward thinking leaders who will be key to moving the state towards a more resilient future.

The event is open to USGBC member and non-member business professionals, environmentalists, architects, educators, nonprofit leaders, economic developers, and students. Participants will be able to collaborate and explore what is happening across the state in the subject of sustainability. Among some of the preferred topics for this year will include coastal restoration, LEED for cities, equity as a growth strategy, and healthy communities. Another highlight of the program includes the Women in Sustainability Empower (WISE) Breakfast, which is designed to engage the audience in a robust discussion with prominent female leaders in the field of green building, urban development, community revitalization, and equity and inclusion.

During the symposium participants will also learn about the USGBC Louisiana Green Schools Initiative. This includes a yearly competition in which we encourage schools to undertake a green project to make their school and communities a healthier place to live, learn, and grow. Our objective with this initiative is to bring awareness and educate our youth on the benefits of green building and environmental stewardship by participating in hands-on experimental projects.

During our 2017-2018 cycle, we were able to reach 7,400+ people in 21 parishes and 91 schools across Louisiana. We are excited to continue this work and trust that our programs will help inspire people across our state to act by enabling an environmentally, socially responsible, healthy and prosperous Louisiana for all. To find out more about the FORWARD Symposium visit https://usgbclouisiana.site-ym.com/

 Until next time!

The 3rd Annual FORWARD Symposium will take place on Friday, October 19, 2018 at the Tulane University Lavin-Bernick Center.

Alejandra Guzman

Writer/Escritora 

Economic Development/Desarrollo Economico

@aleguzman

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Publisher's Note

Mixing Traditions

It is no cliché. New Orleans has a wonderful mix of traditions that add to the charm of this amazing city. With the holidays in full-swing, we can enjoy holiday-centered, free events like simple walks around traditional neighborhoods to see the elaborate Christmas decorations, Caroling in Jackson Square, attending the gospel and jazz concerts at St. Louis Cathedral and St. Augustine Church, watching the technological light display during Luna Fête, and visiting the beautifully decorated hotel lobbies in town, among others.

 There is one tradition in Louisiana that is so unique and that I hope to experience this year: The Bonfires on the Levee. Just thinking about seeing the pyres, the fireworks display and its reflection on the river during a cold night and having a warm drink while learning about this tradition from our River Parishes' neighbors sounds like an amazing way to soak in some of the culture around us.

Though the original purpose of the bonfires is unconfirmed, fitting the storyline of Papa Noel following the lights on a pirogue being pulled down river by alligators to deliver presents is such a tale. It involves a mix of many elements that are unique to the culture that has shaped the city of New Orleans.

I just love being able to experience different traditions and learning about the ways diverse groups of people who have made New Orleans their home, celebrate the holidays

Happy Holidays!