Conference set to discuss building sustainable campus

by Student Writer Anna Brown

The Shoals is taking steps toward a more economic and ecological community by hosting a sustainability conference Sept. 25 in the GUC at 11 a.m.

“The conference is designed to provide an opportunity for the university community and the community-at-large to engage in collaborative discussion of sustainable practices which will enhance human, environment, and economic relationships in more responsible ways,” said Brenda Webb, department chair of physics and earth science.

The main goal of the conference is to acquaint the university and members of the community with issues facing the area’s future regarding the economy, the environment and its social systems, according to the UNA website.

“It is a movement that is occurring across the nation, and in a lot of ways our area around here seems to have not been a part of it,” said Mark Puckett, professor of earth science.

The conference will provide a stage for the community to discuss these issues and join forces to make the Shoals community more sustainable.

“Individual faculty members have been doing some work in some aspect of sustainability but didn’t have a platform to share that information,” Puckett said. “That’s another thing that we want to do – get together and find out what each other are doing and find out ways that we can collaborate in the future.”

Members of the Department of Physics and Earth Science have been eager to get the conference going, Webb said.

“The core planning committee members include Dr. Mark Puckett, who has worked tirelessly, Dr. Melissa Driskell, and me,” she said. “Other members of the department will be engaged in the behind the scenes work during the conference.”

Sophomore Drake Vaccaro said he is looking forward to the conference.

“I think the conference will be really good for this area. The community’s closeness will help us work together toward sustainability,” he said.

Junior Meridith Ginn said she is excited to learn more about sustainability.

“I do not know much about sustainability but did hear about the conference from a friend. I’ll most likely go to the conference to learn.”

The digital download of the conference brochure is also available at