Free sustainability conference to be held at Stillwater Community Center

Expert speakers and sustainable features of the Oklahoma State University campus will be among the highlights of the “Finding Center” sustainability conference, which is set for Friday, April, 11, at the Stillwater Community Center.

OSU President Burns Hargis will offer opening remarks. Keynote speakers include Martha Schwartz, Pliny Fisk and Mark Simmons. Schwartz is a landscape architect and artist with major interests in cities, communities and the urban landscape. She heads firms in Cambridge, Massachusetts and London. Fisk, a fellow in sustainable urbanism and health system design at Texas A&M, is co-founder of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, the oldest sustainable design, planning, nonprofit firm in the U.S. Simmons directs the consulting and research programs at the Wildflower Center, University of Texas at Austin, where he conducts environmental studies focusing on urban green space, restoring the ecological health of landscapes and sustainable design. Stillwater Mayor John Bartley will offer closing comments.

The conference will include breakout sessions on different areas of the industry and sustainability as well as two tours. One tour, emphasizing the sustainability features on campus, will be conducted by the OSU Office of Sustainability. Architect Rand Elliott will lead a tour showcasing the sustainable ideas that were included in the renovation of the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art’s Postal Plaza Gallery. His company is responsible for the design of the gallery at 8th and Husband in Stillwater.

The conference will also feature the second annual chair design competition, a contest to create a chair from recycled or upcycled materials. Awards will be given for best overall design, best recycled materials design and best craftsmanship. Winning entries will be chosen by popular vote. A $20 entry fee must be submitted to 358 Agricultural Hall by April 4. For more information, go to www.findingcenterconference.org/chair-design-compeition.

The Finding Center Festival will feature live music and a lunch catered from local food trucks at noon. 

The conference is free to all attendees, but online registration is requested by April 11. Go to www.findingcenterconference.org and click on the registration link. 

OSU students, who are members of the American Society of Landscape Architects, will host the conference, which is funded with help from the Green Initiative Grant, Oklahoma State Student Government Association and the OSU Administration.