On Sat., Sept. 7, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) hosted the fifth annual Green Living Expo DC. The volunteer organization, Green Living DC, and the Expo grew out of the D.C. Office of Planning’s Neighborhood Sustainability Indicators Project, a 2009 pilot program that helped shape Mayor Vincent Gray’s citywide Sustainable DC initiative. Green Living DC is the primary community organizer of the event, in partnership with UDC’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES), and with the continued support of the D.C. Office of Planning.
Nearly 50 exhibitors were on hand to help attendees discover why DC is steadily becoming a model sustainable city. Energy-saving devices, green roofs, locally grown food, urban forests and permeable surfaces, were just a few of the featured topics. Visitors consulted with environmental experts while enjoying demonstrations, live music and local food. The event also included panel discussions and eco-tours of the Van Ness campus to highlight sustainability initiatives.
Remarks delivered by Michael Rogers, UDC’s Vice President of University Advancement, CAUSES Dean Sabine O’Hara, Ward 3 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Mary Beth Ray and DC Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh, all stressed the importance of working together to make the District a green and livable city.
Councilwoman Cheh, who in the spirit of the day biked to the event, spoke about the various sustainability initiatives under way in the District, and especially in Ward 3. Cheh has long been a champion of green living, and most especially of the important connection between locally grown food and public health.
“The exhibits, the tours, the panels that you see here at this Green Living Expo speak to our future – a bright future, a healthy future, a prosperous future,” stated Michael Rogers as he greeted participants. “We know that such a future can only come about when we recognize that sustainability is not something we do once in a while; green living is a way of life.”
ANC Commissioner Mary Beth Ray identified several opportunities for partnership between UDC CAUSES and Van Ness/Forest Hills neighborhood, including partnering with the College to find sustainable solutions to some of the community’s infrastructure needs, tree preservation and economic development challenges.
The University of the District of Columbia is making strides in its own sustainability standards. With the parking deck/plaza as the largest green roof structure in the District of Columbia, UDC was the perfect setting to host the Expo. The University is also constructing a student center adhering to platinum LEEDS certification standards. Other exemplary projects include a rooftop food garden and a greenhouse. In 2012, the University debuted a state-of-the-art environmental testing laboratory that is expected to acquire EPA certification later this year.