SIT joins effort to foster local green economy

four signersThe School for International Training (SIT) has joined with regional institutions to form an Ecovation Education and Training Consortium as part of the Brattleboro-based Ecovation Hub. Officials from the four partners in the consortium – which also includes Antioch University New England, Greenfield Community College, and Keene State College – gathered in Keene, NH, on July 20 to formally launch the initiative. The institutions plan to enhance opportunities for student training and opportunities in the green economy and sustainable development in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

As part of its contribution, “SIT hopes to bring international students and professionals to Vermont to study green energy, resilient design and sustainable agriculture,” said SIT Graduate Institute Dean Ken Williams.

Ken Williams“We hope to become even more integrated and collaborative in our projects on sustainability and resilience,” Williams said. SIT offers decades of experience in policy advocacy and international sustainable development that complement partner schools’ strengths in energy and agriculture, he noted.

The Ecovation Consortium fits well with SIT’s emphasis on green initiatives. SIT recently received a grant to install a solar array on campus. As part of the project, agriculture researcher Tatiana Schreiber of Westminster, Vermont, will plant crops around the solar panels to research use and value of solar land. The project will be linked with classes and a public lecture series with regional, national, and international speakers.

One of the first speakers in the series is KC Golden of 350.org and advisor to public officials in Washington state, who will speak on climate change and energy efficiency. Williams invited students from all of the consortium partners to SIT to hear the speakers.  

The consortium aims to offer more than classroom expertise. Its broader aim is to connect students with internship and job opportunities and benefit public and private institutions as the region further emerges as a hub of green innovation and development.

The Ecovation Hub began in 2014, in part as a response to the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont. The tri-state initiative aims to:

  • Offer instruction and credentialing for green building, products, finance, insurance, and real estate; sustainable agriculture and agroforestry; and climate-resilient communities.
  • Through the Living Laboratory, promote tourism by mapping the region’s vibrant network of resilient, sustainable, and climate-prepared communities, businesses, and organizations.
  • Through the Systems Integration and Applied Research Center, support green research and development.
  • Via Antioch University New England’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, offer capacity-building education and training programs and conduct applied research.