Dr. David Orr, an environmentalist who helped launch the green campus movement and is leading a community-university partnership to improve his college town’s environmental sustainability, will speak at Longwood University during Earth Month.

Orr will speak Thursday, April 2, at 7 p.m. in Jarman Auditorium on "What Can We Do Together: Community and University Working Together Sustainably."

Orr is executive director of the Oberlin Project, a joint effort by the city of Oberlin [Ohio], Oberlin College and private and institutional partners to revitalize that community’s economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a sustainable base for economic and community development.

"Dr. Orr is a titan in the fields of community renewal, sustainable communities and environmental education," said Dr. Joseph Baust, program developer for Longwood’s Center of Excellence for Environmental Education. "He inspires people to become involved in their communities."

Orr is counselor to the president at Oberlin College, where he was the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics from 2002-14. He is the author of seven books, including Down to the Wire: Confronting ClimateCollapse, and co-editor of three others, and the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees.

In 1996 Orr organized the effort to design the first substantially green building on a U.S. college campus, Oberlin’s Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, which purifies all of its wastewater and is the first U.S. college building powered entirely by sunlight. The U.S. Department of Energy named it "one of 30 milestone buildings of the 20th century."

"Dr. Orr’s message is that communities need all of their citizens working together for the greater good, not unlike how U.S. immigrants historically created enclaves of people who supported one another to make a more hospitable environment," said Baust. "He lives and breathes the Oberlin Project, which is an excellent example of town-gown cooperation and is not only socially beneficial but economically sound.

Orr’s talk is sponsored by the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the President.

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