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Elon to host 12th annual Fall Environmental Forum

"Innovations in Sustainable Furnishings: The Road Ahead" is the theme of a program co-sponsored by the university and the Sustainable Furnishings Council. The full forum runs Sept. 19-21.

Elon University and the Sustainable Furnishings Council will present the latest thinking in sustainability in a daylong program that charts the future of responsible design.

Thought leaders from the home furnishings industry and pacesetters from academia will convene Friday, Sept. 20, at Elon for "Innovations in Sustainable Furnishings: The Road Ahead.” The program is part of the university's 12th annual Fall Environmental Forum, which runs Sept. 19-21.

“We’re experiencing economic challenges and the revival of the furniture industry in North Carolina is giving us a potential opportunity for a new resilient economy,” said Associate Professor Janet MacFall, director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Elon University. “It’s only going to be resilient and powerful if we can build it as a sustainable industry.”

Programming will include a keynote from Jonathan Chapman, a professor of sustainable design at University of Brighton’s School of Art, Design & Media. Chapman’s talk, “Emotionally Durable Design,” will draw from his 2005 monograph, Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences & Empathy, which has been embraced by professional designers at leading corporations such as Sony Corp. and Samsung.

Other highlights of the event will include “Life at the Core of Furnishings,” a session led by Mitchell Gold of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Robin Wilson, of Robin Wilson Home, will discuss marketing strategies in a .1 CEU-accredited talk titled “Marketing Sustainability: The Research and the Story.” Mike Italiano, president and CEO of The Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability, will offer a tactical short-course on Thursday, Sept. 19, in Johnston Hall on assessing environmental impact in “Forest to Foyer: An Overview of Life-Cycle Analysis.”

“The planning committee has put special focus on ensuring that the day is practical and useful for all segments of the industry, with ‘news you can use’ for manufacturers, retailers, designers, students and members of the general public,” said Susan Inglis, executive director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.

Additional speakers will include: Jason Phillips, vice president and creative director, The Phillips Collection; Hilary Pope, marketing coordinator, Carolina Mattress Guild; and Mark Hord, vice president of manufacturing, EJ Victor. Plus, the International Interior Design Association will be offering information on site about its programs to support best practices for sustainability in design businesses.

“I’m hoping that professionals take away new skills and a new vision for how their industry can expand and develop,” MacFall said. "For students, I hope they take away the notion that business opportunities are out there, and that a lot of businesses are really based on sustainable principles and environmental stewardship. That’s going to be the new model for business.”

Attendees can enjoy a post-conference tour of eco-friendly homes in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Saturday, Sept. 21. The showcase will present innovative homes and building projects that embrace the principles of minimizing environmental footprints.

Registration is required for the day-long event; reserve seats for $15 at http://bit.ly/1bF8P7b.

For more information, contact Patty Rooney at prooney@elon.edu.

Eric Townsend,
Staff
9/17/2013 8:00 AM