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Changing regulations and the prospect of fewer federal dollars mean wastewater treatment and solid waste management are critical concerns for today’s city planners, commercial developers, elected officials and facilities operators nationwide. That’s why the University of Idaho’s President’s Sustainability Symposium is focusing on “Community Stewardship For Economic Benefits: Wastewater Treatment and Waste Management” on March 19-20.

Registration is now open for the two-day event, for which the University of Idaho is partnering with North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene and the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls to host the symposium on their campuses.

“Our goal is for people to leave the conference with new ideas and names of people to call for more information,” said Priscilla Salant, event organizer and director of the University of Idaho’s Office of Community Partnerships. “We want to connect communities with the resources that will help them make informed decisions.”
The symposium will be offered both in Coeur d’Alene and Twin Falls, which will be connected by video-conference. Participants can attend at either location, which allows for high quality presentations and networking opportunities for people across the state.
The main portion of the conference will occur on Wednesday, March 20 and is designed for local and state decision makers responsible for managing infrastructure and services. Attendees will explore upcoming wastewater treatment and solid-waste management trends, high- and low-tech solutions and financing options.
The program includes speakers from public agencies, private engineering firms, communities and universities. They will review the changing environment for solid waste management and wastewater treatment, evaluate alternative funding strategies, describe new technologies, and showcase community innovations.
Presenters will include Sid Fredrickson, wastewater superintendent from Coeur d’Alene, Rachele Klein, business development manager at Republic Services, David Eberle, BSU Environmental Finance Center, and representatives from USDA Rural Development and the Idaho Departments of Commerce and Environmental Quality, among others.
A lunchtime panel will focus on workforce issues. Todd Schwarz, state administrator at Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Education, will moderate a discussion with University of Idaho President M. Duane Nellis, North Idaho College President Joe Dunlap and College of Southern Idaho Vice President Jeff Fox.
In addition to the March 20 event, the symposium includes a half-day program, “Careers That Make a Difference,” for college students on Tuesday, March 19. Students from throughout Idaho will learn about community sustainability from a public works director and a private business development specialist.
They will also learn about public and private sector job opportunities, options to continue their education and internships. Career services staff from the two colleges will share the what, why, and how of networking, and offer students an opportunity to mingle with professionals from private firms, nonprofits and government agencies. Free lunch and assorted snacks will be provided throughout the event.

The event is free for students from any university or community college and $75 for all other attendees. Online registration is required by Friday, March 8 at www.uidaho.edu/sustainabilitysymposium.
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Both days will include high-energy, fast-paced presentations using the popular Ignite format (5 minutes, 20 slides). Presenters will showcase innovations from across Idaho.

As a signature University of Idaho event, the President’s Sustainability Symposium addresses critical issues related to Idaho’s economy and environment. This is the fifth symposium and the first to focus on municipal and county infrastructure and services. Previous events have explored sustainability issues such as energy, climate, health and green building.

“Community Stewardship for Economic Benefits” is sponsored by the University of Idaho’s Office of Community Partnerships, Sustainability Center, College of Engineering, Environmental Science and the Water Resources Program. Additional sponsors include the Idaho National Laboratory and Idaho Rural Partnership. For a complete program schedule and other information, visit www.uidaho.edu/sustainabilitysymposium.
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