Second annual CSU System Water in the West Symposium highlights cross-sector solutions — @ColoradoStateU #CSUWaterInTheWest

Poster artwork from the second annual CSU Water in the West Symposium.

From Colorado State University (Tiana Nelson):

After a bomb cyclone postponed the 2019 Water in the West Symposium, the sold-out crowd convened today at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center to discuss solutions to a broad range of water-related challenges.

The Symposium, a preliminary program offering of the Colorado State University System campus at the future National Western Center, drew more than 375 people from across sectors — from water management to conservation to agriculture — to hear from 26 expert speakers from across the country.

“Water issues are very difficult, but we’re confronting a very serious issue here. The work you do here today will impact not just this great state, region, and country – it will inform what happens in the rest of the U.S. and globally,” said Tom Vilsack, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and special advisor to the CSU System.

Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market and founder of Stonewall Robb Advisors, was the event’s keynote speaker and largely focused on food trends, including the increasing consumer desire for sustainably sourced food. Data show that millennials lead the way in making sustainable buying choices, but overall consumer behavior indicates roughly one-quarter of consumers will purchase a product based on sustainability.

“Sustainability – however you define it – is increasingly a measure of success, and will continue to be,” Robb said. “The customer is driving this revolution.”

While about 80 percent of food currently comes from 12 plants and five animals, the future of food will be more diverse, more delicious, and more sustainable, Robb said.

“We’re seeing nothing short of a revolution in today’s food value chain… how do we continue to innovate across the supply chain?”

Symposium panels focused on solutions, with topics across finance, recreation and the environment, food, beverage, and agriculture, and data and technology.

In early 2020, the CSU System will break ground on three buildings as part of the National Western Center campus near the intersection of interstates 25 and 70, a 250-acre redevelopment project at and around the current National Western Stock Show facilities.

The CSU spaces will be open to the public for experiential education, as well as a convening space for world-class researchers to collaborate on solutions to global issues around food, water, and human and animal health.

The inaugural Water in the West Symposium was held in 2018, and showcases CSU System’s plans to convene the greatest minds around the most pressing challenges of today; similar programs and events will be hosted within the future CSU Campus at the National Western Center when the location opens in 2022.

“If there is one overarching goal that I have for this Symposium, it’s that it will make a difference,” said Dr. Tony Frank, chancellor of the CSU System. “CSU has long been an expert in water issues, and the CSU Campus at the National Western Center will place these conversations on an even larger stage.”

“The University has a responsibility to use its resources and position as a land-grant institution to take the lead in convening conversations and efforts around these important global issues.”

Colorado State University Campus at the National Western Center

Colorado State University has made a long-term commitment to the future National Western Center and its surrounding communities in north Denver.

The CSU Campus at the National Western Center will focus on research and educational programming in the areas of food, water, sustainability, and human and animal health within its three buildings: the CSU Water Building, CSU Animal Health Complex, and CSU Center for Food and Agriculture. What’s inside the buildings will bring together the brightest minds, inspire the next generation, and address global challenges.

The University is currently working to engage with the community and to partner with local schools, nonprofits, and businesses to create impactful research, collaboration, and year-round programming to this unique project.

For additional information, visit http://nwc.colostate.edu.

It was an informative and thought-provoking program. Good speakers and I loved the focus on solutions. Click here to view the hash tag #CSUWaterInTheWest (click on the “Latest” tab). It was a pretty good Twitter fest yesterday.

@ColoradoStateU Water in the West Symposium #csuwaterinthewest

I’m at the Water in the West Symposium. Hash tag: #csuwaterinthewest or follow on my Twitter feed @CoyoteGulch.

CSU Water in the West Symposium poised to address challenges, showcase solutions — @CSUDenverCenter

Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Tiana Nelson):

Colorado State University will host its second annual Water in the West Symposium on March 13-14, 2019, at Gaylord Rockies, to convene diverse experts and thought leaders to highlight solutions and collaborate on one of the greatest global issues: water.

The https://source.colostate.edu/water-in-the-west-symposium-creates-foundation-for-work-in-water/ in 2018 sold out with 35 speakers from across the country and more than 400 diverse water stakeholders, ranging from recreation and environment to business and agriculture.

“Colorado State University is in the perfect position to act as a convener around the issue of water,” said former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, an advisor to CSU on the National Western Center project in north Denver. “As we focus on solutions and problem-solving around water issues at this event, we want everyone at the table to be part of this critical conversation for an issue that impacts everyone, regardless of where they live.”

The Symposium is an initial offering of the CSU Water Building, one of the three buildings that make up the future CSU Campus at the National Western Center. The new CSU Campus is scheduled to break ground in 2020 and open in 2021, and will also include an animal health building and a center focused on food and agriculture. Each of the CSU buildings will provide collaborative research and incubation spaces, and interactive and family-friendly educational opportunities focused largely on the themes of health, environment, energy, water, and food.

“CSU has long been an expert in water issues, and the CSU Campus at the National Western Center will place these conversations on an even larger stage,” said Dr. Tony Frank, chancellor of the CSU System and president of CSU in Fort Collins. “The University has a responsibility to use its resources and position as a land-grant institution to take the lead in convening conversations and efforts around these important global issues.”

The 2019 Water in the West Symposium will feature more than 35 speakers, including Gary Knell, National Geographic Partners; Claudia Ringler, International Food Policy Research Institute; Mark Cackler, World Bank; and Rick Cables, Vail Resorts. A full list of speakers, additional event information, and registration is available at http://nwc.colostate.edu/water-in-the-west-2019.

Webinar: Is water reuse on the rise? — @WaterEdCO

Click here for all the inside skinny. Register here.

@ColoradoStateU Water Sustainability Fellows team up with Denver students to raise water awareness in communities of color

From Colorado State University (Cyrus Martin):

The National Western Center Youth Water Project, now in its second year, is an eight-week internship program created by CSU’s Colorado Water Institute to foster collaboration between high school and University students around water conservation, education, and policy. The program is designed to inspire underrepresented youth to engage and inform their peers about water-related issues and resources.

Eight students are participating in this year’s program — four high school students from the Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea neighborhoods in north Denver, and four CSU students participating in CSU’s Water Sustainability Fellows program. The 2018 cohort identifies as the 5280 Youth Water Project.

The student interns have been able to attend a number of conferences and events, including CSU’s inaugural Water in the West Symposium. The internship’s primary objective, however, is to plan and deliver Colorado’s first Youth Water Expo, which will be held in Argo Park on Saturday, August 4, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

Organizations supporting the event include the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center, Denver Water, Metro Wastewater, the Gateway II fund of The Denver Foundation, Hunter Industries, CH2M Jacobs, the Walton Family Foundation, and Groundwork Denver. The Expo will be included as part of the lineup for the fifth annual Denver Days, a week-long event created by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Aliyah Fard, 18, graduated from Colorado Academy in June and supports the group’s outreach and event planning efforts. Recently, she received an acceptance letter from Whitman College in Washington, where she plans to major in environmental science.

“I’ve really been enjoying the actual event planning and pulling everything together — reaching out in the community,” said Fard. “I think [people] should attend because we’re going to have a lot of valuable information. And it’s also going to be fun!”

Fard is particularly interested in water rights, and is debating whether to pursue a career in water law or politics after college.

Hugo Lezama, 22, is a senior at CSU, majoring in civil engineering. His second year participating in CSU’s Water Sustainability Fellows program, Lezama went outside his “comfort zone” by taking the lead on the project’s marketing efforts — teaching himself Adobe Photoshop and developing the group’s social media presence.

“All of the activities we’re going to put on are made specifically for the people in the Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea communities,” said Lezama, noting that his neighbors “don’t think about simple things like watering their lawns at certain times, or how to use their water effectively.”

The Expo will deliver various water-related resources and activities to north Denver residents and provide context around the National Western Center redevelopment project taking place in their neighborhoods over the coming years. The expansion will include a building focused on water education and community engagement.

“I’ve been focused on getting my work done and haven’t really taken a step back to see how important this really is. It’s kind of a big deal!” Lezama said.

Post-college, Lezama intends to pursue a Masters degree to equip himself for an engineering career, with a focus on water.

“At some point, if I have enough money — which is why I want to get my Masters — I want to start my own foundation and start funding those kids [in the Latino community],” said Lezama. The foundation he envisions would provide internships, scholarships, networking opportunities, mentoring, and “everything you need to be successful.”

Following the Expo, the 5280 Youth Water Project team hopes to create a Youth Water Advisory Board to encourage more youth to get involved in water conversations. The group aims to have participation from at least 10 youth from communities of color, with a 50-50 mix of male and female members. The Advisory Board would host monthly meetings to explore opportunities to bring water education and advocacy to other underrepresented youth in Colorado and beyond.

@CSUWaterCenter goes on the road — @ColoradoStateU

Colorado’s diverse landscape has a rich natural and agricultural heritage that fuels the economy. Photo: Michael Menefee

Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Jenny Frank):

The Colorado State University System is conducting monthly listening tours to gather ideas from people around the state about the type of educational programming they would like to see at the future National Western Center (NWC).

“CSU is committed to serving all of Colorado through the National Western Center project, and these listening tours are a first step toward understanding how best to do that,” said Jocelyn Hittle, CSU’s director of Denver program development and a participant in the tours.

The tours are a brainchild of Christie Vilsack, a lifelong educator and the former first lady of Iowa, who, along with her husband and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, joined CSU in April 2017 as special advisors for the NWC.

Christie Vilsack recognizes the importance of not only providing updates to communities around the state, but also listening to ideas and insights to create a space that reflects the needs and wants of Colorado residents.

Kathay Rennels, associate vice president for Engagement at CSU, sees the tours as a way to ensure the future NWC is as much a part of Colorado as the National Western Stock Show has been for the last 112 years.

“The input and ideas from all across the state are important,” Rennels said. “All citizens of Colorado need to see themselves at the NWC and the NWC needs to reflect all of Colorado.”

Building collaboration for the future

Many Colorado communities are already doing great work around water, energy, food systems, the environment, and health – CSU’s five themes at the NWC. And, as Vilsack often points out during the tour’s community meetings, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

“As we travel to communities around the state, our CSU team is learning about the wealth of STEM-Ag related programming that local communities have developed for their students,” she said.

“I look forward to partnering with schools, organizations, and communities around the state as CSU develops K-12 programming for the water building, the animal and equine health center and the CSU food systems center.”

Hittle agrees.

“We want to hear from educators, our Extension and Engagement staff, elected officials and leaders, and others who work in community and economic development to best understand how the NWC can showcase the excellent work that is happening statewide, and to connect communities across the state to the various types of resources that the NWC will be uniquely suited to provide,” she said.

Creating statewide understanding

The tours also provide the opportunity for CSU to share its vision for the National Western Center beyond the Denver metro area, where it is most well-known. Darlene Carpio, regional director for U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, helped organize stops in Yuma County and expressed her appreciation for the tour.

“The listening tour provided valuable information and connections on the expansion of the National Western project,” said Carpio. “The effort to include the rural portions of Colorado in the conversation was greatly appreciated and will prove to be positive to the entire state moving forward.”

Colorado communities visited to-date include Fort Morgan, Sterling, Yuma, Wray, Burlington, Lamar, La Junta, Rocky Ford, Castle Rock, Lone Tree, Steamboat Springs, Rifle, Grand Junction, Montrose, Gunnison, Greeley, Center, Alamosa, Pueblo, Eagle, Keystone, Frisco, and Lake City; and more tours are planned for the fall.

The CSU team notes that the experience of connecting with constituents around Colorado has been important to the process of creating a well-rounded project and understanding the topics that matter to different communities – but they admit it hasn’t been all work.

“Traveling the state to introduce the current plan and vision has been so much fun,” said Rennels.