Can you tell us about the last GreenSummit. I heard it was your
brainchild. How did it come about?
Who were the sponsors?
I am currently an undergraduate senior getting a degree at Arizona
State University in the School of
Global Studies, a new
multidisciplinary program, and also
in Political Science.
In my studies I closely follow international trends to try and
understand how globalization affects
The idea for GreenSummit was spurred by a trip to Costa Rica with a
friend back in January this year.
While we were out in the countryside
on vacation we came across a small
village, and in this village were
some small huts. In the huts they
were using the latest generation
compact fluorescent lightbulbs
instead of the standard
I was completely stunned because most Americans had never even heard of
these new bulbs. The people in the
huts were using them because it made
sense for them financially in the
long run. They were not college
educated, but they knew that this
small choice, with a higher upfront
cost, would eventually reduce their
bills, and if everyone did it the
environment they treasured would
benefit. If the people in this small
village got this message, why
I came back to the U.S. determined to help educate fellow students and
community citizens about what
“green” choices we could make that
would benefit us financially,
socially, and most importantly
I knew we needed to take the vast knowledge academia was producing and
help get it to the public. I felt
like the speed at which this was
happening was too slow and
scattered. People couldn’t see how
every choice we make as consumers
and producers affects not only us
but other citizens around the world.
I saw the idea of “going green” as a way to unify people around a
simple but very powerful guide to
help move us towards living more
I knew that this idea of green touched on almost every industry. I
figured an expo with a diverse range
of exhibitors would be the most
efficient and fun way to get people
to see the enormous opportunities of
I approached some ASU staff and faculty I respected and asked them if
it was possible to bring perhaps
four or five companies/organizations
to talk about the benefits of going
green and showcase their products
It was also a way for students to get potentially recruited to
ASU helped point me in the right
direction. I started working on the
event in early February. I recruited
a few students to help out with
contacting exhibitors. I got a lot
of help from the Global Institute of
Sustainability in figuring out the
internal ASU logistics.
It snowballed from there. PBS, NPR, local news television, Phoenix
Business Journal and Wrangler News
covered the event. I was blown away.
The success helped me realize that
what was just a student project (we
made no money) could potentially be
a career for me and fellow
I wanted to help progressive organizations spread their positive
message based around going green and
help connect the general public to
green products and services that
would move us towards a more
Plus, my mom said I’d better find a job when I get out of college, so I
figured why not help foster the
creation of whole new industries.
Going green isn’t going away, so one
of these companies might be my
ASU Global Institute of Sustainability, ASU Edson Student Entrepreneur
Initiative, Mastermind Marketing,
SRP and HDR.
How much money did you raise?
None. Not for profit first year. Now I have formed an LLC under the
How many businesses participated?
A mixture of 55-plus companies, advocacy groups and select university
How many people from the public?
What was the main message from the summit?
Going green provides innovative new ways of thinking that will push
society towards a more sustainable
world and create vast new
Did it turn out to be what you had hoped for?
Beyond any expectations.
We hear that you’re busy planning a new Summit. What can we expect this
time around? How will it be
We are about three weeks from launching a new website for the 2008
GreenSummit at ASU. At this year’s
Summit, which will be held April
11-12 at ASU, we expect 150
exhibitors and hopefully 15,000
Going green is everywhere now in the media. People are hungry for
solutions that will make their lives
healthier, less costly and lighter
on the environment.
We will have over 10 different pavilions covering everything from
organic food to green chemistry,
transportation technology, green
building, sustainable consumer
products and many other exciting
What was the community's response to
the GreenSummit last year? Do you
think you might have changed some
people's opinions about conservation
and the environment?
I truly believe I accomplished my original mission of helping get
fellow students and the community
more interested in going green.
Personally, I have a number of friends who have steered their education
towards sustainability because they
can now sense the vast economic
opportunities in the emerging “green
The concept of sustainability will be embedded in every industry within
the next few years. Learning more
about this now will make people and
companies much more competitive.
They will not be blind to how the
environment affects almost
everything we do.
These people will have a renewed faith in conservation because we don’t
have any other choice. This becomes
more evident as global warming and
ecological breaking points become
Do you feel there is some opposition to these ideas still? What role
does GreenSummit play in challenging
people's thinking about the
We are on the cusp of a massive shift towards embracing sustainability
in the mainstream. The majority of
Fortune 500 companies will have
sustainability reports within the
next few years. The idea of going
green is not political, it is just
People that do not get it will severely unprepared for the future.
GreenSummit will help reinforce this
You mentioned that some companies from the Kyrene Corridor will become
more involved? How did your recruit
these companies, and how are they
interested in helping?
We are currently talking with numerous companies, but I’ll mention
Bonded Logic and AZ Performance
Bonded Logic is one of the best green building insulation options in
the country. They use recycled denim
(jeans, etc.) instead of the
AZ Performance Biodiesel is a great company that recycles restaurant
grease and transforms it into fuel.
I randomly bumped into both
companies. We will have scouts
starting to find exhibitors within a
few weeks. We are always on the
lookout for other businesses and
organization involved with
sustainability and providing green
products and services.
Anyone who is interested should register as soon as the website
launches. Spaces will fill up
This kind of large scale planning and recruiting usually happens in
large organizations and govenments.
Have you attracted any job offers?
If the spring event at ASU goes
well, we hope to go national by fall
of next year. We want to have
numerous events every year going on.
It is our desire to be the
number-one solution for people to
find innovative sustainable
Our next expansion will most likely be on the East Coast at another
major university. It is our hope
that we hold the GreenSummit every
year at ASU.
I think Arizona is a wonderful place, but it is continually growing so
it is imperative we make the right
decisions today so we are prepared
for tomorrow. Fortunately with going
green we have everything to gain and
nothing to lose.