2011 Community Involvement Training Conference
- About the 2011 training conference
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 12th Community Involvement Training Conference was held July 19-21, 2011, at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. This dynamic conference brought together more than 400 people from EPA and its federal, state, tribal, and local partners who plan and implement environmental community involvement, partnership, stewardship, outreach, and education programs.
The theme for the 2011 conference was, "Community Involvement in the 21st Century: Embracing Diversity, Expanding Engagement, Utilizing Technology." Through this theme, we not only showcased community involvement as it is, but how it is evolving, and what steps must be taken to expand its effectiveness through both existing and new technologies and techniques. We accomplished this by focusing on three key areas — Embracing Diversity, Expanding Engagement and Utilizing Technology — to expand and improve EPA's efforts to educate, communicate, engage, and partner, in an open and transparent manner, with those who are impacted by environmental issues and concerns.
- Other Community Involvement Training Conferences
The U.S. EPA Community Involvement Training Conference has been held annually from 1997-2007 in various locations throughout the United States. As of 2007, the conference moved to a biennial cycle. The conference provides professional training and a venue for discussing topics of interest for federal, tribal, state, and local agency staff who plan and implement environmental community involvement and public communication, education and stewardship programs. Attendees have had an opportunity to learn from and share experiences with each other as well as hear and learn from other stakeholders involved in such programs through:
- classroom-style training
- case studies
- panel sessions
- group discussions
- information sharing
- interactive exercises
- field trips
- networking opportunities
- poster and multimedia presentations
The conference also provided a platform for all parties to discuss successes, obstacles and lessons learned, as well as an opportunity to cultivate cross-program/cross-agency relationships.
The conference booklet summarized conference activities and events and included an abstract for all conference sessions (90-minute information and training sessions of 3-, 4-, and 7-hours). In keeping with our Green Meeting goals, we did not print and distribute copies of the conference booklet. Rather, the booklet was distributed via email and posted as a downloadable file.
Presentations & Exhibits
Poster presentations on a specific project or activity were displayed during the first two-and-a-half days of the conference and highlighted during an evening Networking Reception on Tuesday. During this session, poster presenters interacted with participants to answer questions and provide additional information about the project or activity they presented. The posters were displayed on large panels in the Grand Ballroom, where plenary sessions were held.
Awards were presented to the two best poster displays. Best Overall Award was selected by a panel of conference organizers. The People's Choice Award went to the poster that received the most votes from conference participants. Poster Award winners were announced during the Thursday plenary session, and the award recipients were honored with a prize.
Best Overall Award
The Best Overall Award was presented to Wilmarie Rivera of the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board for her poster, Munitions Awareness Education Campaign for Children on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico.
People's Choice Award
The People's Choice Award was presented to Carolyn Hunter, Tetra Tech EM, Inc for the poster, Can You Hear Me Now? Transparent Communication at Work in an Emergency Response.
Unmanned tabletops or free-standing exhibits that presented community involvement programs, organizational information, or examples of outreach, education and other community involvement products were displayed in the Grand Ballroom foyer throughout the conference.
Green Meeting Policy
EPA Green Meetings and Conferences Policy, May 1, 2007
The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. We expect that all Agency meetings and conferences will be staged using as many environmentally preferable measures as possible. Environmentally preferable means products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.
The U.S. EPA was committed to minimizing the environmental impact of the 2011 Community Involvement Training Conference. With this goal in mind, we:
- Reduced the use of paper by disseminating information via the conference web site, offered an on-line registration system, and reduced or eliminated copies of presentation materials for conference sessions
- Printed conference materials on recycled paper, using vegetable-based inks
- Ensured that all conference materials contained recycled content
- Collected and recycled paper and beverage containers used at the conference
- Offered vegetarian meals
- Worked in partnership with the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel to reduce energy and water consumption
- Promoted public or shared transportation for travel between the hotel and the airport
- Considered additional actions to reduce the environmental impact of the conference
As in past years, the planning committee did lots of things to help make the Community Involvement Training Conference more earth-friendly, and we recruited attendees' help to make the twelfth conference one of the greenest ever.
Developed on a former brownfields site that was completely remediated during construction, the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel was designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's™ Silver LEED certification in five green design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. The hotel achieved this distinction in time for the July 2011 conference.
If you stayed at the hotel, you should have noticed many green features, such as:
- Optional linen service
- Recycling and waste reduction of glass, cans, paper, plastics, and reusable dishware and utensils
- Recycled paper
- Bio-based materials
- Water conservation, low-flow showers and toilets
- Energy conservation
- Paperless, Styrofoam-free breaks
- Vegetative roof over the conference center, which aided in filtering rainwater runoff and reduced heat gain
The hotel is located near public transportation and provides shuttle services to and from National Airport and the Crystal City Metro station. Local participants also could take the Metro to the Reagan National Airport station and catch the hotel shuttle from there.
Instead of providing participants with totebags, we offered a "totebag exchange." We invited attendees to bring an extra totebag to exchange with others. This also provided an opportunity for conference attendees to give away bags they have accumulated from other conferences they have attended.
At the Conference We...
- Provided recycling containers and encouraged attendees to recycle newspapers, cans and glass, including those from their guest room, in marked containers in the conference area. Any recyclable items placed on the food service trays located throughout the conference area were also recycled behind the scenes.
- Encouraged registrants to participate in the hotel's water, energy, and detergent conservation efforts by following the instructions posted in guest rooms.
- Reduced the use of paper by limiting conference handouts at registration and encouraging presenters to limit handouts and used folders or handouts printed on high post-consumer recycled content paper using vegetable-based ink.
Thanks to the hotel for providing reusable utensils and dishes for breaks and for adopting other "green" programs.
Laura Knudsen, 2011 EPA Conference Chairperson
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (5204P)
Washington, DC 20460
Community Involvement Conference Coordinator
Environmental Management Support
8601 Georgia Avenue, Suite 500
Silver Spring, MD 20910
If you have any questions or comments about this website, please contact the Conference Coordinators.