Last weekend, UR’s first Sustainable Energy Symposium was held in Hubbell Auditorium in Hutchison Hall. Over 100 students and faculty were in attendance.

The symposium featured several speakers, including a keynote address by Chair of the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University Joseph Tainter. Tainter is an anthropologist and historian who studies ancient civilizations and their collapse in correlation to energy economics. The introductory address was delivered by President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Paul Tonko. Tonko is nationally known as an expert on energy and utility issues.

One of the most important aspects of the symposium was the creation of the University of Rochester Virtual Institute for Energy (URVIE), which co-sponsored the symposium. URVIE was created by a group of Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year scholars. Among these students were Kenneth Lotito, Mario Dal Col and Patrick McLaughlin, who organized the symposium.

URVIE’s mission statement says, “The supply of affordable, secure and sustainable energy is arguably the greatest scientific and technical problem facing humanity. We believe the University of Rochester is endowed with the ability to address this challenge.”

URVIE is sponsoring another Sustainability Lecture on April 17 featuring University of California Berkeley Professor Steven Chu. The talk is called “The Energy Problem and What We Can Do About It.”

Schneier is a member of the class of 2011.

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