Among those speaking included Advisory Committee Chair Jim Troxel of Millennia Consulting, LLC, The Field Museum's Mario Longoni, and Aaron Joseph, the Deputy Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago.
Aaron said that sustainability is a priority for the city and his office. He added that the Chicago had won the Business Civic Leadership Committee's national Sustainable Community Award in the large city category the same week as the meeting.
Chicago's government is putting its support behind the AC77 project. "We're really looking for ways to reach out to the community and tap into what the communities are doing and elevate that up so others can see what the communities are doing at the very local level," Aaron said. "That's what I think is so important about this project and why Karen [Weigert, the Chief Sustainability Officer for Chicago] and the mayor are very interested in seeing Accelerate 77 succeed."
Mario spoke about the Field Museum's Environment, Culture, and Conservation (ECCo) program, which is also identifying community sustainability work in the city and looking for ways to encourage others to get involved with the cause. The museum has established the Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit on the web to highlight what communities have done and encourage and inspire others to do the same.
Nina Winn, program coordinator for Resilient Communities, and Seva Gandhi, program coordinator for Service Learning, both spoke on the progress of cataloguing sustainability projects in each of Chicago's 77 community areas, getting summer interns for AC77, and preparing for the "Sharing Approaches That Work" conference on September 15, 2012. As of April 20, 55 of the city's community areas have been researched.
"We're really trying to make this a student-led initiative," Seva said, talking about the internship program for at least 40 students this summer. She also reminded the audience that while there is a lot of work leading up to the Share Fair in September, it's only just the beginning. "The real work begins after September 15th," she said. That's when connecting and creating a community between the city's sustainability groups and programs will begin.