Progressive Lifestyle: USGBC Louisiana FORWARD Symposium on Sustainability

On October 18, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Louisiana Chapter is hosting its fourth annual FORWARD Symposium on Sustainability. This event will bring together environmentalists, architects, educators, business leaders, and students from across the state and the country to discuss sustainability innovations, climate change, social action, and education.

The theme of this year’s event is Building a Stronger Louisiana by Nurturing the Next Generation of Sustainability Leaders. The one-day symposium will include:

  • Women in Sustainability Empower (WISE) breakfast
  • Green School Challenge workshop
  • Educational sessions
  • Sustainability keynote luncheon
  • Tulane LEED building tour

In addition, this year’s event will feature the GreenMatters series, which will showcase how environmentally conscious business leaders in New Orleans are working to make events, dining, and tourism in the city both greener and safer.

This year’s WISE breakfast keynote speaker will be Ursula Emery McClure, an award-winning architect and professor of architecture at Louisiana State University. She is also a founding partner at emerymcclure architecture and senior project designer at the architecture and design firm Perkins & Will. McClure was named to ArchDaily’s list of 13 leading female architects from around the world in 2018. The topic of this year’s keynote will be “A Career of Coastal Concern.” The WISE breakfast kicks off at 7:30 a.m.

The Sustainability keynote will be delivered by Justin Ehrenwerth, President and CEO of The Water Institute of the Gulf. Ehrenwerth spent several years in public service, including key roles at the Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, as the Chief of Staff to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce, and as Assistant Counsel to the President, where he was lead counsel on the Deepwater Horizon litigation for the White House. Now, Ehrenwerth continues the fight to help deltaic and coastal communities prepare for the impact climate change will have on their future. In his keynote, Ehrenwerth will discuss how nature-based solutions can be used to protect critical industry infrastructure, promote community resilience, create environmental benefits, and sequester carbon.

“FORWARD offers us the opportunity to inform and educate the community about coastal issues concerning Louisiana that will have a direct impact on our quality of life,” said Monica Gonzalez, USGBC Louisiana’s chairperson. “From climate change to new trends in sustainability innovation, we are fighting to ensure that our policymakers, business leaders, educators, and students are well-equipped to handle the environmental changes we are currently facing. We invite everyone to be a part of the event.”

To attend the educational sessions, WISE breakfast and Sustainability luncheon, ticket prices are $110 for members and $145 for non-members. To attend the WISE breakfast only, the cost is $40, and the Sustainability luncheon only, the cost is $50. Students can register for the educational sessions for a special rate of $30. To learn more about USGBC Louisiana and the FORWARD Symposium, visit For sponsorship opportunities email Michelle Jackson at


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