Eco-friendly Festival Ramps Up Greening Efforts in Rochester

RIT gives glimpse of what green really means

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What if Rochester residents traded in their gas-guzzling automobiles for a chance to improve their health while bettering the air quality? That is one of the questions posed by Rochester Institute of Technology at the first annual Greentopia Festival at High Falls on Sept. 17 and 18.

RIT President Bill Destler, along with his wife Rebecca Johnson, who has been a longtime champion of sustainability, will join other members of the RIT community in leaving their cars at home and riding their bikes to show off RIT’s commitment to sustainability at the eco-friendly festival.

“RIT has long been committed to the types of sustainability efforts this festival will be exhibiting,” says Destler. “Greentopia has really taken the meaning of green to a whole new level and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

The RIT eBike Fleet is one of many exhibits hosted by the university at Greentopia. Members of the community will get a first-hand look at how cycling can lower the environmental footprint along with plenty of other eco-friendly activities, presentations and demonstrations.

RIT will also provide an in depth look for consumers and businesses at how to minimize waste and cut costs during the inaugural Greentopia Festival.

Anahita Williamson, director of New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, will discuss the NYSP2I’s role with local businesses in developing innovative solutions while reducing their environmental footprint and overall costs.

“The Greentopia Festival is a great opportunity to showcase local environmental initiatives to the community,” says Williamson. “NYSP2I is excited to participate and showcase how we have worked with New York state industries to take a proactive approach to reducing toxic materials, solid waste, water usage and energy consumption.”

Williamson’s presentation, at 11 a.m. Sept. 17, is part of the Eco Quick-Talks, which feature community activists, environmentalists, conservatists and visionaries discussing their knowledge of green living and sustainability. The talks are 10 minutes in length and presenters will be available afterward for networking and discussion.

Stop by RIT’s tent and you will also learn about some of the university’s sustainability-related undergraduate and graduate academic programs, along with campus recycling efforts, initiatives in sustainable dining and housing, campus operations and green building projects. There will also be a spot to recycle hearing-aid batteries.

The festival is free and open to the public. For more information and a complete list of the exhibitors, go to

About Greentopia

Greentopia is a free two-day “World’s Fair” of inspiration through art, music, organic and locally grown food and beverages, ideas and activism. Throughout the festival visitors will be able to hear visionary speakers and meet well-known authors. Through how-to workshops and cutting-edge films, visitors will learn about big green ideas and how to apply them creatively in everyday life. There will be special family activities, community recycled art installations, mouthwatering organic and local food and beverages, and all kinds of live music. Businesses and organizations will showcase products and programs that help restore the planet, promote green living – even save consumers some money.

About RIT

Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging science, sustainability, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. RIT enrolls 17,500 full- and part-time students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.

For more than two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. RIT is featured in The Princeton Review’s 2012 edition of The Best 376 Colleges as well as its Guide to 311 Green Colleges. The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2012 names RIT as a “Best Buy,” and The Chronicle of Higher Education recognizes RIT among the “Great Colleges to Work For 2011.”