Greentopia Festival Provides Showcase for RIT Expertise

Expanded event includes exhibits, speakers and workshops promoting sustainability

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Rochester Institute of Technology will be well represented at Rochester’s second Greentopia eco-festival, taking place this week in downtown Rochester.

Greentopia, which drew more than 18,000 people last year, has been expanded into four components: Innovation, Film, Music and Ecofest. Through workshops, films, music, exhibits and a variety of family-friendly activities, the organizers and participants will present green ideas and show how to apply them in everyday life.

RIT will have a large tent showcasing some of the university’s many sustainability activities as part of Ecofest, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sept. 15 and 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sept. 16 in Rochester’s High Falls district. Exhibits will be presented by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at RIT; students in the architecture program of the Golisano Institute of Sustainability; the Student Innovation Center; RIT Facilities Management Services and other campus groups.

Also during Ecofest, graduate students in RIT’s communication and media technologies program in the College of Liberal Arts will be gathering feedback about signage related to energy savings. The project, called “Visual Communication, Design and Understanding Messages of Sustainability,” is funded by the Innovation in Graduate Education Strategic Seed Fund of RIT’s Office of Graduate Studies and the Office of the Provost.

“After we receive feedback from participants at Greentopia about the signage or visuals that our students designed in class, we will install the visuals in a few residence halls on campus,” says Kelly Norris Martin, assistant professor of communication. “The students will be able to look at energy consumption in each building to assess the efficacy of the visual messages.” (More information on this project can be found at

Three members of the RIT community are among the speakers at the Greentopia Innovation conference Sept. 15 at the Rochester Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, 70 State St.

James Winebrake, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, will present “Sustainable Transportation Futures: Making the Case for Alternative Fuel.” Winebrake’s talk provides an overview of the state of alternative-fuel vehicle markets in the United States. Winebrake has been studying alternative-fuel vehicles since 1992 when he was involved in the implementation of the 1992 Energy Policy Act as a physical scientist/policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy. He has published several articles on alternative-fuel vehicles over the past two decades.

“This presentation will explore the major environmental, energy, economic and technology issues that are driving the development of these alternative-fuel vehicle markets,” Winebrake says. “I will also identify barriers to market entry, including the pros and cons of each type of alternative-fuel vehicle and consumer concerns that may affect widespread market adoption.”

Also speaking are:

• Trish Donohue, senior engineer, New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at RIT, “Sustainable Supply Chain & Performance Improvement”

• Daniel Smith, senior program manager, New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at RIT, “Green Technology Accelerator Center” 

The Innovation conference will also feature a session about development of RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability building. Mark Maddalina of SWBR Architects, Brian Danker of M/E Engineering and Josh Reinhard of LeChase will present “GIS Building – Beyond Green/LEED: Case Study of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT.”

Also, a unique artwork by RIT alumnus Scott Grove ’81 (BFA) will be on display at the University Gallery adjacent to the Vignelli Center for Design on the RIT campus. The work, “Last Chance,” combines salvaged steel racks and recycled white paper. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and Saturday. Grove is spearheading Greentopia | ART and installing many large sculptures around the city of Rochester.

For more information about Greentopia, go to