Click here to register now for the 2018 MPower Showcase!



How do we change environmental inequities?

NOVEMBER 7, 2018 8:00-10:00AM  Lunda Center, Western Technical College

Vulnerable populations, particularly those who live in poverty, are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards, including the impacts of global climate change.  As The 7 Rivers Region experiences more frequent and intense heavy precipitation events, a trend will accelerate in the years to come, who in the City of La Crosse is most at risk?  How do these inequities affect the entire community, and what are those costs? How do our land use and development patterns contribute to these disparities? We will introduce some local organizations and initiatives addressing these equity issues already, and learn how you best can support them.

Registration is required and cost includes breakfast.
$30 – Registration    $15 – Student Rate



8:00-8:20   Registration & Breakfast
8:20-8:30   Introductions & Opening Remarks “What is Resiliency? How do we change Environmental inequities?”
                   – Casey Meehan, Western Technical College Sustainability Coordinator
8:30-8:50   Housing, Development & Land Use Impacts on Social Equity
                   – Jason Gilman, City of La Crosse Director of Planning & Development
8:50-9:10   Qualitative Data Collection & Findings
                   – Karl Green, Community Natural Resource & Economic Development Agent
9:10-9:25   Q&A Session
9:25-9:45   Supporting Local Action Opportunities
9:45-9:50   Closing Remarks

Thank you to our Event Sponsor


Inspiring Sustainability Awards

September 25th, 2018 4:30-6:00PM    Lunda Center, La Crosse, WI


Join us as we continue the tradition of Coulee Partner’s for Sustainability Harvest Dinner in recognizing two organizations who have inspired sustainable action within our community.  This year the Sustainability Institute is recognizing the Dahl Family YMCA – Community Food Forest and Empire Screen Printing for their green technology advances in their field. Registration is free, but required.

In addition to the award presentation, Mayor Kabat will also be announcing a new City initiative called the City of La Crosse Mayor’s Home Energy Challenge!


Sustainability is Good Business:

Highlighting Businesses with Sustainability in Mind

Featuring Epic Systems from Verona, WI

May 1, 2018 7:30-9:00AM  Lunda Center, Western Technical College

Over the past 37 years, medical software company Epic Systems of Verona, WI, has enjoyed massive growth—both in the size of their campus and number of employees. Their campus boasts not only the largest green roof and the largest single location, private photovoltaics array in the United States, but also the largest single geo-exchange bore-field. Join us as we learn more from Epic about why they invest in sustainability and how they leverage their sustainability efforts to improve not just the environment, but also employee productivity, recruitment, and retention. Registration is required and a light breakfast will be provided.

Thank You to the Event Sponsor




What does it mean to be an economically resilient community?

Thursday, November 9, 2017  8:00AM – 12:30PM  

Lunda Center, Western Technical College

Globalization, climate change, and other variables will continue to cause shifts in the economy of the 7 Rivers Region.  Inevitably, some of these shifts will cause disruptive economic shock in our region.  What do current economic trends suggest about how our local economy will experience such shocks?  What economic conditions exist that will either help or prevent us from rebounding and growing in the face of disruptive change?  How can the 7 Rivers Region build our capacity for economic resilience in a way that attends to both social equity and environmental stewardship?

Join us for:

  • Presentations by: Joel Rogers, COWS, Dennis Winters, Department of  Workforce Development &  Andrew Dane, SEH® – Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.
    • Dennis will discuss the broader vision required to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s world.  Those with the ability to move while staying in place will have an advantage.
    • Andrew will use case studies from projects in Wisconsin, including the 7 Rivers Region, to demonstrate how community members work together to build economic resilience on neighborhood and community scales.
    • Joel will emphasize the difference between “high” and “low” road approaches to economic policy at the state level, including the recent Foxconn legislation, and what this means for economic resilience in the 7 Rivers Region.
  • Guided Discussions
  • Panel Q&A
  • Interactive Word Mapping & Polling Activity

Registration Form – Downloadable PDF

About our Presenters:

Joel Rogers, Director of COWS is the Sewell-Bascom Professor of Law, Political Science, Public Affairs, and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also directs COWS, the national high-road strategy center. Rogers has written widely on American politics and democratic theory. Along with many articles, his books include The Hidden Election, On Democracy, Right TurnMetro FuturesAssociations and DemocracyWorks Councils, Working Capital, What Workers Want, Cites at Work, and American Society. Joel is an active citizen as well as academic. He has worked with and advised many politicians and social movement leaders, initiated and helped operate several progressive NGOs (including the New Party, Economic Analysis Research Network, Apollo Alliance, Emerald Cities Collaborative, and State Innovation Exchange). He is a contributing editor of The Nation and Boston Review, a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and identified by Newsweek as one of the 100 living Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the 21st century. (source: cows.org)

Dennis Winters, Chief Economist at the Department of Workforce Development

Andrew Dane, AICP, ENV SP, NCI is a Senior Community Development and Sustainability Specialist at SEH who brings successful sustainable development experience assisting both rural and urban communities, as well as private businesses. 


Rise & Shine Sustainability Series

Grow the Economy & Minimize the Environmental Impact:

Learning from Destination Medical Center in Rochester, MN

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017  7:30-9:00AM
Lunda Center, Western Technical College


There is a large amount of urban revitalization planned for the La Crosse area in the upcoming years. Join us to learn how DMC used a sustainable mindset while growing economic development. Chris Schad, Senior Strategy Consultant for DMC, Jamie Rothe, DMC Manager, and Kevin Bright, Director of Energy and Sustainability, will focus on the green efforts of the Destination Medical Center Project and how others can implement and consider sustainable practices when furthering economic measures. Registration is required and a light breakfast will be provided.

               Event Sponsored by:

Destination Medical Center (DMC) is a unique 20-year economic development initiative. The $5.6 billion plan is the largest in Minnesota’s history. DMC’s public-private partnership strives to attract private investment, create jobs, generate additional net tax revenue and become a destination for health and wellness.

Jamie Rothe (Manager, Destination Medical Center) Jamie Rothe is the Destination Medical Center Manager for Mayo Clinic. She has worked for Mayo Clinic over the past nine years in a variety of roles focusing on change management and strategic communications. Her current focus is building strategy between Mayo Clinic and Destination Medical Center – Economic Development Agency.

Kevin Bright (Director, Energy and Sustainability) Kevin Bright, CEM, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Homes, is the Energy and Sustainability Director for the DMC EDA. His main functions are to ensure the DMC development projects meet the energy and sustainability goals outlined in the DMC Development plan, convene the Energy Integration Committee, a collection of energy-focused stakeholders to discuss and implement high-level energy goals for development, and advocate for sustainability, health and wellness issues throughout the community.


sustainability-showcase-save-the-dateSUSTAINABILITY SHOWCASE

featuring the 2016 MPower Champions

February 1st, 2017   7:30-10:00AM

During this event, listen to Tom Thibodeau speak about Servant Leadership & Sustainability, learn more about the MPower Business Champion Program, and interact with 2016 MPower Champions as they highlight their projects from the past year.

What is MPower?

MPower is a one-year, fully customizable program for businesses and organizations that want to reduce their environmental impact while saving costs and creating a healthier and more engaging workplace and community.

The MPower Champions Program is developed to engage, inspire and network businesses working towards sustainability in the 7 Rivers Region of southwestern Wisconsin. The program focuses on helping businesses reach specific goals. Over the period of one year, the MPower Champions Program moves businesses from intention to implementation; reducing their use of energy, water, transportation and waste through completed projects they choose.  These projects ultimately save them money and/or increase engagement internally and often externally as well.

2016 MPower Champions



Community Resiliency SymposiumCommunity Resiliency Symposium

Click here for details and documents from this event!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 8:00am

Lunda Center – Western Technical College

  • Are we ill prepared or do we have effective plans in place for the most likely factor that can change the way we live, work and function as a community?
  • What are the most pressing & emerging issues in agriculture, emergency response, housing, healthcare, education, manufacturing, and YOUR profession?
  • How can your organization join the effort to get ahead of the devastating impacts of items that can limit our ability to grow and prosper?

Join us at the first annual Community Resiliency Symposium to find out more about all these questions and so much more!

The day kicks off with three keynote speakers taking a deeper dive into what Resiliency is and how it relates to our region. Following lunch, participate in a dynamic focus group with other local individuals to help identify possible risk factors in our region, compile current resources and outline opportunities and solutions to fill current gaps.

Key Note Speakers

Untitled designAnne Waple – Working in climate science and adaptation for her whole career, Dr. Anne Waple is an independent consultant for climate research, assessment, and planning in addition to writing and editing science-focused publications. Anne was also the Vice President at Second Nature for three years and established a climate resilience framework for higher education, now adopted by over 100 institutions.


Untitled design(1)Mayor Roy Buol – Serving Dubuque, IA as Mayor since 2005, Mayor Roy Buol has focused on “engaging citizens as partners” In 2009, Mayor Buol helped launch a public/private partnership with IBM titled: “Smarter Sustainable Dubuque.” In 2016, Mayor Buol attended “Building Resilience for the Extremes” as a panelist for the first White House Water Summit. Beyond his extensive public speaking experience across the world, Mayor Buol has remained focused on community involvement and his City’s Sustainability. Click here for more information about Mayor Roy Buol and Dubuque, IA’s Sustainability commitment.

Untitled design(2)


Taggert Brooks –  As a UWL – Economics Professor, Taggert Brooks bring focus to our national and regional economic and demographic profile. Brooks also is the semi-annual presenter at the highly successful local Economic Indicators Breakfast.


World Watch Webinar – Can a City be Sustainable?

World Watch WebinarTuesday, May 10, 2016
12:00 – 4:00 PM
Western Technical College – Lunda Center

Join the discussion as the Sustainability Institute hosts a viewing the webinar book release of the  State of the World book “Can a City be Sustainable?”

This event is a webinar viewing open to the public but registration is required as space is limited.

Cities are the world’s future. Today, more than half of the global population—- 3.7 billion people—- are urban dwellers and that number is expected to double by 2050. Will the world invest in the physical and social infrastructure necessary for livable, equitable, and sustainable cities?

Creating Solar Gardens & Farms Summit – 7 Rivers Alliance

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
9:00AM – 12:30PM
Western Technical College – Lunda Center

Registration can be found at www.7riversalliance.org

Student $12
Member $25
Non Member $30

Solar Gardens & Farms Solar Student


New Directions Luncheon

The Sustainability Institute & MPower Business Champion Program

February 16, 2016
11:30 – 1:00PM
Western Technical College Lunda Center

New Directions Flier 1Learn how the 2015 MPower Business Champions were able to make sustainable and money saving changes within their businesses!

The Sustainability Institute  provides a forum to raise all efforts of sustainability by aligning with local partnerships and resources. In addition, it is the Institute’s hope to grow and cultivate sustainability in our region by hosting conversations and conferences to move sustainability forward.

The MPower Champions Program is developed to engage, inspire and network businesses working towards sustainability in the 7 Rivers Region of southwestern Wisconsin. The program focuses on helping businesses reach specific goals. Participation in the MPower Champions Program is competitively based on an application process. Over the period of one year, the MPower Champions Program moves businesses from intention to implementation; reducing their use of energy, water, transportation and waste through completed projects they choose.  These projects ultimately save them money and/or increase engagement internally and often externally as well.


Will Allen – Local Foods & Urban Farming








Empowered: A Tale of Three Cities Taking Charge of Their Energy Future


National energy expert Ben Paulos is coming to La Crosse to present his new report on clean energy in three American cities. Learn how citizens in Boulder, Minneapolis, and Madison are taking matters into their own hands as they seek local, affordable, and clean energy. Also, learn about your local electric utility’s plans to discourage energy conservation and solar from RENEW’s Policy Director Michael Vickerman and a panel of local businesses.