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Alverno College Adds Voices to Sustainability Conversation

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S Bence
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Peter Paik, Anna Marie Opgenorth and Joyce Tang Boyland at Alverno College

Every year the Catholic, liberal arts college for women on Milwaukee’s south side hosts a community conference. Alverno psychology professor Joyce Tang Boyland was part of the team who put together this year’s A Tapestry of Sustainability event.

The conference takes place all day Friday on the Alverno College campus and folds in speakers, including former Milwaukee mayor John Norquist.

Boyland says she was inspired by a Historic Milwaukee conference she attended a few years ago. “Groups of people up on stage were talking with each other, having conversations and everybody in the audience was listening in. It was not predictable," she says. "I have been a part of conferences where they had one person from this side and one person from that side. You could tell before they sat down what they were going to say. And I wanted this conference to be different from that and this conference gave a good model for how that happens."

Anna Marie Opgenorth, now with Mandel Group, led the program that inspired Boyland. “The whole idea was to bring people together who never would be involved in a public conversation together about what we want to see in Milwaukee’s built environment and how we want to make decisions about how we build our cities,” Opgenorth says.

She’ll be part of a “Where Will You Live?” session at the Alverno conference. “And so that connects with both my work with Historic Milwaukee and historic preservation but also work I do with transportation; I’m on the board of Metro Go, which is a regional transit organization and how this all connects to sustainability,” Opgenorth says.

UW-Milwaukee comparative literature professor Peter Paik will share his research at Friday’s conference during a session titled “Population, Consumption, and Extinction.”

“One of the topics I work on these days is the issue of scarcity as it relates to the problem of limited resources as well as the different shape societies have taken historically in response to this problem. One of the questions I’ll be exploring is the issue of rising expectations and what does it mean to live life that rejects the rising expectations that have defined our society every since the end of World War II,” Paik says.

Joyce Tang Boyland says the day is designed to encourage open conversation. “I think what can be done in one day is to get people to think different, to get out of their boxes; for example, expand their vision of sustainability beyond what they always thought it was. And if people can see different things they can do together, that would be a good thing,” Boyland says.

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.