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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Anne Auer
Kelley School of Business

Emilie Rex
IU Office of Sustainability

Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Eco-Entrepreneur Majora Carter visiting IU Bloomington as part of 'Student Empowerment Summit'

Sept. 15, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Majora Carter, an environmental activist who has worked to create "green-collar" job opportunities for unemployed Americans and a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius fellowship," will visit Indiana University Bloomington on Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

Majora Carter

Photo by James Burling Chase

Majora Carter

Print-Quality Photo

Carter's visit is part of a student event that focuses on student engagement in issues of social justice and environmental stewardship. The two-day initiative, titled "greenINg our economy: A Student Empowerment Summit," will be held on Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at IU's Kelley School of Business. The summit is open to all Indiana University students.

To keynote the summit, Carter will speak to university students, faculty and the public at a free event that begins at 10 a.m. Oct. 1, at the IU Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St.

The summit is sponsored by the Kelley School of Business and its Office of Diversity Initiatives, in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Ethnic and Multicultural Affairs, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the IU Office of Sustainability and the IU Maurer School of Law.

The events are part of the College of Arts and Sciences' semester-long initiative, "Themester: sustain•ability: Thriving on a Small Planet." Themester is a program that combines academic courses, public lectures and exhibits, film showings and other events and is intended to engage students and the entire community in a collective learning experience about a timely, even urgent, issue.

Through her career, Carter simultaneously has addressed public health, poverty alleviation and climate change as one of the nation's pioneers in successful urban green-collar job training and placement systems.

"Sustainability is challenging because it requires a balance of economic, environmental and social considerations," said Bill Brown, IU director of sustainability. "Few people demonstrate this balance in their own lives more completely than Majora Carter. I have heard her speak, and I am certain she will inspire our students to get personally involved in designing their own sustainable future."

"Sustainability is a global phenomenon, just as diversity is a global phenomenon," added Malik McCluskey, director of diversity initiatives at the Kelley School of Business. "In Majora Carter, we have a unique individual who can speak to both audiences . . . She obviously represents communities of color, but she also can speak to a very timely subject that affects us all. We want to encourage people from the wider Bloomington community to come out to hear Majora Carter."

Themester 2010

The events are part of the College of Arts and Sciences' semester-long initiative, "Themester: sustain•ability: Thriving on a Small Planet."

Print-Quality Photo

Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School, said Carter's visit is another important way that the business school exposes its students to recognized experts on topics that fundamentally affect the future of business practice and education.

"Sustainability effects everything from supply chain management to accounting, finance and the marketing disciplines, and knowledge of this topic will be expected of students in future careers," Smith said. "We are pleased to be able to be one of Majora Carter's hosts as part of the College's Themester effort to promote campus and community dialogue on the challenging issue of sustainability."

In 2001, Carter founded the Sustainable South Bronx to achieve environmental justice through economically sustainable projects informed by community needs.

Within two years, it had implemented the successful Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) program -- a pioneering green-collar job training and placement system.

After five years, it boasted an 85 percent employment rate with 10 percent going to college. Many of the success stories involved people who previously had been incarcerated, and all of them had been on some form of public assistance before completing the nationally recognized 10-week course. BEST continues to seed communities with a skilled workforce that has both a personal and economic stake in their urban environment.

Her work now includes advising cities, foundations, universities, businesses and communities around the world on unlocking their green-collar economic potential to benefit everyone as President of the Majora Carter Group, LLC.

Newsweek magazine named her one of "25 To Watch" in 2007, and one of the "century's most important environmentalists" in 2008. Essence magazine named her one of its "25 Most Influential African-Americans" and she was one of the New York Post's "Most Influential NYC Women." She was invited to speak at the influential TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences, which bring together fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives.

Carter is a board member of the Wilderness Society, SJF Advisory Services and Ceres. She hosts a special national public radio series called "The Promised Land" and the television series "Eco-Heroes" on the Sundance Channel. She also appeared in the acclaimed 2009 documentary, "Dirt: The Movie," which presents the environmental, economic, social and political impacts of soil.

Additional information about "greenINg our economy: A Student Empowerment Summit" is available at

More information about Themester 2010 can be found at To learn more about the IU Office of Sustainability, visit