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USU to host symposium on economic growth and sustainability

The sun rises over the mountains in Logan Canyon on Thursday, Sept. 28.
Jack Burton
The Utah Statesman
The sun rises over the mountains in Logan Canyon on Thursday, Sept. 28.

Over the next three weeks, multiple departments at Utah State University are putting on a symposium called Dialogues on Economic Growth and Sustainability.

Patrick Belmont, the department head of Watershed Sciences at USU first came up with the idea for this symposium in September during conversations with colleagues Robert Davies, a physics professor, and Frank Caliendo, an economics professor.

“I had been noticing that there are just, well, a lot of different issues that we're all grappling with right now, coming out of the interface between economics and sustainability," Belmont said. "I think it weighs pretty heavily on people because these things like Great Salt Lake and climate change, those are all direct conflicts between economics and sustainability.”

The symposium will take place in three different sessions on Feb. 2, 9 and 16. The first session focuses on creating a shared foundation of knowledge and understanding. The second will focus on a reflection of the first week, revisiting some disconnects and differences in perspective. The last day will be about looking forward and thinking, “Where do we go from here?”

“It's one thing to go and just have a lecture and a class or something," Belmont said. "But to really throw everything out on the table, let it percolate for a week and come back and say here's what we're hearing here, the disconnects here the differences in perspective, here are things that can't both be true. How do we reconcile these things?”

Speakers at this event will include David Zook, Cache County executive; Darren Parry, chairman of the Northwestern Band of Shoshone; Jeff Reece, a social entrepreneur and Caitlin McLennan, USU’s sustainability coordinator.

The event will cover broad topics concerning the relationship between economics and sustainability but it will also dive into more specific issues such as the Great Salt Lake and changes in Cache Valley.

Each of the sessions will begin at 1:00 p.m. and they will all take place in the Russell/Wanlass Performance Hall on USU’s campus. Tickets are free, visit to reserve yours.

Caitlin Keith is a general news reporter at UPR. She is from Lindon, Utah and is currently an undergrad student studying print journalism at USU. Caitlin loves to write and tell people’s stories. She is also a writer at the Utah Statesman. She loves to read, ski, play the cello and watch various TV shows.