The Sustainability Summits of Harrisonburg, Virginia

Harrisonburg Summits are opportunities for hundreds of people and organizations to come together to discuss issues related to an important theme or issue facing the Harrisonburg-Rockingham area.

A summit is a scheduled event that brings together partner organizations and citizens for a combination of discussions, workshops, brainstorming, and education. Information is exchanged, partnerships are formed, projects are created and strengthened, and relationships are formed.

In the beginning of each summit, participants create a schedule with dozens of breakout sessions and are then free to join the conversations of most interest to them. This process is called Open Space Technology.

Summit proceedings and reports are captured during the event, and posted online at in real time, creating an interactive online archive of discussions.

This event was so successful, that a partnership was formed with the Community Mediation Center to allow more summits to continue on various different topics.

Community Mediation Center –

and its programs and services…

The Bluestone Group –
The OrangeBand Initiative –
Listening 101 –

The Sustainability Summit on November 14, 2009, occured from 12-5pm at Memorial Hall. Almost 100 people showed and created conversations about the following topics.

Topic titles with links have an associated report. These topics were discussed over three different session times.

  1. Climate Change 101 (For Beginners)
  2. Electricity Comes from Coal – What’s so bad about that?
  3. Utilizing Federal and State Rebates for Energy Production/Efficienc…
  4. Mountaintop Removal and Coal Dependency – Local Effort to Preserve Appalachia
  5. Soil Conservation – How do we feed ourselves locally?
  6. How do we make Harrisonburg Bike Friendly NOW
  7. Sustainable Buildings: Challenges, Strategies, Opportunities
  8. Action! What have we done? What can we improve on? Do it.
  9. Planning Harrisonburg’s Future: The City’s Comprehensive Plan
  10. Sustainable Media
  11. Upcoming HEC Public Hearing
  12. Shenandoah Mountain: National Scenic Area Proposal – Ecology, Commu…
  13. Why We Need to Stop Eating Meat for Sustainability and How to Publicize this Info
  14. Why Politics is SO Crucial to Sustainability and the Psychology of …
  15. Biochar and Biofuels
  16. Starting a Debate League or Series
  17. Friendly City Food Coop: Help Make It Happen!
  18. Recovery of Mental Wellness
  19. Harrisonburg Democrats Outreach Ideas
  20. Interfaith and Intercultural Partnership for Crisis Prevention and …
  21. Copenhagen Climate Treaty
  22. Valley 25×25: Having 25% of Local Energy Produced by Renewable Ener…
  23. Peer to Peer Business Alliance/Network – Is there Interest?


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