Van Jones & Academic Institutions: Invaluable Resources for CleanTech


45 minutes of engaging discourse – last night Van Jones, president and founder of “Green For All”, had his audience, made up largely of members of the greater Berkeley community, enthralled. In an age of public relations, spin and hype we had before us one of the rare respites of integrity, in a man that gets the (positive) credit he deserves.  If you’ve not yet heard him speak, check out the clip below, you will hear a very compelling and articulate argument to invest in our capacity by developing our workforce.

As I looked around the room there were students, faculty, venture capitalists, social workers, community activists, environmentalists, non-profit organizers and reporters; Van can bring people together like no other, but being on a university campus brought an even more diverse group of people to the event. I thought back to the countless symposiums (symposia?) I have been to over the years – without fail it has been those organized by the universities have brought the most diverse audiences of participants together – and in that mix, the magic of cross pollination happens.

The value of an individual’s education is eclipsed by the magnitude of ingenuity and energy that gets created in the pursuit of teaching and learning; sounds a bit new age, but multi-disciplinary universities are an ideal setting to begin to tackle cross functional and cross-industry problems in a way that the rest of the world can’t because it would be so hard to get all those people in the same place at the same time. Berkeley’s Energy and Resource Collaborative (BERC) is a model that has been shown great results and is one that other learning institutions would do well to follow if they are seeking to gain a foothold precisely because of the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability, renewables and clean technologies.  Other universities are doing a great job as well, MIT’s Energy Club is an example of a similar organization on the east coast of the United States. (I welcome commentary on any omissions to my paltry list of two, below in the comments).

If I could begin my formal education process from scratch, an interdisciplinary course of study that involved the environment, energy and resources would be a critical factor in my decision making process.  For aspiring clean tech professionals, universities that offer this sort of cross pollination are where you want to be.  They have the professors, the researchers and the resources to explore.  It is well-funded universities that have seen the development of many of the technologies that we now take for granted – and these same universities are going to be the sources for many of the sustainable technologies that our world desperately needs.

For Bay Area residents interested in an earnest discussion to “explore the shifting trends in energy production, delivery and usage by examining the ‘Bold Ideas’ affecting business, science and government,” then I would suggest getting over to Berkeley on the 23rd of this month. Not only will you hear commentary by people the keynote speakers, John Hoffmeister and Mary Nichols, but you will have the opportunity to hear from various business leaders, investors, policy makers, and interact with the future leaders and inventors while meeting their mentors: inspiring professors like Dan Kammen, Drew Isaacs, Michael O’hare and Severin Borenstein.

Van's Book

If you’ve not yet read his book grab it from our bookstore.

For further events head over to the CleanTechies Calendar – we haven’t got them all so please help out your fellow CleanTechies and add to it by submitting events that we’ve missed around the world.

Job seekers, don’t forget to check out our Job Board, great jobs are being posted everyday.



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2 comments on “Van Jones & Academic Institutions: Invaluable Resources for CleanTech

He’s as good as it gets. someone else should grab a better clip of Van speaking and put it in a comment.

thanks for posting this. i hadn’t heard of van jones before now.

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