VT STRONG NEWS – Norwich, VT: Norwich University Daphne Larkin reports 6.18.2019 –

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Resilient Vermont Network, coordinated by the Norwich University Center for Global Resilience and Security, hosted the 2019 Resilient Vermont Conference at Norwich University on June 7-8, funded by a $9,000 grant from the High Meadows Fund.

Approximately 200 people – 150 on Friday and 50 on Saturday – helped to advance Vermont’s progress towards building sustainable communities with thought-provoking conversations among professionals, resilience groups and community organizers. The conference included spirited debates and inspiring discussions in the parallel sessions on land, water, energy, and people, during the hackathon and field trips, on Friday and substantive workshops, the engaging extreme event game, and resilience fair on Saturday.

Ed Thomas, president of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association, and Raquel Mattos, a high school freshman, presented a multi-generational take on resilience in their keynote remarks on Friday and Saturday respectively. While each presenting a unique perspective informed by their experiences, each ultimately conveyed a consistent message of the importance of including the “whole community” in resilience actions.

“There are many transformational forces at work in Vermont, and climate change is one of them,” High Meadows Fund Program Manager Betsy Hands said. “The Resilient Vermont Conference is a rare and necessary opportunity for Vermonters to focus on adapting to these threats.” 

Planning will begin for the next conference, scheduled for 2021. To get involved, please email nucgrs@norwich.edu. To learn more about this year’s conference, please visit the 2019 Resilient Vermont Conference website.

The Center for Global Resilience and Security (CGRS) is a Norwich University research center of excellence dedicated to the advancement of the interrelationships between human resilience and sense of security in the face of global challenges. CGRS is focused on challenges in the areas of climate change, water, energy, and infrastructure and their impact on resilience and security. CGRS crafts creative, innovative, and sustainable solutions for building resilient communities, through inter-disciplinary research and design collaboration. The center is directed by Dr. Tara Kulkarni, associate professor in Norwich University’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Construction Management.

Upon inception in March 2017, CGRS took over the role of coordinating the Resilient Vermont Network, organized in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene and the devastating effects the storm had on Vermont communities. Research shows that networks thrive on sustained coordination, which CGRS is committed to providing (see full report here). Network members can share responsibility for advocacy, research and education to ensure Vermonters are well informed and aware of vulnerabilities but are also empowered to take action. This conference is an opportunity to help the network grow and thrive with CGRS support, while achieving statewide resilience goals.