Delaware County’s 3rd Annual Sustainability Conference: A Commitment to a Greener Future

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Released: June 18, 2024

Delaware County’s 3rd Annual Sustainability Conference: A Commitment to a Greener Future

Delaware County showcased its dedication to a sustainable future by hosting its 3rd Annual Sustainability Conference on May 30, at Widener University. The event, organized by the County’s Office of Sustainability, attracted over 300 attendees including community members, business owners, government officials, and sustainability practitioners, all eager to network, share information, and collaborate on sustainable initiatives.

The "Sustainability in Action" conference aimed to equip participants with the necessary tools to implement sustainability within their communities. The event included a diverse group of participants, including over 50 ninth-grade students from Chester Upland High School, more than 230 in-person professionals, 55 online attendees, and 39 exhibitors.

Delaware County Council Member Elaine Paul Schaefer opened the conference, emphasizing sustainability as a guiding value for the community. “This county has placed a high priority on making sustainability a guiding value that is echoed in the community that we serve,” said Schaefer, who added, “Today we come together not only to inform and inspire and get each other motivated but also empower into action this year’s theme Sustainability in Action, which comes after two years of successful programming.”

Widener University President Stacey Robertson highlighted the various conference tracks, ensuring there was something for everyone. Chester City Mayor Stefan Roots formally welcomed attendees to the City of Chester. He expressed his excitement about Chester serving as the host location again and shared his definition of sustainability, noting, “sustainability is a social goal for people to co-exist on Earth over a long time, and our society’s ability to exist and develop without depleting the natural resources needed to live in the future.”

Presenters included Miss Pennsylvania 2023, Miranda Moore, who spoke passionately about the fashion industry’s impact on sustainability, revealing some staggering statistics of fashion waste and carbon emissions.

Moore’s mission is to change how we buy, wear, and think about fashion through awareness, representation, and engagement, and urged attendees to rethink their fashion choices, promoting secondhand shopping, sustainable products, and re-wearing existing clothing. “It can be really hard to feel like you can’t make change as one person, but I have been able to empower others to know they can be part of positive change” said Moore in reference to her ‘Take Action in Fashion’ initiative.”

Moore closed her presentation with a reminder that, “Since we are all part of the problem, we can also be part of the solution.”

During the conference, the Office of Sustainability recognized individuals and groups for their outstanding ‘sustainability in action’ efforts. This year’s Sustainability award recipients included:

  • Steven Goldfield, Decarbonization Hero Award
  • Peter Puglionesi, Sustainability Hero Award
  • Haverford Township, Sustainable Organization of the Year Award Municipality
  • The Green Horn Initiative, Inc., Sustainable Organization of the Year Award Community
  • Sam Krakow, Sustainable Project of the Year, Heat Pump Conversion Initiative
  • Chestnutwold Elementary School Roots and Shoots Club, Sustainability Rising Star Award

Sustainability and Resilience Manager Becca Yurkovich provided updates on the County’s ambitious Sustain Delco plan, underscoring the importance of understanding the County's role in sustainability and the guiding principles of education, governance, equity, inclusion, justice, and economic sustainability. She encouraged attendees to ask the "5 Whys" to make meaningful community changes, collaborate, and commit to taking action today.

The event's breakout sessions, covering five tracks—Sustainable Living, Sustainable Businesses, Sustainable Organizations, Sustainable Communities, and Sustainability for All—provided attendees with practical knowledge and inspiration to implement sustainable practices in their daily lives and communities.

Thank you to the Office of Sustainability and all of the participants and attendees for the continued efforts to realize a sustainable future for the county and beyond.

For the full conference agenda and recording, please visit

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Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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