The Oberlin Project

April 11, 2013 in Sustainability

The Oberlin Project, a Joint venture between the City of Oberlin and Oberlin Ohio

The Oberlin Project is a joint effort of the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to improve the resilience, prosperity, and sustainability of the Oberlin Community. The City of Oberlin is located in southwest Lorain County, less than 10 miles from Elyria. In 2012, the city was named a “Best Hometown” by Ohio Magazine.[1] Oberlin College & Conservatory is a four-year liberal arts college and conservatory of music. Founded in 1833, the school counts approximately 2,900 students.[2] The Oberlin Project’s aim is to revitalize the local economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development.[3]

The Oberlin Project was founded by Professor David W. Orr and is currently managed by Bryan Stubbs. David Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Special Assistant to the President of Oberlin College. The Oberlin Project was formed out of David Orr’s vision of full-spectrum sustainability: an all-encompassing joint venture by the City and College to create a thriving, sustainable and environmentally friendly community in Oberlin. In the summer of 2009, the College joined four otherwise disparate objectives into an overarching initiative in affiliation with the City of Oberlin: 1) Revitalize the local economy; 2) Eliminate carbon emissions; 3) Restore local agriculture and forestry; and 4) Use the entire effort as an educational laboratory relevant to virtually every discipline. The result is The Oberlin Project.[4]

Professor Orr invites all to imagine Oberlin City and College within a vibrant Northeast Ohio:

Imagine Oberlin with a vibrant 24/7 downtown featuring local foods, arts, and music, powered by energy efficiency and sunlight. Imagine arriving from (Cleveland) Hopkins airport on a light-rail coming through a 20,000 acre greenbelt of farms and forests that terminates close to a new, deep green hotel with a cuisine featuring local foods. Imagine your college reunion held in an adjacent solar powered conference center. Imagine a Green Arts District in which great college strengths in music, the arts, and drama are joined to those in the sciences as the backdrop for performances, exhibitions, lectures, and an ongoing conversation on the most important issues on the human agenda, all having to do with whether and how civilization might endure and flourish in radically altered biophysical conditions.[5]

Additional information about The Oberlin Project is available through their website: http://www.oberlinproject.org/. This site includes opportunities to provide support, become better engaged, and read blogs and media updates. Questions about the Project may be directed to either Managing Director Bryan Stubbs (Bryan.Stubbs@oberlin.edu) or Assistant Director Heather Adelman (hadelman@oberlinproject.org).


[1] http://www.ohiomagazine.com/Main/Articles/Best_Hometowns_2012_4489.aspx

[2] http://new.oberlin.edu/about/index.dot

[3] http://www.oberlinproject.org/

[4] http://www.oberlinproject.org/about/executive-director/david-w-orr

[5] Ibid.

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