Buff State to host Mayor’s Civic Innovation Jam


I'Jaz Eberhardt, Vice President, News Editor

Do you have ideas about how to make the world a greener and cleaner place? Do you wish you had an outlet to express your concerns about preserving our city’s natural environment? Are you technologically advanced and looking to develop an app or device that can make a great impact on the world?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to attend the Civic Innovation Jam this Saturday in Bulger Communication Center. The Civic Innovation Jam is part of Mayor Byron W. Brown’s Civic Innovation Eco Challenge—powered by AT&T—which launched last March.

The Jam will serve as an open forum for creative and talented minds to identify ecological challenges and to create solutions by using eco-friendly civic technology—user-friendly devices and apps designed to promote environmental consciousness with the public in mind.

Kirk McLean, director of Open Data Buffalo, explained the event will also be a networking environment for diverse groups of people with different problem-solving capabilities to work together.

“We’re hoping at this event people voice their concerns or voice their issues about what’s going on,” he said. “People can get together and create innovative or unique solutions that otherwise wouldn’t have bubbled up without this dialogue that we’re trying to create.”

Opening remarks will be delivered by Mayor Byron W. Brown, AT&T, and Esri, the global market leader in geographical information software. The keynote speaker for the event will be Derrick Parson, Founder and CEO of the mobile-first training platform, GRASPIE, which was developed in Buffalo.

The Civic Innovation Jam will highlight some of the questions and concerns that will inspire collaborative efforts between developers and environmentalists.

“It could be something like how to better recycle, how to get your whole neighborhood involved, information about things we do under our Green Code,” said Sharon Linstedt, communications and community relations coordinator for Mayor Brown.

The Buffalo Green Code was established in 2010 as a new zoning ordinance to create a greener economy. Like the Green Code, the Civic Innovation Eco Challenge is expected to produce technological and environmental developments that will both create a greener Buffalo and serve as models for other areas.

“We want Buffalo-area teams focused on solving regional and local issues with technology that affect Buffalo, but we’re hoping that some of the innovations, apps, devices or other solutions can be used in other regions as well,” McLean said.

On-campus green efforts will also be highlighted, with Chartwells giving a demonstration of Buffalo State’s Food Recycling Program.

The Civic Innovation Jam will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include breakfast and lunch.

To RSVP, sign up through Eventbrite here; admission is free!


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