5th Annual Town & Gown Conference starts tomorrow

Tomorrow Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and author Mark Hertsgaard will give keynote addresses for the first day of the Town & Gown Conference in Berkeley — a two-day event where college and city representatives from throughout the state meet to discuss cooperative strategies for dealing with current and potential obstacles.

The theme of this year’s conference is resilience, and Thursday’s program will revolve around concepts related to this idea, beginning at 9 a.m. with a welcome address from UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates in the ballroom of the Hotel Shattuck Plaza.

Directly following, Newsom — who also served as mayor of San Francisco — will give the keynote address. Newsom is currently an ex officio member on the California State University Board of Trustees as well as on the UC Board of Regents.

At 9:45, Will Travis, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, will lead a panel discussion concerning the potential threats posed to communities throughout the state by climate change.

Afterwards, attendees will move on to one of three group breakout sessions to focus on topics ranging from disaster response to risk management as a means of stabilizing the economic concerns of cities and educational institutions.

During lunch, Hertsgaard will give the day’s second keynote address. Hertsgaard is an author and journalist who has covered global warming for various national publications, and recently wrote Hot: Living Through the Next 50 Years on Earth, which details the threat climate change poses for the future of mankind.

The afternoon session will look at how to maintain economic resilience in the face of difficult conditions by strengthening local workforces.

After the afternoon group breakout session — consisting panel discussions of attracting strong workforces, developing business opportunities from green research and expanding access to high education — conference attendants will take a walking tour of the Downtown area and UC Berkeley campus.

The day’s events will conclude with an evening reception.

Adelyn Baxter covers city government.

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