Fourth annual Clean Tech Summit expected to pull in more than 670 participants

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Tracey Triggs-Matthew is a part of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC Kenan-Flagler and one of the main leaders of the Clean Tech Summit.

The event, which will take place Thursday and Friday, is expected to attract over 670 participants from across North Carolina.

The summit, put on through a collaboration between UNC’s Institute for the Environment and Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise, will focus on the themes of innovation, clean energy, water and energy, and the newly added theme of food.

Environment and ecology professor Greg Gangi came up with the idea for the summit after taking students on a Burch Fellowship program to Germany.

“I could only take 24 students but I thought I would like to provide a similar experience for a large group of students on campus,” he said.

Gangi said he looks forward to the collaboration of representatives from government, industry and universities at the summit.

“If you could find a way for universities to bring in industry with the support of government, that would be a very powerful innovation,” he said.

First-year environmental science major Cameron Champion said he is excited to see all of the expert speakers who will be attending the conference.

“I think that it’s a really cool way for students and potentially also non-environmental major students or just people in general, to learn from these really experienced speakers that are coming to talk,” he said.

Emily Williams, spokesperson for the Institute for the Environment, said the subject of this conference is relevant for everybody.

“No matter who you are, you’re affected because this is affecting our planet and the world we live in,” Williams said.

For the second year in a row, in an attempt to foster connections between industry and students at local universities, a select number of applicants will be matched up with a mentor in the industry.

Tracy Triggs-Matthews, associate director in the Center for Sustainable Enterprise, said the summit is a great way to match professionals in the clean tech field to students who are interested in a related internship or job.

“There have been students that have obtained jobs or connections to jobs from this, which I think is definitely a positive outcome in addition to just making some more connections with people in industry,” she said.

Triggs-Matthews said any individual interested in clean tech should get involved with the summit in the future.

“If you are interested in the clean tech space, this is definitely something to get involved in and going forward I think it’s just going to continue to grow,” she said.

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