FIT Preps for First Virtual Sustainability Awareness Week

The Fashion Institute of Technology is gearing up for its first fully remote Sustainability Awareness Week running Oct. 5 to 9.

Usually the annual event, which is put on by the FIT Sustainability Council, is reserved for the FIT community, but this year it is free and open to the public. The council anticipates each session to garner 50 to 100 virtual attendees.

“This event is a learning opportunity for the FIT community, alumni and other participants. It is our hope that FIT students will be inspired and use this as an opportunity to learn about sustainability from a number of different perspectives. We want students and faculty to have the opportunity to network and also engage in future events and projects related to sustainability on campus and with industry,” said Dr. Karen R. Pearson, chair of science and mathematics and chair of the FIT Sustainability Council.

Having ingrained sustainability as part of its curriculum for more than a decade, FIT offers credit and noncredit courses focused on the subject, including courses such as “International Corporate Responsibility,” and “Ecology and the Built Environment.”

FIT also offers students an opportunity to take a minor in ethics and sustainability, which has grown to 127 students, according to Pearson. Noncredit courses focused on the subject are available for adult learners.

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Asked what accountability FIT brings to its network of industry partnerships, Pearson explained: “FIT’s commitment extends from its mission to prepare graduates who are well-versed in various aspects of sustainability by way of the curriculum and college-wide initiatives. That commitment is evident in campus practices such as the ‘greening’ of FIT’s campus which encompasses the installation of numerous green roofs, a role model to industry.”

Increasingly, FIT alumni like Stacey Flynn, founder and chief executive officer of textile innovation firm Evrnu, or the team behind biomaterial innovation “Werewool,” including Morgana Kattermann, Valentina Gomez, Chui-Lian Lee, along with assistant professor of science Theanne Schiros, are seen at the forefront of industry transformation, as per Pearson’s lens.

“The speakers were selected for a number of reasons, including their personal and professional commitment to sustainability and their use of innovation to develop new materials and implementation of the principles of circularity at all points within the supply chain. They represent a diverse set of specializations and perspectives in the sustainability space and are notable for their leadership in the implementation of sustainable practices. Additionally, we are featuring a number of alumni at different points in their careers,” she added.

The full slate of programming can be found on FIT’s web site and includes the aforementioned speakers, with Schiros in conversation with Amber Valletta on “The Future of Materials,” as well as conversations on chemical management, stitching and mending, collaborations and more.

Overarching themes include innovation, circularity and interdisciplinary collaborations that are “providing pathways for the industry,” Pearson said.

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