November 20, 2009
The eighth annual Smart Growth Summit hosted by Vision Long was held on Friday, November 20th at the Melville Marriot. The Levermore Global Scholar students were invited once again to attend the Summit and participate in the Youth Summit along with students from Dowling College, Farmingdale, and Columbia.
Attending this Summit was a great opportunity for politicians, legislators, NGO representatives and other civic groups to come together and discuss different plans to improve Long Island communities. The Summit addressed topics such as sustainable and environmentally friendly development and social and economic plans for the future of Long Island. The first session of the Summit was a plenary session with various town legislators in Long Island discussing their views and plans for their communities. At the end of the panel discussion, members of the audience were given a chance to ask the panelists questions. After the panel discussion, guests were given the choice to attend four different panel sessions focusing on different topics. Students, however, had to attend the first session for the Youth Summit, which was hosted by Dowling College. We introduced ourselves to the rest of the participants and received packets about smart growth and other useful information. The moderators wanted us to know that our voices do matter and that we can make a difference.
One of the main foci on the summit was to find ways to make Long Island more attractive to youth and prevent the Island from aging. After the introductions, I had the opportunity to attend the second session on The New Job Markets. As we all know, most new jobs are being created in health care, computer, and other mathematically or scientifically driven fields.
After this session, guests gathered for lunch. The highlight of the lunch was when Governor Pattersonspoke and took the time to take a picture with students. The opportunity to meet with the Governor up-close was such an honor! After an elegant, delicious lunch summit participants attended the final session of their choice, although students attended another workshop sponsored by the Youth Summit. Students were divided into four groups, based on the topics they wanted to learn more about: suburban planning, suburban culture, and Smart Growth; (2) local governance and civic participation in suburban development; (3) environmental preservation and suburban development; and (4) social and economic inequality in suburbia.
I chose to participate in the workshop on suburban design, and we discussed possible measured we could take to improve transportation, housing, entertainment and leisure for the communities in Long Island, keeping in mind that our mission was to attract the younger generation back to the Long Island. Some of the possible suggestions we made were: to add housing on top of strip shops, have more parks, advertise for events that would get people involved, etc. Our group also suggested that having a balance between a suburban lifestyle and city-like lifestyle would be a happy median for all generations, giving people more options.
Students learned that they do have the power to make change as long as they speak their minds and have others to support them. All of the young people at the summit agreed basically on the same things, and it was helpful for a group of students like us to get a chance voice their opinions and make a difference. All in all, the Smart Growth Summit and the Youth Summit were amazing forums for all type of people to come together, offer their suggestions and take action in order to improve life on Long Island.
Written by Roshini Givergis ‘12