Big Plans for Renaissance 2007
By Dan Hust
BETHEL February 6, 2007 Hundreds filled the cavernous halls of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts’ Interpretive Center Saturday for the annual kickoff to an effort that’s been called “the single most significant program ever” in Sullivan County.
Warm within gigantic windows showcasing the cold beauty of a Bethel winter, Sullivan Renaissance volunteers from across the county perused environmentally-conscious vendors, mingled amidst food and conversation, and listened to author Paul Loeb’s tales of ordinary people who made extraordinary differences.
“If I look at who actually changes the world, it’s ordinary people,” he told the crowd during his keynote speech.
“From Soul to Solar” was the theme of Renaissance’s annual conference and expo that day, and like Loeb, it served as an inspiration for people from virtually every Sullivan County community.
Top volunteers and community-conscious residents were awarded by their peers. Politicians promised more money and support. And eight workshops offered something for anyone, from figuring out how to involve youth to learning the best ways to implement recycling.
Solar lighting was a particular emphasis of the day, with Littlestown, Pa.-based Hadco and Framingham, Mass.-based SolarOne Solutions announcing the creation of a solar-powered decorative streetlamp. Inspired by Renaissance efforts, the highly efficient lamp debuted to great acclaim and curiosity at Saturday’s forum.
Sullivan Renaissance Program Director Glenn Pontier, however, found himself entranced by the crowd itself.
“There are a lot of interesting, valuable people here all of you,” he told the audience, already filled with visions of what each can do to beautify and enhance their hometowns.
And with plans to increase seasonal community outreach efforts, municipal cleanup activities and innovative, solar-powered downtown lighting, 2007 promises to be a Renaissance year like no other.
“This program inspires us to do the things we should do for our communities,” remarked Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.
For more information or to volunteer, call Sullivan Renaissance at 295-2445 or log on to www.sullivanrenaissance.org.