Futuristic Cities event engages community, encourages student involvement

February 21, 2017

Taylor Watters

twatters@uccs.edu

     On Feb. 16, students, faculty and Colorado Springs residents gathered with public officials for a speaker-focused event that hosted urban farmers, cybersecurity experts and data scientists, among others.

     The Futuristic Cities event was hosted by the Student Government Association in partnership with the city’s PlanCOS campaign to raise awareness among the student body with six speakers.

     According to SGA president Samuel Elliott, the Facebook event’s promotional efforts generated over 11,000 impressions with 600 users who engaged with the post.

     Of those 600 users, about 125 attended, and the number of students was outweighed by the number of working professionals.

     Despite an OK student turn out, Elliot thinks the event went well. “

     We got the turn out that we were expecting,” said Elliot.

     “The presentations were dynamic, thought provoking – and city officials showed up, and they loved it.”

     In attendance was Mayor John Suthers. He thought the event was well-organized and had relevant topics about what the city will look like in the future.

     One of the most physically minded speakers was Ruthie Markwardt, a farmer who is helping develop Prospect Farms at Arcadia Gardens.

     Her organization has two main goals: growing the community and growing healthy food for all.

     They rely heavily on the Food Policy Advisory Board, who drives the policy of food in our city.

     The FBAV has passed many ordinances, including ones that allow the use of goats and a farm stand bill that lets local growers sell produce on their property, which helps them earn a living.

     “98 percent of our food in Colorado comes from out of state. That means 98 percent of our dollars (are) flowing out of our local economies (and) flowing out of our local communities,” said Markwardt.

     She continued to note that if our automated vehicles were victims to a cyber-attack in the future and I-25 was shut down, we would be out of food for days.

     Richard White, another speaker, talked about cyber security and how important it is to infrastructure protection which, in turn, is essential to homeland security.

     Located in Colorado Springs is the National Cybersecurity Center. As a nonprofit, they provide collaborative cybersecurity response services that safeguard our nation.

     “A national cybersecurity center being built here in Colorado Springs will become part of (the) national dialogue,” said White.

     “While there is yet no cure for cyber-attack, who can say the National Cybersecurity Center here in Colorado Springs won’t find one and indeed who is to say that you won’t be a part of that challenge?”

     A call to action for many of our students was heard at this event. The organizers of PlanCOS have asked that students join the discussion.

     Students can tell PlanCOS what they love about Colorado Springs in a text message to 419 – 9615.

     PlanCOS hopes this will bring the millennial generations into the planning process for the future direction of Colorado Springs.

     PlanCOS will host a similar event on Mar. 16 at Pikes Peak Community College.