Greens to Green:  Golfing for Sustainability

         What begins as a fun day of golf at Blythefield Country Club ends up producing stellar young men like new Aquinas graduate Brendan Molony.  Brendan represents the many outstanding Aquinas scholarship students who get vital financial help from the donors who play in the annual Peter M. Wege ProAm.

         Brendan knows about Peter Wege. The reason he came to Aquinas from Kalamazoo’s Hackett Catholic Center “was the sustainable business program.”  The text that most influenced him was ECONOMICOLOGY, the book Wege wrote named for his word  calling for a balance between ecology and the economy.

         “I see ECONOMICOLOGY as a guide to the future,” Brendan says. “It’s his vision on sustainability.  His book showed me that businesses can be profitable and good to the environment…we learned that the triple bottom line (People Planet Profits) works.”

         Besides academics, Brendan helped  Aquinas’s cross-country team win their conference, make it to the NAIA (the NCAA of small schools) all four years, and this year finish fifth in the nationals.

          Brendan Molonoy is now putting his business-sustainability education to work at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo where he interned last summer and hopes to work full-time.  His job is to implement environmental changes that will save the hospital costs by reducing energy and waste.

         Again Brendan is following Peter Wege’s vision for building green by earning his LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Associates degree.  Now he is now working on the next level to become a LEED Accredited Professional.

         Grand Rapids leads the nation in LEED-certified buildings because of Peter Wege.  Ten years ago Wege said all capital grantees had to apply for LEED.  That triggered the move that makes G.R. the top LEED city in the country.  Brendan Molony says students in Aquinas’s sustainable business program “will lead the way to change.”   His LEED credentials make his point.

         This engaging student athlete also has a big heart.  He helped his tired fellow cross-country team member Dan Foley the last mile in a recent half-marathon to finish one and two.

         Among Peter Wege’s favorite sayings are “Educate! Educate! Educate!” and “Children are the hope of our future.”  Brendan Molony is what Peter Wege’s legacy is all about.

Brendan Molony, a student athlete newly graduated from Aquinas’s sustainability program, holds his diploma in one hand and his cross-country running shoes in the other.
Brendan Molony, a student athlete newly graduated from Aquinas’s sustainability program, holds his diploma in one hand and his cross-country running shoes in the other.
Running cross-country for Aquinas College, Brendan Molony helped the Saints place fifth in the nation in the NAIA championship.
Running cross-country for Aquinas College, Brendan Molony helped the Saints place fifth in the nation in the NAIA championship.

10th ANNUAL WEGE LECTURE ON SUSTAINABILITY

larrybrilliant
Dr. Brilliant was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and top 20 Scientists and Thinkers (2008); UN Global Leadership Award (2008); TED Prize (2006); Peacemaker Award (2005); International Public Health Hero (2004); and two honorary doctorates. In 2009, The Final Inch, the documentary about polio eradication which Dr. Brilliant inspired and was funded by Google.org, was nominated for an Oscar.

The University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems in the School of Natural Resources and Environment will present the 10th annual Peter M. Wege Lecture on Sustainability March 16 at 3:30 p.m. in Rackham Auditorium on U of M’s campus. This annual free Lecture Series focuses on critical issues of sustainability and honors Peter M. Wege for his many outstanding contributions to the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems and to the environmental field.

Previous internationally recognized speakers have addressed vital sustainability challenges facing society in the 21st century, including global climate change, freshwater scarcity, and the loss of biodiversity.

Dr. Larry Brilliant, MPH, MD, a University of Michigan alumnus and president of the Skoll Global Threats Fund, will deliver this year’s Peter M. Wege Lecture. The 3:30 speech will be followed by a public reception in Rackham’s lobby. After serving three years as a Google VP and the first executive director of Google.org, the company’s philanthropic arm, Dr. Brilliant joined Skoll Global Threats Fund.

He is a medical doctor and MPH, board-certified in preventive medicine. For ten years Dr. Brilliant lived and worked in India and was one of a four-person United Nations’ team that led the successful World Health Organization smallpox-eradication program in India and South Asia. He later founded the Seva Foundation that has given sight back to nearly 3 million people worldwide through its work in eliminating preventable and curable blindness.

Dr. Brilliant has been a professor of international policy and epidemiology at the University of Michigan and written two books plus dozens of scientific articles on infectious diseases, blindness, and international health policy. He’s volunteered as a physician during disasters, including the Asian Tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia and the Bihar Floods. After the anthrax attacks in the United States in 2001, he volunteered as a first responder for the Centers for Disease Control’s bio-terrorism effort.