Van Jones is an advocate for the environment and for responsible business.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Eco-visionary, human rights attorney, and powerhouse speaker Van Jones will deliver the keynote address, titled “The New Dream: Updating Martin Luther King’s Vision to Meet Today’s Ecological and Social Challenges,” at a Middlebury College energy symposium on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 4:30 p.m. The talk will take place in Dana Auditorium at the Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125). The keynote address and all symposium events are free and open to the public.

According to David Dolginow, a Middlebury College sophomore and one of the students who organized the symposium, Jones is one of the most creative and unifying progressive leaders in the United States. He is the founder of the racial justice organization, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC). Based in Oakland, Calif., EBC works for positive alternatives to incarceration and violence in urban America.

Jones is also an advocate for the environment and for responsible business. He has served on numerous governing boards, including the Rainforest Action Network, an environmental organization based in San Francisco, Calif., that uses hard-hitting marketing campaigns to align the policies of multinational corporations with widespread public support for environmental protection; the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based charity organization WITNESS, which works for the rights of indigenous people and for environmental protection where human communities are at stake; and Bioneers of the Collective Heritage Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Lamy, N.M., that conducts programs for the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, traditional farming practices and environmental restoration.

Jones’ efforts have earned him many honors, including the Reebok International Human Rights Award, the Ashoka Fellowship and the Rockefeller Foundation “Next Generation Leadership” Fellowship.

“Van has a powerful message to spread,” said Dolginow. “He believes that green collar jobs can unite the country to overcome global warming while also fighting against poverty.”

Following Jones’ talk, the symposium events, which will be held from Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Saturday, March 3, will address various aspects of energy policy, including investment in better energy technologies, an increase in environmentally responsible planning and construction, and methods of governmental action to implement these changes. According to Dolginow, the symposium will use energy policy as a nexus to draw diverse ideas and opinions from many disciplines such as architecture, physics, history, political science and economics. “We hope to facilitate the discussion of new ideas for an antiquated system that affects both the campus and the nation,” Dolginow said.

The symposium, organized by the college’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institution and the student environmental initiative, the Sunday Night Group, is sponsored by the Middlebury College Symposium Committee, the environmental studies program, the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, Atwater Commons, the Middlebury College Environmental Council, the office of institutional diversity and the Middlebury Museum of Art.

Jones will also speak at the University of Vermont on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 3 - 4:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Theatre, followed by a reception in the Martin Luther King Lounge from 4:30-5:15 p.m.

For more information about Jones’ talk at Middlebury, contact student organizer David Dolginow, at (802) 443-4140, or by e-mail The full listing of symposium events is posted on the Web at