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2019 Overview

Explains 2015's focus on three topics: Sustainable business (green business, corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, cooperative ownership, business plans) food (including food access, food security, local foods, agribusiness, etc.) and essential resources (water, energy, land, climate change, environmental justice, stormwater runoff, green infrastructure, energy efficiency, advanced energy). 

Students will be social impact researchers, interviewing practitioners, analyzing and synthesizing information, emphasis on hands-on experiential learning and teacher-practitioners. 

2019: Impact Institute

Foresight Prep @ Oberlin is not your average campus-based summer program:

Rather than passively absorbing information, an intimate group of 10 dedicated students take an active role in shaping their experience, interviewing real world leaders, visiting inspiring organizations, and creating dynamic final projects influenced by these conversations. 

Rather than just preparing for future action, students build their power to create change now, learning about a range of strategies to address urgent social and environmental issues. 

Rather than creating a community that ends after two weeks, program alumni help build an ongoing network to support their future college and career paths and changemaking efforts. 

2019's intensive, 4-week Institute will enable students to develop as leaders, pursue social justice and curb climate change, by exploring a range of levers and methods of creating change—from the "people power" of social movements, to urban design and planning, to entrepreneurship, and others.


“How,” Not What

Rather than focusing solely on social justice and sustainability content and topics (for example, climate change, police accountability, food access), Foresight Prep shifts the focus toward the process of creating transformative change, and to understanding multiple methods and tools for change, and the “real world” contexts in which this work is taking place. Change-making paradigms that students will explore, and tools that they will acquire, include:

  • Community Organizing & Social Justice Movement Building

  • Sustainable Community Development

  • Urban Design & Planning

  • How to Engage Diverse Stakeholders

  • Analyzing Complex Systems

  • Social Entrepreneurship & Socially/Environmentally Impactful Small Businesses

  • Cooperatively-Owned and Governed Business Models

  • Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability

  • Policymaking & Electoral Activism

  • The Arts as a Vehicle for Change

  • …and more!


Leadership De/ReDefined

Rather than viewing leaders as a type of person, Foresight Prep’s innovative leadership development curriculum defines leadership as a process for creating change, and values each student’s potential role in bringing that process to fruition, whether out in front, or behind the scenes. We help students identify their personal potential and goals, while also taking risks and practicing new skills outside their comfort zones.

Informed by our professional colleagues, our leadership curriculum also includes a focus on emotional intelligence and self awareness (including how to effectively give and receive feedback when working with diverse peers), and elements of “adaptive leadership,” an approach for helping groups of people navigate and learn from tension and conflict, and thrive in conditions of constant change.


Critical Skills

Our curriculum includes a sequence focused on helping students further develop fundamental skills that will be essential for their success not just in our course, but in their future college and career paths. These include:

  • Research Methods

  • Interview Protocol and Preparation

  • Impactful Notetaking

  • Group Work and Collaboration

  • Public Speaking and Presentations


core FACulty

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Tim Jones-Yelvington

Tim Jones-Yelvington's commitment to social movements began at a very young age, as the product of an awesome single mother who helped him understand what it meant to be accountable for his privileges, and later, as stepson of a United Methodist pastor with decades of experience in racial justice work. His mom also taught him that young people are the leaders of today, not tomorrow. He has carried this lesson with him throughout his life, into his current work helping young people to claim their power to create change. 

Tim worked for five years as program staff at Crossroads Fund, a public foundation supporting grassroots social, racial and economic justice organizations in the Chicago area. His position included managing a portfolio of grantees and helping to coordinate a community-led grantmaking process. He worked closely with the staff and leaders of new and emerging organizations focused on a range of intersecting issues, including the criminal justice/prison system; education; housing; immigration; worker, women's and LGBT rights, and others. While at the foundation, Tim developed a tool to evaluate grantees' social change impact within the context of broader movement building efforts. He received his undergraduate degree in Women's and Gender Studies from DePaul University, where his undergraduate thesis focused on the formation of collective identity in LGBT organizations focused on racial and economic justice. He recently completed a Masters of Education in Youth Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Additional professional development experiences have included participating in the Rev Up training for youth organizers at the Chicago Freedom School.

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Peter Nicholson

Peter—who graduated from Oberlin in 1991—is passionate about educating the next generation of sustainability-oriented leaders, and has consistently incorporated teaching in his professional activities for almost 15 years. This is his third summer as Lead Instructor for the Business course.

Peter leads a multifaceted career focused on innovating greater social, environmental and economic sustainability. He has consulted on and undertaken a diverse range of projects for clients, including municipal government agencies, institutional nonprofits, and small businesses, and large corporations. Dedicated to empowering the next generation of sustainability-minded leaders, Peter regularly mentors interns, and has lead a variety of education programs based on his professional experience, including one designed for corporate sustainability professionals. In 2002, he established the nonprofit Foresight Design Initiative, for which he serves as the Executive Director. Foresight's projects included establishing the Chicago Sustainable Business Alliance, the city's first network for enterprises pursuing greater sustainability. In 2012, he formed Foresight Bright, LLC, an innovation consulting practice forcused on private sector clients. Prior to this, he held a variety of positions in the private and nonprofit sectors. In each, he has consistently pursued growth and innovation. Peter began his study of Sustainability and Design at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology and holds a bachelors degree from Oberlin College.

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Lyndon Valicenti 

This will be Lyndon's fourth summer teaching Foresight Prep @ Oberlin's units focused on sustainable urban design and planning—during that time, she's grown passionate about working with young people to understand the complex challenges facing urban areas, and coming up with innovative ideas for addressing them. 

Lyndon Valicenti brings over 10 years of experience in scientific study, policy analysis, and planning around sustainable ecological and urban systems. She has conducted scientific research on vulnerable ecosystems in the Arctic and Antarctic; contributed to debates on international climate change policy; developed and implemented engagement programs to support city-scale climate action; and has informed ecological thinking in urban planning across China and the Middle East. She holds a Masters in Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and a Bachelors of Science in Aquatic Ecology from University of California, Santa Barbara. She also holds a certificate in Sustainable Urban and Environmental Design from Archeworks.


potential guest speakers and field trips

The 2019 Institute will include somewhere between 20-30 guest speakers and/or field trip sites. The final schedule will be set in May-June. Below is a selection of some of students' favorite guests from past years. 

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JESSICA BONANNO 

Jessica is Director of Strategy Development and Operations for The Democracy Collaborative, key strategists behind the Evergreen Cooperatives. The Cooperatives are working to create living wage jobs in Cleveland through the establishment of employee-owned, for-profit businesses, including a laundry, energy company and growers’ cooperative. The Cooperatives are pursuing a community wealth-building strategy aimed at building the capacity of communities and individuals to increase asset ownership, anchor jobs locally, strengthen the municipal tax base, prevent financial resources from “leaking out” of the area, and ensure local economic stability. Jessica's job includes contributing  to the Democracy Collaborative's internal organizational development, serving as a consultant and project lead, and providing business development support to the Evergreen Cooperatives. Her primary areas of expertise include impact investing, organizational design, and business development, with a special emphasis on start-ups, social ventures, and small to medium sized enterprises. 

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JARAMI BOND

Jarami is Manager of Sustainability for Interface, Inc. Founded in 1973, Interface is the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet for commercial and residential applications. Its founder Ray Anderson (who passed away in 2011) is widely acknowledged as one of the earliest and most influential visionaries in sustainable business. Starting in 1994, they've made environmental sustainability a focus, especially in reducing the use of petroleum, and since 1996, they've chosen to adopt an innovation-based green strategy, which has meant the ongoing and active pursuit of new sustainability-related opportunities. In 2006, they announced a program called Mission Zero, with a goal of eliminating any negative impact the company may have on the environment by 2020. Jarami graduated from North Carolina State University in May 2015 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Sustainable Materials and Technology. He is committed to guiding purpose-driven companies toward meeting aggressive sustainability goals through the strategic development, implementation, and facilitation of green programs and initiatives. Jarami is also experienced at inspiring and engaging employees and external stakeholders, setting vision that aligns with corporate values and directives, supporting the integration of responsible practices into all business functions, and leveraging sustainability positioning in the sales marketplace.

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KIM FOREMAN

Kim is the Executive Director (ED) of Environmental Health Watch (EHW), an environmental justice (EJ) organization. Founded in 1980, EHW has worked in issues ranging from lead abatement to food access, and advocates for the communities most disproportionately affected by environmental toxicities and climate change through activities that include direct services, technical consulting, research and policy development, amongst others. EHW also functions as a connector and organizer for EJ groups across the region. As EHW’s ED, Kim draws upon her nearly two decades of work addressing environmental challenges affecting low income communities of color, and is often the primary representative of the EJ perspective at many decision-making tables. She is a driving force in movements for social and environmental justice in Cleveland.  

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MANSFIELD FRAZIER

Mansfield is the founder of the Vineyards of Chateau Hough, through which he has transformed three vacant land banks into an urban vineyard, and an abandoned home into an aquaponics biocellar, in order to generate income for youth, veterans and formerly incarcerated residents. Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood is predominately African American, and well-known as the site of 1966 riots stemming from racial inequity. The project provides hands-on training to individuals returning home from a period of incarceration, thus providing work opportunities for the community. In addition to serving as the project’s Executive Director, Mansfield Frazier publishes Reentry Advocate, a national magazine that goes into various prisons, libraries, county jails, halfway houses and prison ministries around the United States. Mr. Frazier initially developed his own voice as a writer and journalist through the publication of his essay collection “From Behind the Wall,” which addresses his own experience of incarceration and issues of racism and the U.S. prison system. His writing currently is featured nationally on Newsweek/The Daily Beast, and locally on both CoolCleveland.com and The Cleveland Leader.

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MATT GRAY

Matt is the Chief of Sustainability for the City of Cleveland. Working under the direct supervision of the mayor, the Office of Sustainability plans, finances, and executes a variety of sustainability initiatives ranging from internal efficiency improvements to large community outreach programs. Their broad mandate and small budget often necessitate that the department focus on diplomacy and alliance-building, working towards deep cultural change. The central organizing principle of the Office’s current efforts is the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 plan. This initiative is centered on nine subsequent “Celebration Years” which each focus on a specific area of sustainability (beginning in 2011 with the “Year of Energy Efficiency”). During each year, a community-wide summit is held which brings together as many as 500 diverse participants to discuss the “celebrated” focus issue and generate new strategies. 

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BOB LANGERT 

Broadly recognized as a leader in corporate sustainability, Bob retired in 2015 from his position as Vice President for Global Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability for McDonald's Corporation. He has engaged in social responsibility issues since the late 1980s. He joined McDonald’s system in 1983 with management positions in logistics, packaging and purchasing. In the 1990s, he had responsibilities for the environment, energy management, animal welfare, and Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities’ grants. He was appointed McDonald’s first VP to lead sustainability in 2006. Bob led the development of McDonald’s 2020 Sustainability Vision and Framework, including McDonald’s commitment to the environment, supply chain sustainability, and balanced menu choices. 

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ERICK RODRIGUEZ

Erick is the Director of Neighborhood Planning and Engagement for Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Incorporated (BBC) a non-profit neighborhood development organization founded in 1990 that serves most of Cleveland's Ward 5. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life for residents by leveraging partnerships with residents, community groups, government, corporations and institutions to cultivate housing, retail, employment, and recreation opportunities. During his time at BBC, Erick has worked across Cleveland neighborhoods through a broad group of community stakeholders to contribute to an international dialogue about the development and implementation of EcoDistricts. Erick is crafting a comprehensive set of strategies that will serve as a useful tool for both city leaders and community members to recognize ways their neighborhoods can come together to incorporate sustainability as an essential driver for neighborhood development. 

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JIM ROKAKIS

Jim served for a decade as Cuyahoga County Treasurer, where he helped pass a bill that streamlined the foreclosure process for abandoned properties, and was the driving force behind the bill that allowed for the creation of the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, also known as the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. He now serves as the Director of the Thriving Communities Institute at the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, helping ensure that land banking is used within and beyond Cleveland as a tool for removing neighborhood blight and improving communities. Prior to his role as County Treasurer, he served for 19 years in the Cleveland City Council, having been elected as its youngest member at age 22, while still a student at Oberlin College. He has been recognized by local and national organizations for his efforts in strengthening neighborhoods and communities. In 2007 he received the NeighborWorks America Local Government Service Award, the Leadership in Social Justice Award from Greater Cleveland Community Shares and was named the County Leader of the Year by American City and County Magazine. He earned his undergraduate degree at Oberlin College, and his Juris Doctorate degree from Cleveland-Marshall School of Law.

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TERRY SCHWARZ

Terry is the Director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), which combines client-based consulting and graduate-level teaching to impact urban design decisions and land use policy in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. CUDC is considered a leader in the urban design and planning spaces throughout the region, and frequently provides strategic guidance to the Thriving Communities Institute, Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (Cleveland's transportation and environmental planning entity), Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (the coordinating body for Cleveland’s network of Community Development Corporations), and the Mayor’s Office. One of Terry’s current projects involves helping community development organizations implement a process of resident engagement and co-design to create local solutions aimed at reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the public health impacts of climate change at the neighborhood level throughout Cleveland. 

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LANITA STEVENS 

Lanita is Manager of Product Stewardship and Sustainability for USG Corporation. As the inventor of wallboard and mineral wool ceiling tile, USG has been a leader in the building materials industry for more than 110 years. Their products—which include gypsum wallboard, joint compound, ceiling suspension systems, acoustical panels and more—are used in everything from major commercial developments and residential housing to simple home improvements. In her role as Manager of Product Stewardship and Sustainability, Lanita is responsible for managing sustainable product certification initiatives, including low-emitting, Life Cycle Assessments and Environmental Product Declaration development. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Sacramento and an M.S. in Environmental Management from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Prior to USG she worked as an environmental manager for Mobil Chemical Company and Waste Management, Inc. Lanita is a member of the National Association for Environmental Management, Air & Waste Management Association, International Society of Sustainability Professionals and the ASTM E.60 Committee on Sustainability.

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Chrissy Stonebraker-Martínez

Chrissy is the Co-Director of the InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia, a Cleveland-based interfaith group that promotes peace and human rights in Central America and Colombia by advocating, educating and organizing for peace and human rights, economic justice, and aid to Central Americans and Colombians, and working to change U.S. policies, corporate actions, and consumer behaviors that undermine these aspirations, both here and abroad. Chrissy serves on the Executive Committee of the Disciples Peace Fellowship, the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and as the Chair of the Ohio Fair Trade Network. Her previous board experience includes serving as the Secretary for the Christian Church in Ohio (Disciples of Christ), and as a member of the Higher Educational Leadership Ministries (HELM) national team. She is proud to be a community organizer, organizing in the greater Cleveland area, with groups such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) & the Student Farmworker Alliance (SFA), Witness Against Torture (WAT), Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT and ECAP Colombia), Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD), Tree of Life Education Fund (Israel/Palestine), the Asociacion de Trabajadores del Campo Nicaragua (ATC), Refugee and Immigration Ministries (RIM) and others.

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Veronica Morris-Moore

Veronica is a Chicago activist and leader who amongst other undertakings, directed the youth organizing program at the Chicago organization Southside Together Organizing for Power, through which she organized a group of young people to fight for the University of Chicago hospital to reopen its trauma center in a community affected by violence, but lacking access to emergency care; and served as a leader for #ByeAnita, a campaign to vote former Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez out of office following her role in the coverup of the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald.

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Baldemar Velasquez

Baldemar founded the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) in 1967. Under his leadership FLOC has set international precedents in labor history, including being the first union to negotiate multi-party collective bargaining agreements, and the first to represent H2A international guestworkers under a labor agreement. Baldemar is an internationally recognized leader in the farmwoker and immigrant rights movements. He is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, a Development of People Award by the Campaign for Human Development of the U.S. Catholic Conference, an Aguila Azteca Award by the Government of México, and several Honorary Doctorates from Bowling Green State University, Bluffton University, and University of Toledo. In 2009 Baldemar was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council.

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ANDREW WATTERSON

In his current role as Head of Sustainability for KeyBank, Mr. Watterson leads the company in the development and execution of their sustainability strategy, which includes working with the corporate responsibility team and bank leadership to balance margin and mission to achieve dependable results. Previously, Andrew worked as a Senior Consultant at BrownFlynn, providing sustainability and corporate responsibility consulting, communications and training for clients. He served in the City of Cleveland’s office for over six years, first as Sustainability Director, and then as Chief of Sustainability, advising the city on policies related to energy, buildings, fleet and purchasing; overseeing the Office of Sustainability; and leading the coordination of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 initiative. Prior to his time with the City, Andrew worked in real estate development, focusing on historic restoration and green building projects. Andrew holds a B.A. in environmental policy and economics from Bates College, and a master’s in positive organizational development from Case Western Reserve University.

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Khalilah Worley

Khalilah Worley is a native Clevelander, trained organizer through the Industrial Areas Foundation, and Senior Organizer of Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC). GCC is a non-partisan coalition of faith and various communities in Cuyahoga County working together to build power for social justice. GCC challenges residents to imagine the change they can accomplish and act on through organizing skills and understanding the importance of relational power. Prior to returning home to Cleveland, she served as director for Holy Family School administering internal and external programs for students in the North Lawndale community of Chicago. She was creator and director of Young Empowered Sisters program for at-risk teens and co-director of Sisters for Higher Education for first- generation college students. While living in Chicago she was also a volunteer leader with Public Action for Change Today (PACT). Through her volunteer efforts, she led a campaign registering more than 13,000 young adult voters and increased diversity to Illinois State Board and Commission seats. Ms. Worley is a proud graduate of Fisk University with a B.A in Political Science/Public Administration and DePaul University with a M.S in Public Service and Non-Profit Management.