The sustainable and state-of-the-art Lillis Business Complex at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business continues to impact the business climate of the region and influence perceptions regarding the intersection of commerce and environmental responsibility. As a further testament to the building's impact, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Trade, Tourism, and Economic Development held a field hearing in the Lillis Business Complex on August 16. Believed to be the first such hearing ever held at UO, the forum-titled "Capitalizing on Renewables for Oregon's Economy"-sought input from Oregon-based renewable energy manufacturing and generation companies, as well as local elected officials, about how renewable resource companies and strategies might foster economic development.
"It is doubly appropriate that we are gathered in such a remarkable and green building because we are here today to talk about environment. We are here to talk about energy, and how we can unite those two causes and concerns," said Senator Gordon Smith, chair of the committee, elaborating on the significance of holding the hearing in the Lillis Business Complex. The building, which earned a "silver" designation from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, is considered the most environmentally friendly business school facility in the country. It also boasts of the largest installed array of architectural photovoltaic glass in the Northwest.
Smith also explained that a major impetus for the meeting was to discover how the U.S. Senate could incentivize and encourage entrepreneurial efforts to commercialize various renewable energy resources, including fuel cells, wind power, biodiesel, and wave power. Smith's call to entrepreneurial action was additionally significant considering that the Lundquist College of Business is ranked sixteenth in the nation in entrepreneurship education by U.S.News & World Report.
In addition to showcasing the sustainable aspects of the Lillis Business Complex, the hearing also highlighted the exceptional learning environment that the building provides for students. The four-hour meeting took place in a lecture hall that featured a unique day-lighting system that reduces eyestrain, tiered seating that facilitates audience/student attentiveness, and Internet connectivity. The event even employed the building's state-of-the-art teaching and videoconference technologies to webcast the hearing, as well as broadcast it live to Oregon State University.