Student to attend D.C. conference
By Angie Landsverk
Jamal Pointer’s first trip on an airplane will be to Washington, D.C. to attend a green building conference.
The 20-year-old from New London is one of two Wisconsin students who earned a full scholarship to attend this month’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.
When Pointer arrives there on Nov. 16, he will be representing both CAP Services’ Fresh Start Program and the federal YouthBuild Program.
“We are a YouthBuild Program. We were selected as a YouthBuild Program from the state. YouthBuild connects with green building,” said Clif Morton, who is the coordinator of CAP Services’ Fresh Start Program.
Pointer is part of Waupaca’s Fresh Start crew.
The students in the program include those who are disadvantaged, at-risk, dropouts and who have been in trouble with the law.
Through Fresh Start, they learn skills related to construction, life and employability.
The program also helps them complete educational goals.
Years ago, Fresh Start built homes in Wautoma, Morton said.
Several years ago, CAP Services had the opportunity to partner with the city of Waupaca, he said.
In the city’s Eastgate Acres, Fresh Start crews build homes for those with low and moderate incomes.
Morton said they build one house per year and are working on their seventh one.
“I came to CAP willingly. I fell in love with what they do,” said Pointer.
In addition to helping build homes in the subdivision, he was also involved in the construction of the open air shelter in the city’s new eco-park.
The park is being created in the Eastgate Acres neighborhood.
Faulks Bros. Construction provided funding for the shelter, which was built with locally sourced cedar and repurposed materials, Morton said.
An approximately 1,000-square-foot education center is under construction in the park.
“Everything will have an educational component to it,” Morton said.
The center’s electricity will come from solar panels. Other features will include composting toilets, a deck which includes a view over the nearby ravine and a new segment of trail to hook up to the existing trail in the area.
“The center will be done by next summer. We will have some kind of big event to bring all the partners together,” Morton said. “Waupaca Foundry is one of the main sponsors of the education center.”
The park will also include an amphitheater and a play area made with natural materials.
“There will be no metal or plastic on the playground,” Morton said.
For Pointer, who is originally from Milwaukee, working in the outdoors was something he had to get used to.
“I got more adjusted to it – the outside life,” he said. “I want to do more like this, spread it around.”
It was Morton who asked Pointer if he was interested in attending the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.
“He’s been active in the (Fresh Start) program about a year and has shown interest in what we’re doing here with green building. He understands the importance of environmental sustainability,” Morton said of Pointer.
About two months ago, Pointer filled out an eight-page application for a scholarship to attend the conference. He learned a few weeks ago he was a recipient.
“It was a long shot,” Morton said. “We knew people were applying from all over – to be one of two from Wisconsin.”
He said the conference is the “largest gathering of green build experts in the world.”
It is held in a major city each year, and Morton said Pointer’s scholarship is worth at least $2,000 and will cover the cost of his flight, hotel, meals and conference registration.
At the conference, he will have the opportunity to see green building projects from all over the world and green building technology, Morton said.
“It will be interesting to see how they are doing this stuff in other countries,” Pointer said.
Upon returning, he will share what he learned with his fellow Fresh Start participants.