Hoping to better define what it really means to be a green and sustainable business — and how to get hired there — Oregon State University plans to host its first Green Career Fair next month.

The April 21 event is scheduled for the Memorial Union Ballroom.

Career Services is sponsoring the career fair, and organizers hope to do more than connect students and employers. They want to help better define for students what makes a business “green” and what kind of skilled employees such business are seeking.

Career Services turned to organizations such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition to define a green business. Here’s the working definition: Green businesses are those “that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources” and/or “have made a significant, demonstrable and measurable commitment to make their establishment’s production processes more environmentally sustainable and reduced their use of natural resources.”

Adry Clark, the associate director of Career Services, said students in a wide variety of majors are interested in green career paths, but many have only a vague idea of how the often-heard words “green” and “sustainable” translate into business reality.

“Even people who are getting their master’s degree or who are on faculty at OSU don’t seem to have a very clear idea about it,” she said.

Clark hopes the fair will build relationships between students and sustainability-focused businesses — especially newer companies — by bringing in as many local organizations as possible. Even if these companies aren’t hiring just now, Clark hopes that such employers will serve as mentors.

As of Thursday, seven organizations had registered to take part in the fair, including the Peace Corps and the Bonneville Power Administration. Kevin Bhuva, the employer relationship coordinator for Career Services, says five organizations are in the process of registering, and he hopes to have 25 to 35 organizations with booths at the fair.

“We’re trying to attract organizations that cover the whole gamut for sustainable companies,” Bhuva said.

The fair coincides with OSU’s annual Earth Week celebration, scheduled April 18-22.

Contact Corvallis Gazette-Times reporter Gail Cole at 541-758-9510 or at gail.cole@gazettetimes.com.

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