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Omega in Action

Omega in Action highlights inspiring people and organizations making meaningful change. From protecting the environment to empowering women, healing veterans, and serving nonprofits, you'll find fresh perspectives, trending news, and the latest information on noteworthy events here at Omega and around the world.

Omega Celebrates International Women's Day

3 years 3 months ago

On March 8th, the world will once again honor International Women’s Day, celebrating women's achievements while also acknowledging the challenges that women still face. 

Calling for solidarity as women continue to work for equal rights, the Omega Women’s Leadership Center is cosponsoring the 4th Annual International Women’s Day Walk at the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York. Organized by the Women's Leadership Alliance of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the event will begin on the Poughkeepsie side of the bridge at 9:00 a.m.

Inspiring Change is this year’s celebration theme. A theme that Mecca Santana, the newly appointed New York State Chief Diversity Officer, will address in her remarks prior to the bridge walk. We invite you to join us as we walk in solidarity with women across the globe. 

Register for the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce's event at Walkway Over the Hudson

Learn more about International Women's Day 

Women & Power Participant Develops Go Beyond Greatness Programs

3 years 3 months ago

The Kingston Times recently featured 2013 Omega Women’s Leadership Center’s (OWLC) Women & Power Retreat participant Ashley Knox and the Go Beyond Greatness educational and empowerment workshops she was inspired to develop for both children and adults. Knox credits her time at Omega with helping her move ahead, and inspiring her to help others do the same. 

Sarah Urech, OWLC Manager, met Knox during a workshop at Omega’s Women & Power Retreat. “The retreat theme this year was Find Your Own Strength, and it inspired Ashley to offer a series of workshops to stimulate personal growth and communication skills,” said Urech. “I really enjoyed her workshop—she is so full of enthusiasm for life and belief in people’s capacity to enhance their own well-being. She skillfully guided people through a series of exercises and left people wanting more. With her natural talent for community building, I’m excited to see what she does next.”

Knox explains, “The purpose of ‘Go Beyond Greatness’ is to inspire people to bring out their best qualities to achieve personal and academic goals…Our program offers skill development training for college and career readiness with an emphasis on critical thinking and good decision-making for greater results in academic achievement and life success. [The program] specializes in leadership development, effective communication, and social awareness to motivate people to place passion, pride, and commitment toward themselves and the communities they live in.”

Read the full story

Learn more about Omega Women's Leadership Center

Omega's Chief Executive Officer Speaks at the Net Positive Energy + Water Conference

3 years 3 months ago

Robert "Skip" Backus, chief executive officer of Omega Institute, spoke about the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) at the Net Positive Energy + Water Conference hosted by the Living Future Institute. The event, which took place February 4–5 in San Francisco, California, brought together leading experts from around the world to develop net-zero energy and water concepts through the restorative framework of the Living Building Challenge, the world's most rigorous green building standard.

Learn more about the Net Positive Energy + Water Conference

Learn more about the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL)

Offshore Freshwater Aquifers: Which Law Will Apply?

3 years 3 months ago

This past December, vast groundwater reserves were discovered off the coasts of China, Australia, North America, Greenland, Suriname, Nigeria, and South Africa, raising hopes that these resources could offer a solution for water-scarce regions. However, there are technical and legal issues that must be resolved before these transboundary aquifers can be used.

Renee Martin-Nagle, a visiting scholar at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, DC, and secretary/treasurer of Omega's board, addresses the pressing legal implications.

Learn more about these transboundary aquifers

Omega Announces Grant Opportunity: Women Serving Women Summit, May 28–30, 2014

3 years 4 months ago

Annual Retreat for Nonprofits Serving Women & Girls Now Accepting Grant Applications Online

RHINEBECK, NY – Today Omega announced its annual Women Serving Women Summit, a gathering of nonprofits working to positively impact the lives of women and girls, will take place May 28–30, 2014, on Omega’s Rhinebeck, New York campus, with the theme Nourishing Body, Mind, and Spirit. The Summit is part of Omega’s annual Service Week program, which has offered retreat grants to nonprofits for the past decade. The Women Serving Women Summit grant application is now available on Omega’s website with a deadline of February 10, 2014.

“The Women Serving Women Summit, a program offered by the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, extends support to nonprofit organizations serving women’s needs and interests. We are focusing the 2014 summit on helping organizations that rarely get a break from the front lines to pause, reflect, and nourish their staff on all levels, so that they can return to their work with renewed purpose and dedication to their organization’s mission,” said Carla Goldstein, cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center and chief external affairs officer at Omega.

Grant recipients for the Women Serving Women Summit will attend a two-day, two-night organizational retreat on Omega’s 200-acre campus in Rhinebeck, New York. The grant includes free room and board, a private meeting space, use of all the facilities at Omega, and an optional hour of consultation with Omega’s partner, the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON).

Nonprofit organizations can apply to come on their own, or partner with another organization with similar objectives and apply to come together for the Multiple Organization Track. NYCON supports those on the Multiple Organization Track with an enriched program designed to enhance collaborative efforts. The grant from Omega provides a rare opportunity for organizations to take the time to plan, network, build capacity, as well as learn from each other, and develop pathways for future collaboration.

To apply for the Women Serving Women Summit grant, please visit us online at
For additional information, please contact Lys Swan, at 845.266.4444, ext. 414, or by email at

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.



Omega Joins With Family of Woodstock for Staff Food Drive

3 years 4 months ago

Omega staff participates annually in a holiday food drive and contributes to the long tradition of collecting food and goods for neighbors in need. This year, staff collected food items to deliver to Family of Woodstock's Darmstadt Homeless Shelter in Kingston. Family of Woodstock is a recipient of Omega’s Service Week (most recently at the 2013 Women Serving Women Summit) and a valued Hudson Valley organization.

One of the founding influencers of the Omega Institute, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, has said, "If you dedicate yourself to service, the doors will open." Food drives are a wonderful way to serve those in need and open the door to a new year.

Explore more about Family of Woodstock

Learn more about Service Week

Omega Receives New York State Environmental Excellence Award

3 years 5 months ago

Department of Environmental Conservation Recognizes Eight Innovators in Sustainability at the 10th Annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards

RHINEBECK, NY – Omega Institute, home of the award-winning Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL), received a NYS Environmental Excellence award on Tuesday at a ceremony cohosted by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Price Chopper/The Golub Corporation. The award recognizes New York's environmental and conservation leaders, who are solving environmental challenges by using innovative and environmentally sustainable practices or creative partnerships.

“We are honored to be recognized by the state for our environmental stewardship and the development of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living. Our goal is to help people better understand natural systems and how to live and work within them, so together we can build a truly regenerative future,” said Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega.

Founded four years ago, the OCSL includes the first green building in America to receive both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certifications, and has evolved into an emerging environmental leader, offering programs that teach regenerative environmental practices modeled by the building. Omega Institute is integrating similar designs into other facilities on its Rhinebeck, New York campus. A recent addition to the Omega Women’s Leadership Center is the first commercial project in the United States to meet Passive House certification standards—the building uses very little energy and the space is designed to reduce heating costs by 75%.

The DEC established the awards program in 2004 to recognize and give visibility to selected businesses, schools, municipalities, governments, and not-for-profit organizations achieving outstanding environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and economic viability. Since the program’s inception, the DEC has honored 52 award recipients. Winners have included entrepreneurs competing in global markets and schools empowering future environmental leaders. Municipalities have been awarded for investing in green infrastructure, implementing a cost-effective food waste composting program, and financing an energy efficiency retrofit program. Universities and school districts across New York State have been recognized for developing energy efficiency programs and engaging students and administrators in impressive sustainable practices. Small businesses have been honored for innovative and green technologies, such as a lighting manufacturer that demonstrated how innovative design does not necessarily translate to higher costs.

Omega’s commitment to sustainability also includes recycling, composting, and conservation, powering 100% of campus electricity through the purchase of wind and solar power, supporting sustainable agriculture and local business, and reducing greenhouse gases through shuttle services, ride sharing, and LiveNeutral™ options.

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200  acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.

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Omega Participants Take the Experience Home

3 years 5 months ago

For more than 20 years, Omega has offered hope and healing to veterans and family members dealing with issues of post-traumatic stress, re-integration into society, and resilience in the face of unique challenges. Recently, Omega held two separate programs aimed at helping veterans heal from the wounds of war during the same autumn week.

The first was a 5-day certification program for yoga teachers, taught by Warriors At Ease cofounder, Robin Carnes, and Exalted Warrior Foundation founder, Annie Okerlin. Seventeen certified yoga teachers gathered at Omega to receive hands-on training based on the acclaimed Warriors At Ease training course. They addressed combat-related issues through yoga, and the art and science of teaching yoga in a military setting.

The second was a woman-only retreat for active duty military and veterans healing from military trauma. It was taught by Warriors At Ease cofounder, Col. (ret.) Pat Lillis, and veterans advocates—Maj. Susan Lynch and Col. Alison Ward. Twenty-two women attended to explore ways to face and release traumatic stress, and increase resilience.

During the course of the week, participants from both programs formed bonds through shared meals and quiet conversations outside the classroom. Program teachers and participants conspired on ways to stay in touch and support each other. The yoga teachers were eager to put into practice the new skills they had acquired, but in need of students to practice teaching with.

The women military and veterans were looking for ways to continue the healing process and take their Omega experience home with them. So they decided to pair up wherever it was geographically possible. Several matches were made, allowing the yoga teachers to offer a few free sessions in exchange for the opportunity to practice teaching—with the possibility of the students electing to hire the teachers long term if desired. In the instances where it was not geographically easy to pair people, the group turned to the Warriors at Ease network of trained teachers for assistance in facilitating matches. It has been a win-win situation.  

For more information visit Warriors At Ease

Learn more about Omega's work with veterans and other key initiatives

Bob Woodruff Foundation Helps Fund Programs for Women Veterans at Omega

3 years 6 months ago

We are proud to announce that Omega has received a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to support an Omega retreat for women veterans dealing with combat stress and trauma. BWF works to ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving long after they return home. Across the country, they find, fund, and shape innovative programs in communities where veterans, their families, and caregivers live and work. 

Receiving a grant from BWF is an honor that recognizes the dedication, focus, and effectiveness of Omega’s staff, volunteers, and supporters. As a grant recipient, Omega joins the Bob Woodruff Foundation grantee network, a collaboration of top-tier programs and advocates working to help our heroes on the home front. 

Learn more about the Bob Woodruff Foundation

Learn more about Omega's Veterans Initiatives

Omega Hosts #femfuture Retreat

3 years 6 months ago

This October, Jamia Wilson, member of Omega's board of directors, and Vanessa Valenti, Omega faculty and cofounder of #femfuture, organized the #femfuture retreat at Omega's Rhinebeck, New York campus. #femfuture is "an experiment in movement-building that develops solutions for sustainability and impact in 21st century feminism." They commonly convene feminist bloggers, online organizers, writers, educators, and activists to collaborate and explore the present reality and future potential of the current feminist movement. 

The retreat at Omega was focused on self-care, reflection, and connection for feminist activists. More than 20 women from around the country were selected to attend, encompassing mothers, poets, journalists, and teachers. 

In attendance was Catherine Okafor, who has been looking for a way to continue her activism and connect with other feminists after the grassroots organizing she did in college. She wrote about her experience saying, "This was a blessing that fell from the sky as I'm no longer a college student but now a young professional trying to navigate through 'the real world.'"

Read Catherine Okafor's full story.

Learn more about #femfuture.

Learn more about the Omega Women’s Leadership Center.


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