Last week, a few of us were fortunate enough to be able to attend the Ca Higher Ed Sustainability Conference at UC Davis. Even though it was aimed at bringing California schools together, it had attendees from colleges & universities from as far away as Denmark and Sweden. Mitchell Thomashow was the keynote speaker and he brought insight from his experiences as the former president of Unity College in Maine.
I was able to take a number of photographs, so take a look at our Facebook page to see the gallery of images from his speech as well as all the other things that caught my eye as the week went on. Be sure to check out the biodigester that was up and running near Northgate & Interstate 80. For more information on this, check out the Sacramento Bee article that was written after our tour. The reporter asked great questions! You’ll find more photos of it here.
One of the things I took away from this conference was the fact that there are so many support services available and that you do not have to reinvent the wheel when coming up with sustainability ideas for our campus. For instance, organizations like the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) are there bringing together a community of sustainability leaders from around the world to share best practices, and act as a resource to help out when needed. AASHE created the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) that schools are using to benchmark where they are at and to help point out strengths & weaknesses wherever they may be. The keynote address speaker also talked about the importance of The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). All of these sites are full of more information, so please check them out and share anything you find in the comments below.
There was a whole catalog full of sessions & field trips to attend–you can check out the photo galleries to see some we were at. One of the sessions I attended had students and faculty sharing how they had used the STARS checklist as a class project for their school. This gave them real world experiences while helping the school they were attending see some work needed to be done as well as things worth highlighting. Their work also helped the campus team work through their STARS application process when it came time.
If you were able to attend, what classes did you get to see and what did you think of the experience?